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Wallerstein on "China and the World System Since 1945"

I was in the audience for this lecture, held November 18, 2013 at Yale University. Returning to it four years later, I am struck again by the prescience of Wallerstein's assertions about the present political chaos and the United States as a failed state. The period of uncertainty we currently inhabit will, he claims, within 20-40 years, tend toward either relative equality on the one hand, or more extreme forms of inequity on the other. For Wallerstein, nothing is certain in the afterlife of capitalism. However, the exigencies of this unique moment afford us a rare form of assurance: Everything we do--at the level of the individual, the cellular, down to the "nanosecond"--matters. This is as soothing an idea as it is unsettling.

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