Arquivo da categoria: Lectures / Readings

Odalice Priosti (2017)

Faleceu no passado dia 25, Odalice Miranda Priosti, uma das fundadoras do Ecomuseu de Santa Cruz, no rio de Janeiro.

Na sequência da conferencia do Rio, em 1992, onde as questões ambientais ganharam relevância nos processos patrimonais, Odalice Priosti e colaboradores criaram o Ecomuseu de Santa Cruz, uma experiencia pioneira de museologia popular participada no Rio de Janeiro

Odalice esteve em Portugal em 2007, onde participou na XII Conferencia Internacional do MINOM. Aí apresentou uma síntese da sua atividade.

Esteve em 2016  em MIlão no Forum dos Ecomuseus. Traduziu para Português o Compromisso de Milão sobre as Paisagens Culturais

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‘‘Os Princípios de Dublin’’ do ICOMOS-TICCIH

Princípios conjuntos do ICOMOS–TICCIH para a Conservação de Sítios, Estruturas, Áreas e Paisagens de Património Industrial

‘‘Os Princípios de Dublin’’

Aprovados na 17.ª Assembleia Geral do ICOMOS em 28 de Novembro de 2011

Introdução

Em todo o mundo, uma grande diversidade de sítios, estruturas, complexos, cidades e povoados, áreas, paisagens ou itinerários, constituem o testemunho de actividades humanas de extracção e de produção industrial. Em muitos locais, este património ainda se encontra em utilização e a industrialização constitui também um processo activo imbuído de um sentido de continuidade histórica, enquanto que noutros lugares esse património consiste nos vestígios arqueológicos de actividades e tecnologias passadas. Para além do património material associado aos processos e tecnologia industrial, da engenharia, da arquitectura ou do urbanismo, este património contempla também múltiplas dimensões imateriais plasmadas no saberfazer, nas memórias ou na vida social dos trabalhadores e das suas comunidades.

O processo global de industrialização observado durante os dois últimos séculos constitui uma etapa maior da história humana fazendo com que o seu património seja especialmente significativo e decisivo para o mundo contemporâneo. Os precursores e os inícios da industrialização podem-se reconhecer em numerosas partes do mundo, remontando a períodos mais antigos, através de sítios arqueológicos ou em actividade, e a nossa atenção estende-se a quaisquer exemplos desse processo e do seu património. Contudo, para os nossos objectivos, os interesses primordiais destes Princípios conjuntos coincidem com as noções comuns de Revolução Industrial da era contemporânea, que se caracteriza por uma produção original e especializada, transporte e geração de energia ou aproveitando processos e tecnologias, comércio e interacções de negócios, incluindo novos padrões sociais e culturais.

O património industrial é extremadamente vulnerável e frequentemente encontra-se em risco; muitas vezes perde-se por falta de consciência, de conhecimento, de reconhecimento ou de protecção, mas também pelo efeito de uma economia em mutação, de percepções negativas, de questões ambientais ou devido às suas grandes dimensões e complexidade. Contudo, ao prolongar o ciclo de vida das estruturas existentes, assim como do investimento energético que elas representam, constata-se que a conservação do património industrial construído pode auxiliar a alcançar as metas de um desenvolvimento sustentável a nível local, nacional e internacional. Deste modo, a conservação do património industrial influencia os aspectos sociais, físicos e ambientais do desenvolvimento, e como tal deveria ser reconhecida.

Nas últimas décadas, a crescente investigação, a cooperação internacional e interdisciplinar, assim como iniciativas comunitárias, contribuíram consideravelmente para uma maior valorização do património industrial e a um aumento da colaboração entre administradores, partes interessadas e profissionais da área da conservação. Este progresso deveu-se a um conjunto de referências e directrizes internacionais desenvolvidas pelo ICOMOS — o Conselho Internacional de Monumentos e Sítios — e à implementação de recomendações e documentos internacionais, como a Convenção do Património Mundial, aprovada pela UNESCO em 1972.

Em 2003, o Comité Internacional para a Conservação do Património Industrial (TICCIH) adoptou a Carta de Nizhny Tagil sobre o Património Industrial, o primeiro texto de referência internacional reconhecido para orientar a protecção e a conservação nesta área.

Reconhecendo a natureza singular do património industrial, juntamente com os problemas e ameaças que o afectam como resultado da sua relação com os contextos económicos, legais, culturais e ambientais contemporâneos, o ICOMOS e o TICCIH, desejam ampliar a sua cooperação, adoptando e promovendo a difusão e a utilização dos seguintes Princípios para auxiliar no conhecimento, protecção, conservação e valorização do património industrial como parte do património das sociedades humanas de todo o mundo.

  1. Definição: O património industrial abrange os sítios, estruturas, complexos, territórios e paisagens, assim como os equipamentos, os objectos ou os documentos relacionados, que testemunhem os antigos ou actuais processos de produção industrial, a extracção e a transformação de matérias-primas, e as infraestruturas energéticas ou de transporte que lhes estão associadas. O património industrial revela uma conexão profunda entre o meio cultural e natural envolvente, enquanto que os processos industriais — quer sejam antigos ou modernos — dependem de recursos naturais, de energia e de redes de transporte, para poderem produzir e distribuir os produtos a amplos mercados. Este património compreende activos fixos e variáveis, para além de dimensões imateriais, tais como os saber-fazer técnicos, a organização do trabalho e dos trabalhadores, ou um complexo legado de práticas sociais e culturais resultantes da influência da indústria na vida das comunidades, as quais provocaram decisivas mudanças organizacionais em sociedades inteiras e no mundo em geral.
  2. A grande diversidade dos sítios de património industrial resulta das suas funções, das suas formas, e da sua evolução ao longo do tempo. Muitos deles são representativos de processos, tecnologias, assim como de condições regionais ou históricas, enquanto que outros constituem realizações notáveis de alcance mundial. Outros são sítios de operações complexas e múltiplas ou sistemas cujos diversos componentes são interdependentes, e muitas vezes provenientes de diferentes tecnologias e períodos históricos. O significado e o valor do património industrial são específicos das estruturas ou dos próprios sítios, do seu tecido material, das suas componentes, da sua maquinaria e contexto, expressos na paisagem industrial, na documentação escrita, e também nas dimensões imateriais contidas nas memórias, artes e costumes.

