7 - Conclusions: The future of polyarchy and global society  pp. 317-385

Conclusions: The future of polyarchy and global society

By William I. Robinson

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Most people in the world put up with very great inequalities, but when these inequalities appear to be increasing without prospect of being reversed and when they mean famine, epidemic, and certain death for millions of people, they cease to be merely aesthetic problems and acquire the status of political crises.

Richard Barnet and Ronald Muller

The world of humankind constitutes a manifold, a totality of interconnected processes, and inquiries that disassemble this totality into bits and then fail to reassemble it falsify reality. Concepts like “nation,” “society,” and “culture” name bits and threaten to turn names into things. Only by understanding these names as bundles of relationships, and by placing them back into the field from which they were abstracted, can we hope to avoid misleading inferences and increase our share of understanding.

Eric Wolf

The present study, as stated in the introduction, has a dual purpose. The first was to analyze and explain the promotion of polyarchy in US foreign policy. The second, more open-ended, was to explore political and social dimensions of globalization. This concluding chapter is divided into two parts. In the first part, I recapitulate my main thesis, take a brief look at “democracy promotion” programs in the former Soviet bloc and South Africa and US activities world wide so as to strengthen generalizing conclusions, and summarize in comparative perspective the case studies.