Unlike many (Charles Taylor, for instance), some people do actually get better with age. Take Immanuel Wallerstein, who turned 80 in 2010. Since the 1970s, he has been writing his multi-volume The Modern World-System. One volume has appeared every dozen years or so, beginning in 1974. The most recent, from 2011, is in some respects the best yet, at least in terms of the sharpness of his formulations. And the old guy is talking about volumes 5 and 6!

Some samples:

Liberalism has always been in the end the ideology of the strong state in the sheep’s clothing of individualism; or to be more precise, the ideology of the strong state as the only sure ultimate guarantor of individualism (p. 10).

The institutionalization of history and the three nomothetic disciplines – economics, sociology, and political science – in the last third of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth took the form of university disciplines wherein the Western world studied itself, explained its own functioning, the better to control what was happening.

Still the rest of the world was a matter of some concern to the powerful of the world, who wished to know best how to control the ‘others’ over whom they held sway. To control, one must understand, at least minimally. So, again, it is no surprise that academic specialties emerged to produce the desired knowledge … a discipline called anthropology emerged in this period, and it dealt largely with areas that were either colonies or special zones within the metropolitan powers’ home territory. A second discipline, called Orientalism, dealt … largely (but not exclusively) with the semicolonies (pp. 264-5).

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