The global situation in the face of the decline of American power

Lecture by Immanuel Wallerstein

Today the United States is a superpower lacking real power, a global leader that no one follows and few respect, and a nation dangerously drifting in the middle of a global chaos that it cannot control.
In a chaotic situation, the one thing of which we can be certain is that new paths will be offered us, and in a real sense we are being asked to choose among them. Here is where the moral issues enter and cannot be averted or neglected. The choice is never technical and never one of formal rationality. It involves what Weber called "substantive rationality," which means choosing among ends, not means. And when I speak of ends, I mean not ends that are narrowly and technically defined, but the overall shape and fundamental values of the new historical social system that we prefer to build.

Immanuel Wallerstein

This lecture is related to the exhibition Art and utopia. Action restricted. (MACBA, June 3 – September 12, 2004).

Immanuel Wallerstein is a Senior Research Scholar at Yale University, directs the Fernand Braudel Center at the University of Binghamton, and is a researcher at the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme in Paris. His most recent publications include The Decline of American Power. The US in a Chaotic World (New Press, 2003) and Historical Capitalism and Antisystemic Movements (Cuestiones de Antagonismo, Ediciones Akal, 2004).

Event co-organized with:
MACBA Public Programs
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