I — Estudar e compreender as estruturas, sítios, áreas e paisagens industriais e o seu valor patrimonial

  1. Investigar e documentar estruturas, sítios, paisagens industriais, assim como maquinaria, equipamentos, arquivos ou as suas dimensões imateriais, é essencial para a sua identificação, conservação e avaliação do seu significado e valor patrimonial. As destrezas e conhecimentos humanos envolvidos nos processos industriais antigos revestem-se da maior importância para a conservação e devem ser considerados nos processos de avaliação patrimonial.
  2. A investigação e a documentação de sítios e estruturas de património industrial devem abordar as suas dimensões históricas, tecnológicas e socioeconómicas a fim de proporcionar uma base integrada para a sua conservação e gestão. A identificação da importância dos sítios ou estruturas de património industrial requer uma abordagem interdisciplinar apoiada numa investigação e em programas educativos. Esta abordagem deve beneficiar de uma diversidade de fontes de conhecimento e de informação, incluindo o inventário e o registo do sítio, a investigação histórica e arqueológica, a análise de materiais e paisagens, e a história oral e / ou pesquisa em arquivos públicos, empresariais ou privados. Devem ser incentivadas a investigação e a preservação de registos documentais, arquivos de empresas, planos de construção, e espécimes de produtos industriais. A avaliação e a análise dos documentos devem ser realizadas por um especialista do tipo de indústria com a qual estão associados, capaz de determinar o significado e a importância do património em questão. A participação de cidadãos, comunidades e outros sectores interessados constitui também parte integrante deste exercício.
  3. O conhecimento aprofundado da história industrial e socioeconómica de uma cidade, de uma região ou de um país, assim como dos seus vínculos com outras partes do mundo é necessário para compreender o valor patrimonial das estruturas ou dos sítios industriais. Estudos de contexto industrial único, estudos tipológicos ou regionais, realizados numa perspectiva comparativa, voltados para sectores ou tecnologias industriais importantes, são muito úteis para avaliar o valor patrimonial inerente a estruturas individuais, sítios, áreas ou paisagens. Estes estudos devem ser acessíveis e pesquisáveis pelo público, por académicos assim como por gestores.

II — Assegurar uma eficaz proteção conservação de estruturas, sítios, áreas e paisagens de património industrial

  1. É necessário adoptar e implementar, de forma apropriada, políticas adequadas e medidas legais e administrativas para proteger e garantir a conservação dos sítios e estruturas de património industrial, incluindo a sua maquinaria e documentação. Essas medidas devem ter em consideração a estreita relação que existe entre o património industrial, a produção industrial e a economia, em particular no que diz respeito às normas para empresas e investimentos, negócios ou propriedade intelectual, tais como patentes e normas aplicáveis às operações industriais activas.
  2. Devem realizar-se inventários integrados e listagens de estruturas em sítios, áreas, paisagens e seu meio envolvente, considerando objectos, documentos, desenhos e arquivos ou património imaterial, e utilizá-los para assegurar a eficácia das políticas de gestão e de conservação, assim como das medidas de proteção. Os bens assim inventariados devem poder contar com um reconhecimento legal, e de iniciativas que assegurem uma adequada gestão e conservação para garantir que a sua importância, integridade e autenticidade sejam mantidas. No caso de um património industrial identificado através de uma descoberta fortuita, deve ser concedida uma protecção provisória para permitir o tempo necessário a uma adequada avaliação patrimonial.
  3. No caso das estruturas industriais ou de sítios de importância patrimonial que se encontram em actividade, deve reconhecer-se que o seu contínuo uso e funcionamento pode retirar algum do seu significado patrimonial e, por conseguinte, devem-se proporcionar condições adequadas para a sua sustentabilidade física e económica, como instalações operacionais de produção ou de extracção. Ao implementar regulamentos actuais, tais como códigos de construção, requisitos ambientais ou estratégias de redução de risco para enfrentar as ameaças de origem natural ou humana, as suas características técnicas específicas devem ser respeitadas.
  4. Tendo em vista a especial importância da completude e da integridade funcional para o significado das estruturas e dos sítios de património industrial, as medidas de proteção devem ser aplicadas aos edifícios e seus conteúdos. O seu valor patrimonial pode ser grandemente ameaçado ou diminuído se máquinas ou outros componentes importantes forem removidos, ou se elementos acessórios que façam parte do todo sejam destruídos. Deve ser estabelecido um sistema jurídico e administrativo sólido para permitir que as autoridades actuem rapidamente quando sítios e complexos de património industrial cessam a laboração, a fim de prevenir a remoção ou destruição de elementos significativos, como máquinas, objectos industriais, documentos ou outros elementos de interesse.

III — Conservar e manter as estruturas, sítios, áreas e paisagens de património industrial

  1. A manutenção do uso original ou de uma nova utilização compatível constitui a solução de conservação mais frequente e, muitas vezes, a mais sustentável para assegurar a conservação de sítios ou estruturas de património industrial. Os novos usos devem respeitar os elementos significativos existentes, como os equipamentos, os padrões de circulação ou a distribuição das actividades. São necessários conhecimentos especializados para garantir que os valores patrimoniais sejam adequadamente considerados e respeitados na gestão da utilização sustentável desses sítios e estruturas de património industrial. Os códigos de construção, as medidas de redução de riscos de sinistro, os regulamentos ambientais ou industriais, juntamente com outras normas e disposições, devem ser adequadamente implementados, para respeitar as dimensões do património, quando forem concretizadas através de intervenções físicas.
  2. Sempre que possível, as intervenções físicas devem ser reversíveis e respeitar o carácter histórico do sítio, e os vestígios ou marcas que para tal contribuem. Todas as alterações devem ser documentadas. A reversão para um estado prévio conhecido pode ser aceitável em circunstâncias excepcionais para fins educativos, devendo nesse caso basear-se num aprofundado trabalho de pesquisa e documentação. O desmantelamento e a deslocação só são aceitáveis em casos extraordinários, quando a destruição do sítio é exigida por imperativas necessidades económicas ou sociais, objetivamente demonstradas.
  3. Em caso de obsolescência, desmantelamento e / ou adaptação de sítios ou estruturas industriais de interesse patrimonial, os processos industriais devem ser documentados, particularmente quando os seus componentes tiverem de ser demolidos e as máquinas removidas. A sua forma material, o seu funcionamento e localização, assim como a sua função no processo industrial, devem ser exaustivamente documentadas. Histórias orais e / ou escritas de pessoas ligadas a estes processos de trabalho devem ser também recolhidas.

