City Growth and Decline Cycles: A Comparative World-Systems Approach

Thursday, 14 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 30 (Main Building)
Distributed Paper
Hiroko INOUE, University of California - Riverside, USA
World regions revealed regionally distinct trajectories of concentration and de-centralization of political and economic power over the long-run history.  China is known to have formed a single centralized polity over most of the last 3000 years even though the East Asian region has experienced incessant warfare among neighboring polities.  South Asia and Europe are known to have developed multipolity systems with a moderate levels of political concentration.  A large literature has revealed that world regions have all manifested political centralization—fragmentation, or war—peace cycles. This study compares the world regions of East Asia (China), South Asia, Southeast Asia, West Asia, Europe, and North Africa to examine the contributing factors for the growth and decline of city and polity sizes and turning points for changes in the cycles of concentration and deconcentration network. This study empirically examines the ecological conditions, trade and political-military influences on the growth and decline of city population sizes.  Further, the study applies the models of mutualism and predation in ecology to identify the strong factors for each of these historical cases.