The Architecture of Collapse: The Global System in the 21st Century

ISBN : 9780198804437

Mauro F. Guillen
240 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Oct 2018
Clarendon Lectures in Management Studies
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Why are there so many crises in the world? Is it true that the global system is today riskier and more dangerous than in past decades? Do we have any tools at our disposal to bring these problems under control, to reduce the global system's proneness to instability?

These are the tantalizing questions addressed in this book. Using a variety of demographic, economic, financial, social, and political indicators, the book demonstrates that the global system has indeed become an 'architecture of collapse' subject to a variety of shocks. An analysis of the global financial crisis of 2008, the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and China, and the European sovereign debt crisis illustrates how the complexity and tight coupling of system components creates a situation of precarious stability and periodic disruption.

This state of affairs can only be improved by enhancing the shock-absorbing components of the system, especially the capacity of states and governments to act, and by containing the shock-diffusing mechanisms. In particular, those related to phenomena such as trade imbalances, portfolio investment, cross-border banking, population ageing, and income and wealth inequality.


1 The Global System
2 Complexity
3 Coupling
4 Complexity, Coupling, and the Great Recession
5 The U.S./China Relationship
6 The Euro Zone as a Complex, Tightly-Coupled System
7 The Future of the Global System

About the author: 

Mauro F. Guillen is the Zandman Professor of International Management at the Wharton School, and Director of the Lauder Institute, University of Pennsylvania. His research has to do with globalization and its impact on patterns of organization and on the diffusion of innovations. He is the author of a dozen books and over 40 scholarly articles. He is an elected fellow of the Sociological Research Association, a former Guggenheim fellow, a recipient of the Aspen Institute's Faculty Pioneer Award, and a member of the Global Agenda Council on Emerging Multinationals at the World Economic Forum.

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