IV — Apresentar e comunicar as dimensões e os valores patrimoniais de estruturas, sítios, áreas e paisagens industriais para aumentar a consciencialização pública e empresarial e apoiar a educação e a investigação

  1. O património industrial constitui uma fonte de aprendizagem que precisa de ser comunicada nas suas múltiplas dimensões. Ele ilustra aspectos importantes da história local, nacional e internacional e as interações através dos tempos e das culturas. Isto é revelador das aptidões inventivas relacionadas com os desenvolvimentos científicos e tecnológicos, e também com a evolução dos movimentos sociais e artísticos. A consciencialização e a compreensão públicas e empresariais do património industrial são meios importantes para alcançar a sua conservação bem-sucedida.
  2. Deve ser encorajada a criação e manutenção de programas e equipamentos, tais como visitas a sítios activos de património industrial e a apresentação das suas operações, bem como os relatos e o património imaterial associados à sua história, maquinaria e processos industriais, museus industriais ou de cidade e centros de interpretação, exposições, publicações, websites, itinerários regionais ou transfronteiriços, como meio para aumentar a consciencialização e valorização do património industrial em toda a riqueza do seu ignificado para as sociedades contemporâneas. Idealmente, estes programas e equipamentos deveriam estar localizados nos mesmos locais patrimoniais onde o processo de industrialização ocorreu onde ele pode ser melhor comunicado. Além disso, sempre que possível, as instituições nacionais e internacionais nas áreas de pesquisa e conservação do património devem ser capacitadas para utilizar estes programas e equipamentos como unidades educativas para o público em geral e para as comunidades profissionais.

[Tradução da responsabilidade da APPI — Associação Portuguesa para o Património Industrial]

Dicionário Ilustrado da Cortiça – de Ignácio perede

O Dicioonário Ilustrado de Cortiça (2016). de Ignácio Pereda, é um trabalho que trabalha sobre a memória coletiva dos saberes corticeiros. O Montado é um dos elementos que caracteriza a paisagem mediterrânea. Uma paisagem feita de uma componente humana, que liga as permanências às pessoas. Um quadro integral de património.

Foi oferecido pelo auto neste Natal, em jeito de troca.

Encontros Florestais

Encontros Florestais (20179. de Ignácio Garcia Pereda

Publicado pela Sociedade Portuguesa de Ciências Florestais

Num ano em que se falou da floresta, do ordenamento florestal, o autor deste livrinho teve a gentileza de mo oferecer, em memória duma conversas que trocamos sobre a Herdade de Rio Frio.

Nele contextualiza as discussões, ao longo de mais de um século, sobre a floresta portuguesa, Uma discussão feita pelos pricipais proprietários agrícolas.

Marxismo e Ecologia, reencontro necessário POR EDUARDO MANCUSO

A partir de Outras Palavras

Divorciados no século 20, precisam voltar. Do contrário, não será possível superar nem o velho desenvolvimentismo, nem a mediocridade do “capitalismo verde”

Nós só conhecemos uma ciência, a ciência da história. A história pode ser vista por dois lados: ela pode ser dividida em história da natureza e história do homem.

Os dois lados, porém, não devem ser vistos como entidades independentes. Desde que o homem existe, a natureza e o homem influenciam-se mutuamente Karl Marx e Friedrich Engels, A ideologia alemã[1]

O homem vive da natureza, isto é, a natureza é o seu corpo, e ele precisa manter um diálogo continuado para não morrer. Dizer que a vida física e mental do homem está vinculada à natureza significa simplesmente que a natureza está vinculada a si mesma, pois o homem é parte da natureza Karl Marx, Manuscritos econômicos e filosóficos[2]

“O trabalho é o pai da riqueza material… e a terra é a mãe” Karl Marx, O Capital[3]

Ninguém denunciou tanto como Marx a lógica capitalista da produção pela produção, a acumulação de capital, de riquezas e mercadorias como um fim em si. Sua ideia de sociedade socialista está baseada na produção de valores de uso, de bens necessários à satisfação das necessidades humanas. Para Marx o objetivo do progresso técnico não é o crescimento infinito de bens (“o ter”), mas a redução da jornada de trabalho e o aumento do tempo livre (“o ser”).

No entanto, encontramos no marxismo dos séculos XIX e XX (e mesmo em algumas passagens de Marx) uma postura insuficientemente crítica a respeito do sistema de produção industrial criado pelo capital, além de uma tendência a fazer do “desenvolvimento das forças produtivas” o principal vetor do “progresso” (entendido como algo intrinsecamente positivo). A esse respeito, as duas correntes principais do movimento socialista no século XX, a socialdemocracia e o stalinismo, levaram a lógica “produtivista” ao paroxismo em seus programas políticos e projetos de governo.

Porém, se voltamos ao marxismo clássico (com sua concepção materialista da história e da natureza), vamos encontrar inúmeros exemplos na obra de Marx, da associação direta entre a exploração do proletariado e da natureza, abrindo um campo de reflexão sobre a articulação entre luta de classes e luta em defesa do meio ambiente – o combate comum contra a exploração do trabalho e da natureza. Também o jovem Engels, em seu magistral livro A situação da classe trabalhadora na Inglaterra, de 1844, descreve com indignação a horrível acumulação de dejetos e resíduos industriais nas ruas e nos rios, e o gás carbônico que tomava o lugar do oxigênio e envenenava a atmosfera nas cidades inglesas do século XIX.

