Divergent Convergence

Complementing Theoretical Approaches for Understanding the Rise of the Global South and the Challenges for “the Rest”


  • Víctor Ramiro Fernández CONICET-Universidad Nacional del Litoral
  • Luciano Moretti Universidad Nacional del Litoral
  • Emilia Ormaechea CONICET-Universidad Nacional del Litoral




Capitalism, Center, Periphery, World-Systems Analysis, Latin American Structuralism


This article analyzes the economic convergence of the global South with the global North (GS and GN, respectively) as well as the divergence within the GS between Asia and “the rest” (Latin America and Africa). In order to address these processes, the paper is structured in three parts. In the first part, the fundamentals that support this “divergent convergence” are considered in light of two theoretical perspectives: world-systems analysis (WSA) and Latin American Structuralism (LAS). We take into account the analytical tools of these theoretical perspectives and differentiate the historical, systemic, and top-down approach of WSA (focused on the contributions of Wallerstein and Arrighi) from the historical, structural, and bottom-up perspective of LAS. In the second part, we analyze the convergence of the GS with the GN in terms of economic dynamic, economic dynamism, and control of the accumulation process, as well as the divergence within the GS between Asia and “the rest”. We finally argue the possibility and necessity of complementing WSA and LAS approaches in order to explain these simultaneous processes of “divergent convergence” and to reflect on the challenges for the rest of the GS in facing the consolidation of Asian dominance under Chinese leadership.


Abu-Lughod, Janet Lippman. 1989. Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250-1350. New York: Oxford University Press.

Akamatsu, Kaname. 1962. “A Historical Pattern of Economic Growth.” The Developing Economies 1(1):3–25.

Amsden, Alice H. 2004. “Import Substitution in High-Tech Industries: Prebisch Lives in Asia!” CEPAL Review (82):75–89.

Arrighi, Giovanni. 1990. “Marxist Century, American Century: The Making and Remaking of the World Labour Movement.” New Left Review I(179):29-64.

_____. 1994. The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power and the Origin of Our Time. New York: Verso.

_____. 1996. “The Rise of East Asia: World Systemic and Regional Aspect.” International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 16(7/8):6-44.

_____. 2005. “Hegemony Unravelling - I.” New Left Review II(32):23-80.

_____. 2007. Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the 21st Century. London: Verso.

_____. 2008. “Conceptos fundamentales para comprender el capitalismo en la fase actual. Entrevista al Dr. Giovanni Arrighi.” Realidad Económica 38. Entrevista realizada por Karina Moreno.

Arrighi, Giovanni and Jessica Drangel. 1986. “The Stratification of the World-Economy: An Exploration of the Semiperipheral Zone.” Review 10(1): 9-74.

Arrighi, Giovanni, Satoshi Ikeda, and Alex Irwan. 1993. “The Rise of East Asia: One Miracle or Many?” Pp. 41-65 in Pacific Asia and the Future of the World-System, edited by R. Palat. Westport: Greenwood Press.

Arrighi, Giovanni, and Beverly J. Silver. 2000. Chaos and Governance in the Modern World System. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Arrighi, Giovanni, Beverly J. Silver, and Benjamin D. Brewer. 2003. “Industrial Convergence, Globalization, and the Persistence of the North-South Divide.” Studies in Comparative International Development 38(1):3–31.

Arrighi, Giovanni, and Li Zhang. 2010. “Beyond the Washington Consensus: A New Bandung?” Pp. 25–57 in Globalization and Beyond: New Examinations of Global Power and its Alternatives, edited by J. Shefner and P. Fernández-Kelly. Pennsylvania: Penn State University Press.

Bach, Robert. 1980. “On the Holism of the World-Systems Perspective.” Pp. 289–318 in Processes of the World-System, edited by T. Hopkins and I. Wallerstein. Beverly Hills: Sage.

Beeson, Mark. 2006. “American Ascendancy: Conceptualizing Contemporary Hegemony.” Pp. 3–22 in Bush and Asia: America’s Evolving Relations with East Asia, edited by M. Besson. Abingdon, UK. New York, USA.: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group.

Blyde, Juan, and Danielle Trachtenberg. 2020. Global Value Chains and Latin America: A Technical Note. Inter-American Development Bank. Technical Note N° IDB-TN-1853.

