Prospects of Decline and Hegemonic Shifts for the West

  • Andrea Komlosy University of Vienna, Austria
Keywords: hegemonic competition, anti-systemic movements and alliances, South-South cooperation


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.

Author Biography

Andrea Komlosy, University of Vienna, Austria

Andrea Komlosy is professor at the Institute for Economic and Social History, University of Vienna, Austria, where she is coordinator of the Global History and Global Studies programs. She has published on labor, migration, borders and uneven development on a regional, a European and a global scale.


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How to Cite
Komlosy, A. (2016). Prospects of Decline and Hegemonic Shifts for the West. Journal of World-Systems Research, 22(2), 463-483.
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