O pensamento metafísico pretende separar a ideia da matéria, o corpo do espírito, a natureza da história. Esse não é o caso do marxismo clássico. Encontraremos inúmeras passagens na obra de Marx que consideram a conservação do meio ambiente natural como uma obrigação da sociedade humana com o presente e o futuro, constituindo, portanto, tarefa fundamental do socialismo. Por exemplo, no volume III do Capital, vamos encontrar a necessidade da preservação da terra articulada com a ideia de solidariedade intergeracional:

Mesmo uma sociedade inteira, uma nação, enfim, todas as sociedades contemporâneas tomadas em conjunto, não são proprietárias da terra. Elas são apenas ocupantes, usufrutuárias, e devem, como bons paters famílias, deixá-la em melhor estado para as futuras gerações.[4]

Assim, na obra magna de Marx sobre o capital vai surgir o conceito de metabolismo. A ideia de metabolismo é absolutamente central para a concepção materialista-histórica de Marx, pois nela o trabalho serve de mediador entre a existência humana e a natureza. Ele passa a definir, então, o socialismo como o sistema social em que a dominação humana sobre a natureza é substituída pelo controle (democrático) do intercâmbio do homem com a natureza:

[…] a única liberdade possível é a regulação racional, pelo ser humano socializado, pelos produtores associados, de seu metabolismo com a natureza, que eles controlam juntos ao invés de serem dominados por ele como por uma potência cega.[5]

O conceito de metabolismo permitiu a Marx não apenas expressar esta relação fundamental de forma mais científica, retratando a troca complexa, dinâmica, entre os seres humanos e a natureza decorrente do trabalho humano, que abrangia tanto as “condições impostas pela natureza” quanto à capacidade dos seres humanos de impactar esse processo. Segundo o marxista norte-americano John Bellamy Foster, esse conceito deu a Marx um modo concreto de expressar a noção de alienação da natureza (e da sua relação com a alienação do trabalho), isto é, o desequilíbrio ou a crise na relação entre a humanidade e seu meio ambiente natural: a falha metabólica.

Poderíamos citar muitos exemplos da sensibilidade dos fundadores do marxismo à questão do ambiente natural da atividade humana, mas sobre esse debate talvez o mais importante na atualidade, quando enfrentamos a crise de civilização produzida pelo capitalismo, é enfatizar, como faz Michael Low y que: […] é impossível pensar em uma ecologia crítica à altura dos desafios contemporâneos sem ter em conta a crítica marxiana da economia política, o questionamento da lógica destrutiva induzida pela acumulação ilimitada de capital. Uma ecologia que ignora ou negligencia o marxismo e sua crítica do fetichismo da mercadoria está condenada a não ser mais do que uma correção dos “excessos” do produtivismo capitalista.[6]

Lowy afirma que a questão ecológica é o grande desafio para uma renovação do pensamento marxista no século XXI. Ela exige dos marxistas uma ruptura radical com a ideologia do progresso linear e com o paradigma tecnológico e econômico da civilização industrial moderna, reorientando o desenvolvimento humano, tornando-o compatível com a preservação do equilíbrio ecológico do planeta.

Lowy propõe aplicar ao aparelho produtivo moldado pelo capital a mesma lógica revolucionaria que Marx propunha em A guerra civil na França (1871), para o tema do aparelho de Estado: A classe trabalhadora não pode se contentar em tomar a máquina do Estado e fazê-la funcionar por sua própria conta. Por sua natureza e estrutura, o sistema produtivo (assim como o Estado) não é neutro, os trabalhadores precisam superar o velho e construir algo novo, que realmente supere o existente e atenda as necessidades das amplas maiorias e da relação da humanidade com o ambiente natural.

O que implica não apenas a substituição das formas de energia destrutivas por fontes de energia renováveis e não-poluentes como a energia solar, mas também uma profunda transformação do sistema produtivo herdado do capitalismo, assim como do sistema de transportes e do sistema de habitação urbana.[7]

Nesse sentido, o ecossocialismo significa uma ruptura com a civilização material capitalista, pois uma nova sociedade exige não apenas um novo modo de produção, mas também um novo paradigma de civilização:

O socialismo e a ecologia – ou pelo menos algumas das suas correntes – têm objetivos comuns, que implicam questionar a autonomização da economia, do reino da quantificação, da produção como um objetivo em si mesmo, da ditadura do dinheiro, da redução do universo social ao cálculo das margens da rentabilidade e às necessidades da acumulação do capital. Ambos pedem valores qualitativos: o valor de uso, a satisfação das necessidades, a igualdade social para uns, a preservação da natureza, o equilíbrio ecológico para outros.[8]

A maior contribuição da ecologia crítica tem sido a de alertar a humanidade dos perigos que ameaçam o planeta em consequência do seu modo de produção e consumo insustentáveis. O crescimento exponencial das agressões ao meio ambiente e as rupturas cada vez mais drásticas do equilíbrio ecológico colocam em questão a sociedade humana, confrontando-nos com uma crise de civilização, exigindo mudanças radicais.

Lowy considera o ecossocialismo uma corrente de pensamento e de ação política que incorpora as aquisições fundamentais do marxismo. Para o movimento ecológico socialista, (…) a lógica do mercado e do lucro – assim como a do autoritarismo burocrático de ferro e do “socialismo real” – são incompatíveis com as exigências de preservação do meio ambiente natural.[9]

Ele destaca que o movimento não é homogêneo, mas apresenta alguns temas e princípios comuns, tendo como eixo central, (a) ruptura com a ideologia produtivista do progresso – na sua forma capitalista e/ou burocrática – e oposta à expansão ao infinito de um modo de produção e de consumo destruidor da natureza, [nesse sentido] tal corrente representa uma tentativa original de articular as ideias fundamentais do socialismo marxista com as aquisições da crítica ecológica.[10]

O objetivo do socialismo ecológico significa subordinar o valor de troca ao valor de uso (superando o “reino da mercadoria”), organizando a produção em função de necessidades sociais e da proteção do meio ambiente. Construir uma sociedade ecologicamente racional fundada no controle democrático, na igualdade, na propriedade coletiva dos meios de produção e em uma nova estrutura tecnológica das forças produtivas.