Brenner, Robert. 2009. El desarrollo desigual y la larga fase descendente: Las economías capitalistas avanzadas desde el boom al estancamiento. Madrid: AKAL.

Cardoso, Fernando Henrique, and Enzo Faletto. 1969. Dependencia y desarrollo en América Latina. Ensayo de interpretación sociológica. Buenos Aires: Siglo XXI.

Chase-Dunn, Chris, Roy Kwon, Kirk Lawrence, and Hiroko Inoue. 2011. “Last of the Hegemons: U.S. Decline and Global Governance.” International Review of Modern Sociology 37(1):1–29.

Chesnais, François. 1996. “La globalización y el Estado del capitalismo a finales de siglo.” Investigación Económica 56(215):233–69.

Curty, Gaël. 2017. “Capitalism, Structural Crisis and Contemporary Social Movements: An Interview with Immanuel Wallerstein.” Critical Sociology 43(3):331–35.

Denemark, Robert A. 2009. “World System History: Arrighi, Frank, and the Way Forward.” Journal of World-Systems Research XV(2):233–42.

Dicken, Peter. 2007. Global Shift: Reshaping the Global Economic Map in the 21st Century. New York: Sage Publications.

Fajnzylber, Fernando. 1990. La industrialización en América Latina: de la ‘caja negra al casillero vacío.’ Santiago de Chile: Cuadernos de la CEPAL, Naciones Unidas.

Fernández, Víctor Ramiro and Gabriel Brondino. 2017. “Analyzing the Organization of Global Production. Thoughts from the Periphery.” Pp. 333-45 in The Routledge Handbook of Heterodox Economics edited by T.H. Jo; L. Chester; C. D'Ippoliti. London: Routledge.

Fernández, Víctor Ramiro and Emilia Ormaechea. 2019. “The State in the Capitalist Periphery: From the Structuralist Vacuum to the Neo-structuralist Deviations and Beyond”. Pp.123-45 in Development in Latin America: Critical Discussions from the Periphery, edited by V. R. Fernández and G. Brondino Cham: Palgrave McMillan.

Di Filippo, Armando. 2019. “The Structuralism of Prebisch and the Integration of Latin America.” Pp. 215–35 in Development in Latin America: Critical Discussions from the Periphery, edited by V. R. Fernández and G. Brondino Cham: Palgrave McMillan.

Fiori, José Luis. 1992. “Economía política del Estado desarrollista en Brasil.” Revista de La CEPAL (47):187–213.

Frank, André Gunder. 1998. ReOrient: Global Economy in the Asian Age. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Fróes de Borja Reis, Cristina, and Fernanda Graziela Cardoso. 2020. Center and Periphery in Global Value Chains: An Interpretation Based on the Pioneers of Development. London: Routledge.

Gereffi, Gary, and Miguel Korzeniewicz. 1994. Commodity Chains and Global Capitalism. edited by G. Gereffi and M. Korzeniewicz. Westport Greenwood Press.

Graciarena, Jorge. 1976. “Poder y estilos de desarrollo: una perspectiva heterodoxa.” Revista de La CEPAL (1):173–94.

Hirschman, Albert. 1968. “The Political Economy of Import-Substituting Industrialization in Latin America.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 82(1):1–32.

Hopkins, Terence, and Immanuel Wallerstein. 1982. World-Systems Analysis: Theory and Methodology. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications.

_____. 1986. “Commodity Chains in the World-Economy Prior to 1800.” Review 10(1):157–70.

Jiang, Chun. 2016. “China in Global Value Chains: Implications for Industrial Policy and Development.” Duke University.

Karataşlı, Şahan. 2017. “The Capitalist World-Economy in the Longue Durée.” Sociology of Development 3(2):163–96.

Krippner, Greta R. 2005. “The Financialization of the American Economy.” Socio-Economic Review (3):173–208.

Lapavitsas, Costas. 2013. “The Financialization of Capitalism: ‘Profiting without Producing.’” City 17(6):792–805.

McNeill, William H. 1983. The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force, and Society Sinde A.D. 1000. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Merino, Gabriel Esteban. 2019. “Guerra Comercial y América Latina.” Revista de Relaciones Internacionales de La UNAM (134):67–98.

Nayyar, Deepak. 2013. Catch Up Developing Countries in the World Economy. New York: Oxford Univesity Press.

