A. Volodin (firstname.lastname@example.org),
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation
The article discusses the role of external challenges (military-political pressure and demonstration effect) in modernization of societies from the perspective of asynchronous global development. According to this research, interstate and inter-regional imbalances and disparities are the “birthmark” of world history. Disparities of development create tensions between and among countries resultant of conflicts between national governments. Comparing the concepts of “challenge-and-response” by A. J. Toynbee and “economic superiority” (“economic primacy”) by C. Kindleberger, the author suggests the idea of “avant-garde society”, i. e. society programming the basic parameters of modernization of the “catching up” peoples. “Later take-off” societies – Germany, Japan and Italy, to name just a few, – mobilized domestic resources like savings ratios, literacy, indigenous technologies, social capital and even ideology to compete on equal footing with pioneers of industrialization. The “later take-off” societies, Germany in particular, proved so efficient to join the league of the most advanced nations. The net economic impact of state intervention was vivid where markets were well-developed. State-centered mode of the “guided capitalism” was instrumental of upgrading Germany to the rank of the leading economic power, second only to the United States of America. Nowadays, with the collapse of the Soviet-American bipolarity and the subsequent disintegration of Pax Americana, the geopolitical structure of the modern world is becoming more composite, whilst the desire to attain the “avant-garde society” status forms a complex polymorphic architecture of a constantly changing oecumen/human space. In the new, tightening world, the external challenge factor is of central importance. Economy and geopolitics, therefore, predetermine a country’s ability to move to the position of the “avant-garde society”. In this constant motion, within the world political hierarchy, a prominent role belongs to the factors of physical geography, more specifically: to the peculiarities of interaction between the nature and society, which often require the people to act in a “challenge-and-response” pattern.
external challenges, industrial revolution, development disparities, non-synchronized character of world development, “patrimonial” state, “avant-garde society”, Congress of Vienna, Crimean War, Russo-Japanese War
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