Reply To: Mon 17 Feb: World Systems, History and Ecology

Author Replies # Posted on February 19, 2014 at 11:15

Reply to Sabbath Sunday’s post

What you have written is a great and concise summary of all of Wallerstein’s and Moore’s points on the effects of capitalism on the world ecology. While I to (a great extent) agree with all of the points, due to my socio-economic and political stance, I nevertheless seem many problems with their theoretical methodology. (I will particularly refer to Moore, as I only know of Wallerstein’s writing in passing).

I completely agree with studying the environment and everything in it as an oikeios, as I come from a historical/archaeological background and am completely aware of the constant changing relationships. Furthermore, I believe that phenomenology (a philosophical branch that maintains we only know the world through our relationships with it) can further enlighten the study of world ecology. I think, though, that Moore himself does not elucidate to a reasonable extent these relationships between human and extra-human nature and how they were cooperating/relating to each other, neither does he particularly elaborate how they changed through time. We need to remember that if we are doing a world historical study of the oikeios that we need redefine each concept/notion/idea as we move along through history, which might get confusing.

Another thing we should also be aware, is that ‘world’ studies may or do lose attention to detail and might miss plenty of ‘local’ ecological changes. As an example from science, palaeoenvironmentalist are getting a different picture trying to determine the weather patterns of East Africa in the past 2000 years when looking at a regional vs global scale.