Para Lowy, o pensamento ecossocialista repousa em dois argumentos essenciais: 1. O modo de produção e de consumo atual dos países capitalistas avançados, fundado numa lógica de acumulação ilimitada (do capital, dos lucros, das mercadorias), do esgotamento dos recursos, do consumo ostentatório, e da destruição acelerada do meio ambiente, não pode, de modo algum, ser expandido para o conjunto do planeta, sob pena de uma crise ecológica maior.

  1. (A) continuação do “progresso” capitalista e a expansão da civilização fundada na economia de mercado – mesmo sob essa forma brutalmente desigualitária – ameaça diretamente… a própria sobrevivência da espécie humana.[11]

A racionalidade imediatista, de curto prazo, submetida à lógica de perdas e lucros do mercado capitalista é contraditória com a racionalidade ecológica e sua temporalidade dos ciclos naturais. E o pretenso capitalismo “verde”, além de muita publicidade e marketing, significa simplesmente a exploração de novas alternativas de ganhos “politicamente corretos”.

Segundo Lowy, as reformas parciais são insuficientes (mesmo que seja importante lutar por elas, aqui e agora), pois do que se trata é de substituir a racionalidade capitalista baseada no lucro por outra forma de pensar – social e ecológica. Significa lutar para construirmos as bases de uma transição socialista para uma civilização fundada em outro paradigma tecnológico, em fontes de energia não poluentes e renováveis, como a energia eólica e solar.

E essa questão recoloca a tese fundamental de Marx: o controle social dos meios de produção. Atualmente poderíamos dizer que se trata de escolhermos entre que parcela da população mundial (e de que maneira) deve controlar a economia: de forma majoritária e democraticamente; ou através da manutenção do status quo plutocrático. Os 99% de que fala o movimento Ocupe Wall Street (e há mais de uma década, o FSM de Porto Alegre), ou o 1% dos ricos e poderosos do Fórum Econômico Mundial de Davos.

A mudança radical necessária (ao mesmo tempo, revolucionária e democrática) diz respeito não apenas ao controle social da produção, mas também ao consumo, isto é (continuando na lógica de “99% da humanidade”) ao tipo de consumo atual que a maioria da sociedade está habituada, baseado na alienação e no desperdício. Nesse sentido, para a construção de uma nova hegemonia e de uma transição ecossocialista, a luta pela socialização dos meios de produção precisa andar passo a passo com a ampliação e o aprofundamento da consciência ecológica.

Essa transição levaria a humanidade a um novo modo de produção e a uma sociedade igualitária e democrática, fundada em um modo de vida alternativo. Porém, a crise de civilização atual chegou a tal ponto que nos exige agir desde agora. O fato de ser cada vez mais evidente a impossibilidade de “ecologizar” o capitalismo, não significa que não devamos buscar reformas imediatas do sistema.

O combate por reformas ecossociais pode ser portador de uma dinâmica de mudança, de “transição” entre as demandas mínimas e o programa máximo, com a condição de que se recusem os argumentos e as pressões dos interesses dominantes, em nome das “regras do mercado”, da “competitividade” ou da “modernização”.[12]

Dois exemplos de demandas sociais imediatas, mas que apresentam características de “reivindicações de transição” (na melhor tradição do Programa de Transição de Trotsky, que, na década de 1930 denunciava o potencial de barbárie do capitalismo e de seus “subprodutos ideológicos”, o fascismo e o nazismo) e que devem ser fortemente trabalhadas pela esquerda na conjuntura atual: transporte público de qualidade, subsidiado (barato ou gratuito), como alternativa a poluição e ao colapso da mobilidade nas cidades produzido pelo carro individual e por transportes poluentes e inadequados; redução do tempo de trabalho sem diminuição da renda, como resposta ao desemprego e como proposta de sociedade que privilegie o tempo livre em relação à acumulação de bens.

Para Michael Lowy, o combate por uma nova civilização verdadeiramente humana e que respeite a natureza é tarefa do conjunto dos movimentos sociais emancipatórios e antissistêmicos, que precisam associar-se politicamente. Não há mais espaço e nem tempo para sectarismos. Ele destaca essa necessidade imperiosa citando Jorge Riechmann, em seu El socialismo puede llegar solo en bicicleta:

Esse projeto não pode renunciar a nenhuma das cores do arco-íris: nem ao vermelho do movimento operário anticapitalista e igualitário, nem ao violeta das lutas para a libertação da mulher, nem ao branco dos movimentos não violentos para a paz, nem ao antiautoritarismo negro dos libertários e anarquistas, e ainda menos ao verde da luta por uma humanidade justa e livre num planeta habitável.[13]

Nesse início de século XXI, a ecologia tornou-se um dos elementos mais importantes do vasto movimento contra a globalização capitalista neoliberal, tanto no Norte quanto no Sul do planeta. Socialistas e ecologistas devem estar unidos contra a mercantilização do mundo e na defesa do meio ambiente, resistindo à ditadura do capital (através dos mercados e das multinacionais) e construindo alternativas sociais, democráticas e sustentáveis à crise de civilização produzida pela globalização e o imperialismo.

O combate para salvar o meio ambiente, que é necessariamente o combate por uma mudança de civilização, é um imperativo humanista, que diz respeito não apenas a esta ou àquela classe social, mas ao conjunto dos indivíduos.

Esse imperativo concerne às gerações futuras, ameaçadas de receber como herança um planeta que se tornou inabitável, onde é impossível viver, devido à acumulação cada vez mais descontrolada dos estragos causados ao meio ambiente.[14]

O ecossocialismo implica assim em uma ética igualitária e democrática (intergeracional): visa uma redistribuição planetária da riqueza em prol de justiça global, e um desenvolvimento em comum dos recursos naturais, não apenas no presente, mas para as próximas gerações; busca uma democratização das decisões econômicas, que significa que as grandes decisões que incidem na sociedade não são tomadas pelos “mercados” (ou seja, por uma oligarquia de capitalistas e tecnocratas), mas pela própria sociedade, através de processos pluralistas e democráticos.

