Prospects of Decline and Hegemonic Shifts for the West

Andrea Komlosy


The decline of the “West” and the loss of U.S. global hegemony is accompanied by a three-sided debate. Some scholars have argued that emerging powers in the Global South will succeed the United States and assume a hegemonic role in the world-economy. They argue that China or an alliance of semi-peripheral states in the South will dominate capitalist or post-capitalist cycles of accumulation in the future. Other scholars rather think that China and other emerging states will find it difficult to catch up and assume a hegemonic role. This paper discusses the consequences of decline for the West and describes three possible western responses to its global economic and hegemonic decline: Resisting Decline—The West will seek to maintain its claim to lead by mobilizing defensive and aggressive military forces, searching for new alliances and partnerships, undermining old and new competitors; Suffering (Semi-) Peripheralization—The West will surrender control of global commodity chains, which will move to the new cores, a development that will contribute to social polarization and the precarization of labour-relations in the old core; Accepting Re-regionalization/Provincialization—The West will accept the loss of hegemony and become just another “province” of the world.


hegemonic competition; anti-systemic movements and alliances, South-South cooperation

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