Geografie 2014, 119, 26-49

Does the onset of trends towards convergence within the differentiation of the global system confirm the general assumptions about the development of territorial and social hierarchies?

Martin Hampl

Univerzita Karlova v Praze, Přírodovědecká fakulta, katedra sociální geografie a regionálního rozvoje, Albertov 6, 128 43 Praha 2, Czechia

Received June 2013
Accepted February 2014

We are currently witnessing a significant turn in the evolution of the global system. The long term rise in the dominance of the “West” has been recently not only halted, but if fact reversed. Within the last two decades, close to a fifth of the world’s GDP has been transferred from the core to the semiperiphery, and increasingly also the periphery, of the global system. The hierarchic manner of the asymmetric geographic distribution of the world’s economy and population, and its transformation, remains a significant subject of scientific research and a key issue within the decision-making sphere of world politics. However, the discrepancy between the hierarchical differentiation of states and civilizations in terms of their size on one hand and their development (wealth) on the other remains an important issue. The degree of this discrepancy (or lack of) depends on the scale on which the differentiation is examined. At the macroregional level, it remains very pronounced, while it decreases in significance on the mezoregional and microregional levels – within the developed countries, a relative correspondence exists between both types of hierarchy. This article therefore intends to delineate the basic types of hierarchical differentiation to discuss the causal mechanisms of their formation and prospective change.


35 live references