External Challenges as Domestic Modernizations Driving Force: World Experience

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-11-84-94

A. Volodin (andreivolodine@gmail.com),
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 


1. Leshchenko N.F. Yaponiya v epokhu Tokugava [Japan under the Tokugava rule]. Moscow, Institut vostokovedeniya RAS, 1999. 319 p.

2. Braudel F. Material’naya tsivilizatsiya, ekonomika i kapitalizm [Material civilization, economics and capitalism]. Vol. 2. Moscow, Progress, 1988. 631 p.

3. Friedman G., Lebard M. The Coming War with Japan. New York, St. Martin’s Press, 1991. 429 p.

4. Toynbee A.J. Postizhenie istorii [A Study of History]. Transl. from Engl. Moscow, Progress, 1991. 736 p.

5. Volodin A.G. Politicheskaya ekonomiya demokratii [Political Economy of Democracy]. Moscow, Gumanitariy, 2008. 287 p.

6. Kindleberger Ch.P. World Economic Primacy: 1500 to 1990. New York, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1996. 288 p.

7. Sylla R., Toniolo G., eds. Patterns of European Industrialization. The Nineteenth Century. London, New York, Routledge, 1991. 276 p.

8. Nayar B.R. The Geopolitics of Globalization. The Consequences for Development. New Delhi, Oxford University Press. 2005. 301 p.

9. Miscamble W.D., George F. Kennan and the Making of American Foreign Policy, 1947–1950. Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1992. 419 p.

10. Johnson Ch. MITI and Japanese Miracle: The Growth of Industrial Policy, 1921–1975. Stanford, CA, Stanford University Press, 1982. 393 p.

11. Bairoch P., Levy-Leboyer M., eds. Disparities in Economic Development Since the Industrial Revolution. London, Palgrave MacMillan, 1981. 428 p.

12. Jacques M. When China Rules the World. The Rise of Middle Kingdom and the End of the Western World. London, Allen Lane, 2009. 848 p.

13. Marx K., Engels F. Sochineniya (2-e izdanie) [Writings (2nd edition)]. Vol. 23. Moscow, Izdatel’stvo politicheskoi literatury, 1960. 920 p.

14. Aymard M., ed. Dutch Capitalism and World Capitalism. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1982. 312 p.

15. De Vries J., Van der Woude A. The First Modern Economy: Success, Failure, and Perspectives of the Dutch Economy, 1500–1815. London, Cambridge University Press, 1997. 767 p.

16. Bagchi A.K. Perilous Passage. Mankind and the Global Ascendancy of Capital. New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2006. 422 p.

17. Macfarlane A. The Origins of English Individualism. Oxford, Blackwell, 1979. 216 p.

18. Maddison A. Phases of Capitalist Development. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1982. 274 p.

19. Porter M. E. The Competitive Advantage of Nations. New York, Free Press, 1990. 875 p.

20. Huntington S. P. Who Are We? America’s Great Debate. London, Free Press, 2005. 448 p.

21. Maddison A. The World Economy: Historical Statistics. Paris, OECD, 2003. 288 p.

22. Kissinger H. World Order, Reflections on the Character of Nations and the Course of History. London, New York, Allen Lane, 2014. 378 p.

23. Volodin A.G., Chudodeev A.J. Krim, Kurili: bez prava peredachi! [The Crimea, the Kurils: No Right to Retreat!] Vestnik Diplomaticheskoi Akademii MID Rossii. Rossiaya i Mir, 2015, no. 1(3), pp. 24-36.

24. Hofbauer H. Rossiaya: obraz vraga. Istoriya odnoi demonizatchii [Russia: Image of the Enemy. History of Demonization]. Transl. from German. Krasnodar, Ekoinvest, 2018. 495 p.

25. Crouzet F., Clesse A., eds. Leading the World Economically. Amsterdam, Dutch University Press, 2003. 414 p.

26. Reich R. Saving Capitalism. For the Many, Not the Few. London, Icon Books Ltd., 2015. 219 p.

27. Kennedy P. The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000. New York, Vintage Books, 1989. 677 p.


Registered in system SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Volodin A. External Challenges as Domestic Modernizations Driving Force: World Experience. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2019, vol. 63, No 11, pp. 84-94. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-11-84-94

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment

Current Issue
2020, vol. 64, No. 11

Topical Themes of the Issue:

  • • Comparative Analyses of Terrorist Threats under Conditions of COVID 19
  • • Competitive Education in the Third Millenium: Quo Vadis?
  • • Models of Regional Leadership in Eurasia: to the New Research Agenda
  • • Russia: “Late-Take off Society” in the Whirlwind of World Politics
  • • Development of a National School of Political Science in China
View This Issue (2020, vol. 64, No. 11)
Submit an Article

Dear readers!
Please note that free access to full-text issues of the Journal is being opened at our WEB-site after 6 months of the date of publications.The work on deepening the open archive of full-text issues will be continued.

Dear colleagues, authors and readers!
We kindly request you to turn to editor-in-chief and executive secretary directly concerning reviewing scientific publications in our journal. Only editor-in-chief takes decision on order and publication the reviews!

Dear readers!
This is to inform the researchers of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations that electronic versions of the I, II, III issues of 2020 of French magazine Politique étrangère are now available. Those who are interested, please personally address to the editorial staff of MEMO Journal (room 18-17) with an electronic media.

In response to the challenges of our time the Editorial board continues to open new thematic rubrics:

“World Energy Sector after Pandemic”. We plan to publish articles presenting in-depth analysis of influence of Pandemic on the global energy sector and forecasts of further developments in its various branches.

“Civilization processes of modern development” is a new rubric opened by MEMO Journal in 2020. It will be devoted to the analysis of the influence of civilizational factors and inter-civilizational interactions on the political and socio-economic development of the world at whole, regions and countries.

“Africa today and tomorrow”The rubric devoted to contemporary issues of Africa which is attracting growing interest of the world's leading actors. We plan to publish the articles analyzing the status of statehood, socio-economic and political development of the countries of Black continent, as well as the integration processes between them.


"World Eonomy and International Relations" announces a contest for the best joint academic publications of domestic and foreign researchers and experts in topical issues of the world economy and international relations. The winners will be selected according to the results of peer reviewing and discussion at the Editorial Board. The articles will be published in priority order.


The print version of “World Economy and International Relations” journal is distributed by advance subscription only, and is not offered for retail sale. To subscribe please address to any post office in Russia by referring to the Federal Postal Service Union Catalogue, section “ARSMI”, the journal index is 70542. The subscription may be made for the whole subscription period or starting from any nearest available month for desired number of issues.

To purchase the full-text electronic version of the journal’s issue/article please address to the WEB portal of Scientific electronic library eLIBRARY.ru or URL: https://press.gaugn.ru/.

In journal
2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 |

The author’s opinions may not coincide with the position of editorial