The article focuses on the development of the classical conception of imperialism, paying particular attention to the "dependency theory" developed after the Second World War, to arrive at the most recent world-system analysis. The main contradictions of capitalist development are addressed through the "law of unequal development" and the "international division of labor", which determine the impossibility of the development in the peripheral areas, creating a strong balance of new wealth and new poverty. It also focuses on cultural aspects of postmodernism that allow the "late capitalism" to legitimize such an unequal order, in the belief that the progressive abandonment of the term "imperialism" is mainly due to the effective work of hegemony of postmodernism. Finally, pay attention to the recent trend towards "systemic chaos" which allows the current US hegemony to remain at the top of the world system by resorting more and more to domain policies.
Keywords: Imperialismo, dipendenza, sviluppo ineguale, divisione internazionale del lavoro, tardo capitalismo, world-system analysis.