The aim of this chapter is to outline Prebisch’s contributions to the analysis of the world system. Most research on the topic has emphasized the economic dimension of Prebisch’s ideas. But, as argued here, Prebisch’s understanding of the world system was much more expansive and included elements closely related to the Realist perspective in International Relations. I refer here to the idea of the world system based on state power and hierarchies among states relative based on systemic asymmetries of power. Prebisch’s ideas resonate strongly with Realism’s rejection of the claim of equality among states, since states have different abilities to mobilize and direct resources in pursuit of their interests. I also show that there is a geopolitical side to Prebisch’s thinking about the world system. By geopolitics I refer to the territorial (or spatial) dimension in the analysis of expressions of power. An example of this geopolitical dimension is that Prebisch’s use of the framework of centre-periphery had a territorial dimension


Raúl Prebisch, development, core and periphery, Latin America, political economy

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