Em seu recente texto Fundamentos de uma estratégia ecossocialista, o marxista ecologista belga Daniel Tanuro apresenta duas teses consistentes. A primeira tese considera: o fato de que as forças produtivas materiais nos tenham afastado objetivamente de uma alternativa socialista constitui a chave que fundamenta e justifica o novo conceito de eco-socialismo.

A segunda tese sustenta que: (…) a verdade é revolucionária e não se pode ocultar o fato de que a transformação socialista implicará renúncia, e provavelmente em grande medida, a certos bens, serviços e hábitos que impregnam profundamente a vida cotidiana de amplas camadas da população, ao menos nos países capitalistas desenvolvidos. Por isso, há que se por em primeiro lugar os objetivos capazes de compensar esta perda mediante um progresso substancial na qualidade de vida.[15]

Nesse sentido, Tanuro ressalta a luta pela gratuidade dos bens básicos (água, energia, mobilidade), o que implica a ampliação do setor público; e a redução do tempo de trabalho sem diminuição de salário (proposta clássica de Marx, que dizia que “toda economia se reduzia, em última instância, a uma economia de tempo”).

Ambas as teses constituem eixos centrais de uma estratégia ecossocialista, urgente e necessária, para enfrentarmos a crise de civilização capitalista. Pois as características da era atual mostram que as tendências destrutivas do capitalismo, apontadas por Marx, operam agora numa escala global, exigindo a substituição do sistema em crise estrutural (configurando uma crise geral da modernidade) por um novo modo de produção social e ecologicamente sustentável.

Para contribuir na construção dessa estratégia ecossocialista, Jorge Riechmann lembra que o socialismo como sistema social e como modo de produção se define pelo fato do trabalho deixar de ser uma mercadoria e a economia estar a serviço da satisfação igualitária das necessidades humanas (e não da acumulação de capital):

O ecossocialismo agrega às condições anteriores a da sustentabilidade: o modo de produção e a organização social transformam-se para serem ecologicamente sustentáveis. (Não mercantilizar os fatores de produção – natureza, trabalho, capital –…).[16]

Além de propor a desmercantilização do mundo, Riechmann ressalta que o ecossocialismo mantém a luta pela transformação do Estado, negando-se, portanto, a retirar-se da disputa política real. Ele apresenta um conjunto de elementos para um programa de transição pós-capitalista, entre os quais: socialização do sistema de crédito (bancos públicos fortes canalizando recursos para investimentos ecologicamente sustentáveis); reforma fiscal ecológica, com a instauração de um eco-imposto sobre os combustíveis fósseis; distribuição mais igualitária da riqueza e da renda (mediante o aumento da tributação sobre altos rendimentos, o consumo luxuoso e o capital); redução do tempo de trabalho (…) o pleno emprego voltaria a ser um objetivo essencial das políticas econômicas; bens e serviços de qualidade por parte de um setor da economia socializado: energia, transporte, comunicações, moradia, saúde, educação…; fortes restrições à publicidade comercial; infraestruturas para a sustentabilidade: energias renováveis, transporte coletivo, cidades sustentáveis; estratégia de coeficiência; desglobalizar e relocalizar o essencial da produção.[17]

Frente à ditadura financeira dos mercados e a desmedida do capital globalizado (acumulação pela acumulação), o ecossocialismo defende a democracia em todos os níveis (nas palavras de Boaventura de Sousa Santos, uma democracia sem fim). Significa construirmos a transição para uma sociedade onde as grandes decisões sobre produção e consumo sejam tomadas democraticamente pelo conjunto dos cidadãos e cidadãs, de acordo com critérios sociais e ecológicos.

_____________________

[1] Foster, John Bellamy. A ecologia de Marx: materialismo e natureza. Civilização Brasileira, 2005, p. 311

[2] Ibid. p. 223

[3] Marx, Karl. O Capital. Boitempo, 2013, p. 121

[4] Löwy, Michael. Ecologia e socialismo. Cortez Editora, 2005, p. 35

[5] Ibid. p. 37

[6] Ibid. p. 37-38

[7] Ibid. p. 39-40

[8] Ibid. p. 42

[9] Ibid. p. 47

[10] Ibid. p. 48.

[11] Ibid. p. 49-50

[12] Ibid. p. 60.

[13] Ibid. p. 62.

[14] Ibid. p. 73

[15] Tanuro, Daniel. Fundamentos de una estratégia ecossocialista. Viento Sur, 2011 (edição digital – tradução do autor).

[16] Riechmann, Jorge. El ecosocialismo em diez rasgos. Viento Sur, 2012 (edição digital – tradução do autor).

[17] Ibid.

Haja esperança da Cultura!

As questões que afetam o Património e a Cultura, que aqui tem vindo a ser levantadas são complexas e não existem soluções fáceis no campo das políticas públicas.

Após a recuperação da pasta ministerial, muitos pensaram que era possível “regressar ao passado” com políticas públicas conduzidas pelo estado central, com base em orçamentos generosos para os atores culturais.

Escudados nos direitos culturais consagrados no texto constitucional, nas diferentes leis sobre o Património, Museus, Bibliotecas, Arquivos, Teatro, Cinema, Direitos de Autor e Liberdade de Imprensa, os dois campos ideológicos distinguem-se entre os que defendem a “mão” tutelar do Estado, mais ou menos pesada, e a “mão” tutelar do mercado, também ela mais ou menos livre de iniciativas. Evidentemente as combinações são múltiplas. Nem o Estado tem condições financeiras nem recursos humanos para voltar a assumir a “condução” da cultura nacional, nem o mercado cultural tem condições (políticas e culturais) para se assumir como alternativa à governação dos equipamentos culturais.

Não faltam exemplos dos dois extremos. O Caso da paródia do Panteão é o exemplo caricatural do mercado a funcionar onde o património apenas tem um valor de troca, tornando nulo o seu valor simbólico, fora do evento (o pratrimónio torna-se apenas num cenário). Haverá outros até bem mais graves, como sucedeu recentemente no Convento de Tomar, (onde a indignação de poucos morreu) em Foz Côa (que até deu audição parlamentar, sem resultados) ou na Fortaleza de Peniche).

