This paper explores the relationship between general systems theory and world-systems analysis. General systems theory was developed by Ludwig von Bertalanffy (1950). The concept and application of world-systems analysis were developed by Immanuel Wallerstein (1979).
The findings of the exploration of the relationship between general systems theory and world-systems analysis are presented in four discussions. The initial discussion reviews general systems theory. The following two discussions review world-systems analysis (a) as conceived by Wallerstein (2005) and (b) as interpreted by Taylor (1993). The final discussion provides concluding remarks concerning the relationship between general systems theory and world-systems analysis.
General Systems Theory: von Bertalanffy
In relation to general systems theory, Juarrero and Rubino (2008) noted that, "Bertalanffy explicitly acknowledges the role that interactions among components play in producing organized complexity" (p. 103). Importantly also, Juarrero and Rubino (2008) brought to the attention of readers the conclusion drawn by Bertalanffy that all living systems are characterized by a, "tendency to reach the same final state despite tracing very different trajectories" (p. 103). Within the context of these ideas, von Bertalanffy (1950) contended that in order to understand and to assess a system it is necessary to view the system from a holistic perspective, as opposed to analyzing each component of a system separately. This approach to systems analysis is contrary to the widespread practices of political scientists and economists in particular who frequently prefer to isolate system components in an effort to identify the effects of a specific component on system functioning or on system outcomes (Cindea, 2006; Daneke, 2005).
In formulating and in perfecting general systems theory, von Bertalanffy (1972) embraced the proposition put for...