Assessing Core-Monopolization and the Possibilities for the Semi-Periphery in the World-System Today
A Case Study of the Semiconductors Industry
Keywords:Semiconductors, Semi-periphery, World-Systems Analysis, East Asian Development, Peripheralization, Technology transfers, Core Monopolization
Drawing upon both classic and more contemporary world-systems analysis, along with oft-forgotten sections of Arghiri Emmanuel’s work on technology, this paper studies, through a quantitative and qualitative comparative method, the history and development of the global semiconductors industry, its selective spatial re-organization/peripheralization over time, and the logic of technology transfers within the context of core-monopolization of high profit industries. The paper then draws comparisons between semiconductors and prior core-monopolized industries like the automobile industry, and analyzes attempts at entry into core-like production by the large semi-peripheries such as China and India and the difficulties faced by them not only by the structural limitations of the world-system but also due to opposition from the core nations (like the U.S.-China Trade War). Resultingly, the analysis concludes that significant upward mobility for the large semi-peripheries through entry into core industries is, within the current capitalist world-system, largely unfeasible.
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