No caso da visão centralizadora da cultura, também não faltarão alguns exemplos, como o exemplo da Rede de Museus, ou mais recentemente a “brilhante” ideia de fazer um split do Museu da Música, levando para Mafra o Bom Tempo, deixando no Palácio Foz o Alfredo Keil e o Vianna da Motta (fica por defenir o lugar do Bernardo Saseti, falando-se está em projeto um terceiro polo em Cintra, ou em Xabregas, nos Armazém do Abel Pereira de Fonseca, aproveitando a dinâmica criada pelo Hub Criativo do Beato  e pela Biblioteca de Marvila, numa pareceria com o turismo de Lisboa para suprir a concentração de museus no centro da cidade).

Mas há boas notícias na cultura. Haja por isso esperança!

Ontem na entrevista à RTP do Ministro do Ambiente, João Matos Fernandes, a propósito das questões da Seca e da escassez de água, para além de ficarmos a saber que a falta de água na Barragem de Fragil, perto de Viseu, resulta da conjugação da falta de precipitação com a retirada de água para pagar os inclementes incêndios do Verão passado (o que prova que “um mal nunca vem só”, como diria o Jerónimo de sousa), Matos Fernandes afirma a dada altura que o Rio Ceira, em Coimbra, vai ser intervencionado (linda palavra criada pelo engenhês) de forma “naturalizada” (outra palavra criada pelos ambientalistas de pacotilha). Isto ér vai ser criado um Museu Vivo .

Ficamos a saber que no governo haja quem tem uma visão,  atual do museus. Talvez numa próxima remodelação se possa solicitar a António Costa  que dê um novo elan ao governo e troque as pastas. Afinal um diplomata dará jeito para negociar as emissões de CO2, CH4 e N2O ( fui aluno do Rómulo de Carvalho no Pedro Nunes), a Matos Fernandes vará dos museus e do património lugares com vida. pois “um museus que não serve para a vida não serve para nada”

PS. Haverá naturalmente que rever a Lei Portuguesa dos Museus para que a categoria de Ecomuseu possa ser considerada, mas isso são detalhes.

Vagas de Globalização XV

3.5 US-led Globalization

What are the characteristics of the 1950-2000 period, according to Professor Sachs?

Have the global extreme poverty rates been declining or rising in the last 27 years?

In our long sweeping history of the ways of globalization we’ve arrived at the moment of U.S. leadership, at the end of World War II. Indeed in 1942, the then-editor of Time Magazine, Henry Luce declared that this would be the American century.

He intuited and he was correct that when the war ended America would become the world’s dominant economic and technological power. When the war ended, indeed the American economy was in remarkable stride, having built massively its industrial capacity to turn out planes and tanks and ships and military weaponry and new technological advances, radar and the early stages of the computer age and the beginnings of the nuclear age with the atomic bomb and with the potential for peaceful nuclear energy, as well. A remarkable moment.

Of course, what would ensue in part would be the Cold War between the U.S.-led world and the Communist world led by the Soviet Union. And while that was a very frightening confrontation that went on for decades, it was never in doubt that from an economic point of view the United States itself was by far economically, financially and technologically dominant. We’re looking here again at Angus Maddison’s data. And if we look at the share of the world economy accounted for by the United States, according to Maddison’s estimate, as of 1950, the U.S. is somewhere between 25% and 30% of world production, at a time when the population share was around 5%.

That means that in per person terms the U.S. roughly five to six times the average for the rest of the world. And indeed that is at least an accurate assessment of U.S. economic predominance. If we look at the red line which is the British Empire, it’s in a steep decline, in no small part because countries like India are simply leaving the empire. And what is happening is that the British Empire, which had been around one-quarter of world output as of 1870, by 1950 was already under 10% and would fall to less than 5% because basically it became the United Kingdom itself.

What we see is a kind of scissors curve if I might. The U.S. in its ascendancy and the U.K. or the British Empire, I should say, dissolving and a hand of the baton in this Anglo-American world from Britain which predominated, invented the modern industrial age, quite literally, presided over it for a century and a half, in effect handing the baton to the United States for U.S. leadership. And in many ways the U.S. performed very, very well, at least for a time, because the U.S. led the creation of extremely important institutions, especially the United Nations institutions.

The U.S. pressed, and I think wisely, for an opening of global trade for several rounds of reduced trade barriers, for an opening of flows of productive capital, business investment around the world. And for decolonization. So the U.S. was not interested in the continuance of the British Empire, or the French Empire. It did, of course, look forward to U.S. prerogatives. And while not empire in the formal sense of direct political control, certainly the U.S. had no reserve in exercising whatever political suasion and often brutal destabilizing, covert actions and open war to get its way.

So the U.S. did many things well in creating more of a law-bound international system around the United Nations, but also took on many of the features that Britain had carried as world leader, one could say as the predominant power, with quasi-imperial prerogatives if not direct imperial prerogatives. And the many secret wars and overt wars that the U.S. fought to overthrow governments, to destabilize regimes, to try to find locals who would play to the U.S. interest, is if not direct imperialism, certainly is what we have seen throughout history of powerful countries cynically and rather brutally exercising their prerogatives against weaker nations.

It’s very much a mixed picture. One of the most important features of the half century from 1950 to the present is the end of European direct imperial rule. The unwinding of the British Empire, the end of Portuguese, Spanish, French imperial rule in many parts of the world. Often this was peacefully undertaken by agreement, by negotiation. Sometimes only after brutal wars of liberation fought by nationals who resented, understandably, the imperial rule from outside. Overall, this was a tremendous change in a short period of time. It’s another example of how fast global change can be. And the idea of decolonization spread with a contagion that was remarkable throughout Africa, throughout Asia.

What started in a handful of countries became absolutely within a few years a global and virtually unstoppable movement, even when tragically the imperial powers fought a rear guard war to stop it or slow it down.

In my opinion, the end of the imperial age had a major effect on the start of diffusion of industrialization to more and more of the world. And there are many reasons for that. If I had to put my thumb on one point of that I would say it is that the imperial powers delayed, dreadfully, the uptake of mass education, mass literacy, mass numeracy and the job skills needed to manage a modern high-tech economy. And it was only after the end of the imperial rule and only after decolonization that many countries throughout Africa and throughout Asia began mass primary education for literacy because the industrial powers did not do it. And I think it’s a major blot on their historical record that they left populations without education. Also, I should mention, without any decent healthcare, without infrastructure till the end of the colonial period.

