Sources of Variation in Global Development: A Complex Systems Approach

Popular globalization narratives predicted the diffusion of liberal values and link economic development with a nation’s receptivity to liberal democracy. This view of modernization, often backed by the analytical power of microeconomics, suggests that setbacks on the way toward liberal convergence are temporary. This paper surveys the change processes observed in political and economic systems that account for the historical sources of variation in development paths among nations from another perspective. It applies the lens of complex adaptive systems to the interactions among political, economic, and technological developments that cause the system of international relations to undergo a change. From this lens we observe globalization to be an evolutionary process of differentiation, selection, and amplification in which different initial conditions can produce behaviors and institutions that operate far from the optimum, and that can persist for long periods of time.

Tuesday, 25 February, 2014 - 12:30 to 14:00
Hilton Root
Presenter(s) biography: 

Hilton L. Root, an expert on international political economy and development, is a Senior Research Professor at King’s College London and Professor at the George Mason University School of Public Policy.