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Nature and the transition from feudalism to capitalism
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies. (Umeå Studies in Science, Technology, and Environments)
2003 (English)In: Review: A Journal of the Fernand Braudel Center, ISSN 0147-9032, Vol. 26, no 2, 97-172 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

An epochal transformation of nature-society relations was inscribed in the transition from feudalism to capitalism. This article advances three central propositions. First, the origins of today’s global ecological crisis are found in the emergence of the capitalist world-economy in the “long” sixteenth century - not in industrialization, population growth, or market expansion, as the conventional wisdom would have it. Secondly, the crisis of feudalism was a general crisis not only of medieval Europe’s political economy, but in equal measure an expression of feudalism’s underlying ecological contradictions. Thirdly, the rise of capitalism effected a radical recomposition of world ecology. As early as the sixteenth century, we can see how the emergent logic of capital, which at once implies endless expansion and seeks to flatten socio-ecological diversity, undermined the possibilities for a sustainable relation between nature and society. Capitalism thus differed radically from feudalism and all other precapitalist formations. Where earlier ecological crises had been local, capitalism globalized them. From this standpoint, the origins of capitalism may shed light on today’s ecological crises.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2003. Vol. 26, no 2, 97-172 p.
Keyword [en]
environmental history, feudalism, capitalism, ecological crisis, capitalism as world-ecology, plantations, slavery, silver mining, world history, world-systems analysis, historical sociology, historical geography, political ecology, uneven development
National Category
Business Administration Ethnology Agricultural Science Economic History History of Technology Economics Human Geography Economic Geography Sociology
Research subject
History; Social and Economic Geography; Systems Analysis; Economic History
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-40190OAI: diva2:398225
Available from: 2011-02-25 Created: 2011-02-16 Last updated: 2011-02-25Bibliographically approved

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Moore, Jason W.
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