Geographies of capital accumulation: Tracing the emergence of multi-polarity, 1980-2014

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To properly assess the relative places of China and the United States in the world system, the fact of the transformation of old, and the emergence of new, centers of capital accumulation needs to be established, and some attempt made to develop means of measuring these developments. This paper, working within the framework of Uneven and Combined Development, will suggest a new metric by which we can assess the geography of capital accumulation in the world economy, a metric with three components. The first component examines national income, both per capita and as shares of the world total. The second component refines the latter to an examination of share of world manufacturing, with a specific examination of distribution of the key sector of high-technology manufacturing. The third and final component examines the distribution of large corporations through the world economy, and introduces a new term - the relative weight of large corporations. All components of this metric suggest that key aspects of the modern economy remain "territorially bound" and clearly reveal the steady, long-term decline of the United States as the dominant center of capital accumulation, and the simultaneous emergence of new centers of capital accumulation in an increasingly multipolar world economy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-294
Number of pages36
JournalResearch in Political Economy
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Capital accumulation
  • China
  • High-technology manufacturing
  • Multi-polar
  • Uneven and combined development
  • World economy


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