Parnreiter, Christof. 2018. “America First! Donald Trump, the Demise of the U.S. Hegemony and Chaos in the Capitalist World-System.” Zeitschrift Fur Wirtschaftsgeographie 62(1):1–13.

Pasciuti, Daniel S., and Corey R. Payne. 2017. “Illusion in Crisis?: World-Economic and Zonal Volatility, 1975-2013.” Pp. 50–133 in The World-System as Unit of Analysis: Past Contributions and Future Advances, edited by R. P. Korzeniewicz. Milton: Routledge.

Pinto, Anibal. 1976. “Notas sobre los estilos de desarrollo en América Latina.” Revista de La CEPAL (1):97–128.

_____. 1965. “Concentración del progreso técnico y de sus frutos en el desarrollo Latinoamericano.” El Trimestre Económico 32:38–103.

Pomeranz, Kenneth. 2000. The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy. edited by J. Mokir. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Prebisch, Raúl. 1949. “El desarrollo económico de la América Latina y algunos de sus principales problemas.” Desarrollo Económico 26(103):479–502.

_____. 1981. Capitalismo Periférico: Crisis y Transformación. Buenos Aires: Fondo de Cultura Económica.

Robinson, William I. 2011. “Giovanni Arrighi: Systemic Cycles of Accumulation, Hegemonic Transitions, and the Rise of China.” New Political Economy 16(2):267–80.

Ross, Robert J. S., and Kent C. Trachte. 1990. Global Capitalism: The New Press, Leviathan. Albany: State University of New York.

Sanderson, Stephen K. 2005. “World-Systems Analysis after Thirty Years: Should It Rest in Peace?” International Journal of Comparative Sociology 46(3):179–213.

Silver, Beverly J., and Corey R. Payne. 2020. “Crises of World Hegemony and the Speeding Up of Social History.” Pp.17-31 in Hegemony and World Order: Reimagining Power in Global Politics edited by P. Dutkiewicz, T. Casier, and J. A. Scholte. New York: Routledge.

Sugihara, Kaoru. 2003. “The East Asian Path of Economic Development: A Long-Term Perspective.” Pp. 78–123 in The Resurgence of East Asia: 500, 150 and 50 Year Perspectives edited by G. Arrighi, T. Hamashita, and M. Selden. London and new York: Routledge.

Suh, Jae-Jung. 2009. “Capitalism’s Demise?” The Asia-Pacific Journal 7(2):1–11.

Sun, Yutao, and Seamus Grimes. 2018. China and Global Value Chains Globalization and the Information and Communications Technology Sector. London: Routledge.

Trimberger, Ellen Kay. 1979. “World Systems Analysis: The Problem of Unequal Development.” Theory and Society 8(1):127–37.

Vecchi, Benedetto. 2008. “Entrevista a Giovanni Arrighi: «Y El Neoliberalismo Habrá Sido Sólo Un Paréntesis de Locura».” Cuadernos Del Cendes 25(68):109–13.

Wallerstein, Immanuel. 1979. The Capitalist World Economy. Cambridge: University Press.

_____. 1998. “The Rise and Future Demise of World-Systems Analysis.” Review XXI(1):103–12.

_____. 2004a. Capitalismo Histórico y Movimientos Antisistémicos. Un Análisis de Sistemas-Mundo. Madrid: AKAL.

_____. 2004b. World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction. Duke University Press.

_____. 2010. “A World-System Perspective on the Social Sciences.” British Journal of Sociology 46(1):167–77.

Wolfe, Marshall. 1976. “Enfoques del desarrollo: ¿de quién y hacia qué?” Revista de La CEPAL (1):129–72.

Yu, Shu, Xingwang Qian, and Taoxiong Liu. 2019. “Belt and Road Initiative and Chinese Firms’ Outward Foreign Direct Investment.” Emerging Markets Review 41(C):2–22.

Ziltener, Patrick, and Hans Peter Mueller. 2007. “The Weight of the Past: Traditional Agriculture, Socio-Political Differentiation and Modern Development in Africa and Asia: A Cross-National Analysis.” International Journal of Comparative Sociology 48(5):371–415.




How to Cite

Fernández, V. R., Moretti, L., & Ormaechea, E. (2022). Divergent Convergence: Complementing Theoretical Approaches for Understanding the Rise of the Global South and the Challenges for “the Rest”. Journal of World-Systems Research, 28(1), 98–126. https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.2022.1032



Research Articles