Libertarian critique of Braudel and/or Wallerstein?

Can anyone point me to a decent libertarian/laissez faire/Austrian-style/whatever critique of the work of Fernand Braudel and the Annales School and/or Immanuel Wallerstein‘s work and the World System Approach?

I’ve searched the usual suspects: Reason, Cato, and Mises. All I’ve found were a few citations, and some blog comments that mention them. The blog comments were… insubstantial.


  1. World Systems is a new one to me and looks interesting – thanks.

    Perhaps somewhat of what you’re looking for: Sir Karl Popper’s ‘The Poverty of Historicism’ (among others) is a general criticism of cyclical / pattern theories of history. I don’t recall it specifically mentioning World Systems.

  2. World Systems Theory is newer than Popper (but has older roots). As far as I can tell it is not historicist in the Marxian/Hegelian sense (but it uses Marxian vernacular and is considered Neo-Marxist or Post-Marxist).

    There is a body of criticism of Dependency Theory – a key component of World System Theory.

  3. Dunno if I’d call it a “critique,” but I’d point to Sheilagh Ogilvie as a libertarian who absorbed the lessons of Braudel and the Annales School and then moved on. Her essay “Toward a Critical Classical Liberal History” is superb. This appeared in the Humane Studies Review in 1987; it used to be online but I can’t find it now. Email me and I’ll send you a pdf.

  4. Oh, this takes me back a while!

    I would suggest focusing mostly on Neorealist international theorists – in particular Stephen Krasner, Robert Gilpin and Kenneth Waltz.

    Francis Fukuyama, Robert Keohane and Richard Rosenacre may also be of interest.

    I fully admit I’m probably stretching with a few of these, but there doesn’t seem to really be a “libertarian” theory of International Relations. Instead, you have Realists (who usually favour free trade, but also a militarily strong state and most often consider themselves conservative) and Neoliberals, many of whom politically favour Third Way (centrist) politics. Economically they are quite close, however, and in addition to some libertarian readings, could prove useful in the creation of a counter-analysis. Hopefully this is of some help.

    Also, while you’re in the general area, you may want to check out Charles Tilly, Michael Mann and Justin Rosenberg. Not helpful in a libertarian analysis, but if you want to get into international political theory, they’re far more useful than many of the staple texts and theorists.

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