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Also during the Cold War, global inequality was described in terms of economic development. Along with developing and developed nations, the terms less-developed nation and underdeveloped nation were used. This was the era when the idea of noblesse oblige (first-world responsibility) took root, suggesting that the so-termed developed nations should provide foreign aid to the less-developed and underdeveloped nations in order to raise their standard of living.

Immanuel wallerstein: world systems approach

Immanuel Wallerstein’s (1979) world systems approach uses an economic basis to understand global inequality. Wallerstein conceived of the global economy as a complex system that supports an economic hierarchy that placed some nations in positions of power with numerous resources and other nations in a state of economic subordination. Those that were in a state of subordination faced significant obstacles to mobilization.

Core nations are dominant capitalist countries, highly industrialized, technological, and urbanized. For example, Wallerstein contends that the United States is an economic powerhouse that can support or deny support to important economic legislation with far-reaching implications, thus exerting control over every aspect of the global economy and exploiting both semi-peripheral and peripheral nations. We can look at free trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as an example of how a core nation is able to leverage its power to gain the most advantageous position in the matter of global trade.

Peripheral nations have very little industrialization; what they do have often represents the outdated castoffs of core nations or the factories and means of production owned by core nations. They typically have unstable governments, inadequate social programs, and are economically dependent on core nations for jobs and aid. There are abundant examples of countries in this category, such as Vietnam and Cuba. We can be sure the workers in a Cuban cigar factory, for example, which are owned or leased by global core nation companies, are not enjoying the same privileges and rights as U.S. workers.

Semi-peripheral nations are in-between nations, not powerful enough to dictate policy but nevertheless acting as a major source for raw material and an expanding middle-class marketplace for core nations, while also exploiting peripheral nations. Mexico is an example, providing abundant cheap agricultural labor to the U.S., and supplying goods to the United States market at a rate dictated by the U.S. without the constitutional protections offered to United States workers.

World bank economic classification by income

While the World Bank is often criticized, both for its policies and its method of calculating data, it is still a common source for global economic data. Along with tracking the economy, the World Bank tracks demographics and environmental health to provide a complete picture of whether a nation is high income, middle income, or low income.

This world map shows advanced, transitioning, less, and least developed countries.
This world map shows advanced, transitioning, less, and least developed countries. (Map courtesy of Sbw01f, data obtained from the CIA World Factbook/Wikimedia Commons)

Questions & Answers

What is the importance of studying Sociology?
War Reply
the importance of studying sociology is to know about the society, human behavior, human interaction, social problems etc
Ishrat
what particularly is a "social action"?
nishita Reply
act which takes into account the actions and reactions of individual.
manisha
what role does society plays in it
nishita
society shapes the individual's behaviour
Rehmat
how relevant is socialization to law
Salihu Reply
Can anyone tell the form of family
Inoto Reply
wrire the function of family
Ahammad Reply
what is marriage
Ahammad Reply
Marriage ia a socialy and legaly rocognized social bond between two people for the procreation of offsprings and satisfaction of sexual desires. With the tie of marriage there generates right and duties on both partners to comply with.
Sadiq
types of marriage
Ahammad
Monogamy, Polygamy, Polygyny, Polyandry , Bigamy
Sadiq
function of marriage
Ahammad
it is explained in definition
Sadiq
what do you mean by Endogamy
Ahammad
who is the father of sociology
Ahammad Reply
ibne khaldoom
Sajan
what is sociology
Ahammad
study of people groups society and interactions.
Sajan
write the definition of "types of marriage "
Ahammad
important of social science research in our contemporary society
Sharif Reply
Social research is an important source of knowledge. It provides updated, proved, authentic and very useful information to the end users.
manisha
Structural Changes. Social research is responsible for bringing structural changes in a social life.
manisha
Social Prediction. Social research helps in making laws and the relation between social laws and their factors.
manisha
we apply social research to a society for bringing social order and control.
manisha
New Techniques. Social Research introduces new techniques and improves the old ones.
manisha
how positivism is used in social science
Sam Reply
Positivists believe that sociology can and should use the same methods and approaches to study the social world that “natural” sciences such as biology and physics use to investigate the physical world.
manisha
positivists use quantitative methods such as official statistics, structured questionnaires and social surveys. Statistical, numerical data is crucial to Positivist research. Positivists need to collect statistical information in order to make comparisons. And in order to uncover general social tren
manisha
auguste compte
Edouard
August Comte is known as the father of Sociology.
Moses
what is Darwin's theory?
Kashmiri
What are the e contribution of Auguste Compt to Sociology?
Muhammad
August comte
Rahein
difference between polygamy and polyandry
Arvina Reply
polygamy having more than 1wife ...and polyandry having more than 1husband
sai
explanation on human Development
Hamukwele Reply
Happy independence day to all indians. Let we live with peace love harmony and friendliness with each other without any discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, race, class, gender, power, economic, political, professional and status. Jai hind.
manisha Reply
Respect and peace.
Leonard
happy independence day to all....
Dr.
happy independent to Indians 🇮🇳
Favour
nice to hear from all of you. i know people are here from all around the world. first msg is definitely for indians as today is independence day for them. and other msg can be receive by others.. gratitude..
manisha
happy independence Day
Kashmiri
Happy Independence day to you all Indians.
Umar
happy independence Day from Occupied Kashmir.
rameez
thanks
manisha
what is sociology
Ali Reply
the study of social problem
Sanjib
Sociology is the systematic study of diverse human culture.
Jimmielyn
who is father of sociology
Surjeet Reply
seriously man. y ppl ask this ques again n again. august comte :)
manisha
Class and class structure
priyanka Reply
G S Gurye
Suraj

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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