Reply To: Mon 3 March: Ecology, History and Unequal Exchange

Start Forums Courses Current Debates and Themes in Global Environmental History Mon 3 March: Ecology, History and Unequal Exchange Reply To: Mon 3 March: Ecology, History and Unequal Exchange

Author Replies # Posted on March 5, 2014 at 16:18

Response to HIRSCHSTEIN NICK’s reflection by Yaqi Fu

Thanks for your thoughtful reflection. I am very glad to have the opportunity to comment on your reflection again.

In your reflection you want to figure out what is Hornborg’s definition of technology , how human uses technology and what effects happen in the world from such usage. It seems that you put more attention on the utility and after effects, while not elaborating much on in Hornborg’s thought what technology is. It’s also hard for me to define “his technology”. From my feeling gained from his lecture and book, technology in his mind is not simply related to machines, but more symbolize an ideology and a way of capital accumulation. His ideas of technology are also interesting to me.

I am not so agreed with your perception of his idea as using technology more locally can help regain equality. What he stressed I think is a world-system perspective from his book. He wanted to let us know the limitation of a national perspective and try to incorporate the world in analyzing what technology can actually bring to us. From his perspective, a way that avoids global trade and encloses oneself locally can hardly happen in today’s world.

Your mentioned the equality of the world. I agree that living standard in popularized countries is hard to get to the level of nowadays Europe. Things may get even worse towards inequality in the framework of a zero-sum world, in which unequal exchange dominates. Another thing you noticed is how to get a better change in today’s world. A dangerous thinking you drew from him is trying to make many people die. You doubted if it can really work as you posed the examples of two world wars which did not help change to sustainability. I agree with you that sustainability can never really gained by wars. War just has the function to get to a kind of conciliation and a period of peace. But if the uneven exchange continues and become more serious, I am afraid another world war will happen some day.