Galtung's Center-Periphery Model

 Source for the pie charts on the right:
Financial Times
, 10 May 2002.

For a dynamic presentation of Galtung's Center-Periphery Model, view this PowerPoint.

Inequality of income within countries illustrates center-periphery relations as well. Examine two world maps of patients and scientific citations.

Other examples:
: 3 percent of the Chinese minority control 70 percent of the private economy.

Philippines: 1 percent of the population of Chinese Filipinos control 60 percent of the private economy, including the country's major airlines, almost all the banks, hotels, shopping malls, and conglomerates.

World Bank and International Fund: As financial lending to Third World countries has increased, their economic development has decreased -- the reverse of what USA policy makers and government agencies have argued! The empirical evidence (New Internationalist, April 2004) contradicts the conservative, pro-capitalist rhetoric of globalization.

Economic-based definitions of the Center, Semiperiphery, and Periphery between countries in the world:


dominates trade, controls the most advanced technologies, and has high levels of productivity within diversified economies.


exploits peripheral regions but are themselves exploited and dominated by center regions.


has underdeveloped or narrowly specialized economies with low levels of productivity.

The United States, the European Union, and Japan represent the tri-polar core/center of the world economy and with each Center dominating particular regions of the world's periphery. Can you image which Center dominates which world regions? Look at a map!

Examine a map of U.S. military responses around the world.

The Center-Periphery model consists of two parts which are found within each other. It has spatial AND socio-economic dimensions. Think of your own examples for each of the FOUR parts of the model. Check-out the Wal-Mart geographic-economic model of doing business. For an example of individual elites as Center (ex-presidents, ex-prime ministers, and cabinet ministers), or to rephrase U.S. President George Bush, Jr., the axis of corporate evil -- read about the Carlyle Group.

Some other examples of center-periphery relations:

  • The center in the Center meets the center in the Periphery -- at the signing of a bilateral economic agreement between the German Minister for Post and Telecommunication, Dr. Wolfgang Bötsch, and the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Ali Atalas, with German Chancellor Kohl and the President of Indonesia Soeharto looking on. At this ceremony, 25 agreements were signed, valued at 1,45 billions DM (Deutsch Marks). [Source]

  • Only six currencies in the world are used for world trade and foreign-exchange reserves -- although the world has almost 200 countries and almost as many currencies. The graph shows that U.S. dollars are relatively more important in "developing" countries (Periphery) than in "industrial" ones (Center). The Cc (Center-center) is truly a very small club, however measured. The Cp and both the Pc and the Pp must adjust to or try to exist as best they can on their own terms. Cuba and North Korea are two countries with the least relations hips with other countries. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and a world socialist economy, existence outside of the world capitalist and monetary markets is extremely difficult. Even "communist" China is using "capitalist" economy principles.

  • The total value of stocks trades on the world's stock markets are even more concentrated: New York has over $10 trillion; London and Tokyo, slightly over $2 trillion each; Frankfurt, about $1 trillion; Paris, less than $1 trillion; and the rest of the world's stock markets have very small market capitalization.

  • U.S. multinationals in Indonesia. The top 500 companies of the world control about 70 percent of the world trade, 30 percent of the foreign investments, and about 30 percent of the world GNP.

  • Television programs imported as a percent of total screen time. The stars on the map show countries that have pronounced U.S. cultural influences. The blue and darker colors are the highest values. For a spatial version of this model, see the center-periphery colonial model.

  • Center-periphery relations in Argentina.

  • In East Africa, Malawi with a population of 10 million received $100 million in one year from First World governments (Center-center) collected from their respective taxpayers (Center-periphery), or an average of $10 per person -- which represented a 5 percent increase from the average income of only $180 a year. Instead of helping his people (Periphery-periphery), Bakili Muluzi, the president of Malawi (Periphery-center), spent $2.5 million to buy new Mercedes-Benz cars (bought in Germany from one of its largest Center-center corporations) for his cabinet ministers! [The Economist, 11 November 2000]

  • How does globalization reflect center-periphery relationships? Read one article.

  • What does international trade does and not does for countries? Answer [New Internationalist, May 2003, pp. 18-19]

  • The income gap in Afganistan is especilly visible in Kabul, the capital of the country.

UW-Eau Claire Seal


Created by Ingolf Vogeler; last revised September 25, 2012.