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Geographies of Capital Accumulation: Tracing the Emergence of Multi-polarity, 1980–2014

Theoretical Engagements in Geopolitical Economy

ISBN: 978-1-78560-295-5, eISBN: 978-1-78560-294-8

Publication date: 22 September 2015


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 multi-polar world economy.




Research for and presentation of this paper was greatly facilitated by a grant from Athabasca University’s Academic and Professional Development Fund and an appointment as Associate Professor (status only) with the Department of Political Science, University of Toronto. It is part of a larger research project funded by the President’s Award for Research and Academic Excellence (PARSE) at Athabasca University. Elements of this research were presented: (a) at the annual meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association (May 2014); (b) at the conference “Socialism 2014” organized by the Centre for Economic Research and Social Change in Chicago; and (c) at the bi-annual conference of the International Political Science Association. Thanks in particular to the CPSA panel discussant, Dr. Randall Germain, Department of Political Science, Carleton University for his comments and questions.


Kellogg, P. (2015), "Geographies of Capital Accumulation: Tracing the Emergence of Multi-polarity, 1980–2014", Theoretical Engagements in Geopolitical Economy (Research in Political Economy, Vol. 30A), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 259-294.



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