One of the ramifications of this is that overall global growth accelerated. In the first half of the 20th Century worldwide growth, using Maddison’s estimates, was about 2% per year. In the second half of the 20th Century, from 1950 to 2000, aggregate global growth was on the order of 4.6% per year. More than twice the rate. And in my view, it was the change of governance. Of course, also peace at a global scale. No more global wars. No great depression.

But the change of governance certainly played a major role because this allowed for the first time the diffusion of knowledge, literacy, education, job skills, and investments in infrastructure necessary for the spread of a modern industrial economy.

We turned, therefore, from an era of divergence to an era of convergence. Divergence means that the rich are getting richer faster than the poor are getting richer. So even if the poor are gaining, they’re not gaining in proportionate terms as fast as the rich. So the gap is widening. Convergence means that even if the rich are getting richer, as they continued to do after 1950, the poor are closing the gap. They’re gaining ground at a faster proportionate rate so that the relative income between rich and poor is, the gap is narrowing.

And that is what one sees in the picture before you that per capita income of the rich countries relative to the poor countries widens and then it begins to decline as we move into the age of convergence.

How would I characterize the fifty years from 1950 to the year 2000? I would say that the U.S. was predominant during this period. I would say that decolonization was a fundamental geopolitical force. I would say that convergence began. And I would say that we enjoyed the benefits of yet another wave of massive technological breakthrough, this time, the information revolution.

The information revolution is a big complicated ecosystem of technologies. It’s computation, it’s the internet, it’s mobile connectivity. It’s digitization. It’s many, many technologies. But all of it is around the machine-based ability to harness, to manipulate, to store and to transmit information. And the information revolution now is 80 to 90 years old. The great conceptual inventors were Alan Turing of the 1930s, who invented a lot of the most basic concepts of computation. And John von Neumann, another great, brilliant mind of the 20th Century who did many, many things, but one of which was to help design the architecture of the modern computer.

And from their discoveries came the computer age. And from discoveries of solid state physics and advances in knowledge of semiconductor materials came the discovery of the transistor in the late 1940s at Bell Labs. And when computers and transistors came together, came the computation revolution of the 1960s and ‘70s.

And then personal computation, with advances, one spilling to the next with personal computers, with mobile connectivity, with the invention of the internet, with the increasing, burgeoning range of digitization and advances of technology. The pace of technological advance of the information age certainly rivals the major breakthroughs of the past.

The information revolution certainly stands at that level of world changing technology. And one of the things that makes the information revolution so remarkable is not only its speed, but the pace of its diffusion. We see here in this picture the uptake of mobile telephony, the number of subscribers of mobile phones from around 20,000 at the inception of the mobile telephony age in 1980 to more than seven billion subscribers today. And now, of course, we have not only people speaking with each other on their mobiles, but we have the internet of things in which sensors and intelligent machines, smart systems are speaking to each other with numbers reaching soon into the tens of billions of connected devices.

This is a technology that doesn’t follow a particular ecological niche like a new crop. The mobile connectivity in the internet are universal applications. And they’re reaching into every ecology, every part of the world and they are thereby transforming the whole world economy. This age of convergence has made possible a dramatic decline of poverty rates. So much so that it has become a goal of the world community to end extreme poverty. Now mind you, at the start of the fifth wave of globalization, back in 1800, best estimates are 80% to 90% of the world lived in extreme poverty. But because of the mass diffusion of modern technology, the information age, the new age of sovereignty, where countries have the scope to pursue their economic development, we’re seeing a dramatic decline of poverty rates.

In 2005, I wrote a book called The End of Poverty where I said, it was within the reach of our generation, if we try, to end poverty by 2025. That’s a pretty tough timetable right now because we haven’t tried quite hard enough. But nonetheless even in our distracted manner, the estimate by the World Bank is that extreme poverty has declined from 37% of the world population in 1990 to an estimate of just 9.6% of the world population as of 2015. This has been, therefore, an era of a lot of progress.

Thank god we have not had a global conflict, although unfortunately as the powerful country, the United States itself has caused far too many conflicts as it has used its power and its military sway to destabilize and topple other countries, often to disastrous effect. Of course, not just the U.S., but many countries have engaged in useless and mindless wars, but in the final module I’m going to emphasize how we have entered another period of turbulence and uncertainty.

A period that has enormous promise because of this vast and dynamic and thrilling scientific and technological revolution that continues to unfold. But also a period that is profoundly dangerous and really requires us by direction, by conscious effort at a global scale to enter yet a new wave of globalization. With our economic prowess and heavy resource use, including of course the massive fossil fuel energy that we have deployed in building and operating the modern world economy, we’ve created an environmental threat that is unprecedented in human history.

We live in a time of such technological knowhow that everybody’s needs and opportunities can be fulfilled. And yet we are often creating societies of vast gaps between the rich and the poor and widening gaps and vast inequalities of power in our decision-making. This is of course a threat to our well-being and a threat to our social stability. So what kinds of institutions, what kinds of governance do we need for the sixth wave of globalization? Stay tuned, that’s my topic for the final module.

Vagas de Globalização XIV

3.4 The European Immolation and Decolonization

What was the reason behind World War I? What does Professor Sachs say was the true motivation?

What happened with the lands of the former Ottoman Empire after World War I? What was Britain’s role there?

I’ve been discussing in this module the industrial age, calling it the fifth wave of globalization. A most remarkable, unique period of human history. I have emphasized that for three-quarters of these two centuries, for the period roughly from 1800 to 1950, one could justly call this the age of Britain, or as it was sometimes called Pax Britannica, or as it was sometimes said, the sun never sets on the British Empire.

Britain really was the dominant power, the home of industrialization. The possessor of the greatest empire in the world. A truly global reach. A creator of the modern global industrial world economy. The creator of modern global finance. And seemingly, in an unassailable position as the owner of by far, the world’s most powerful navy, going into the early years of the 20th Century. But I’ve emphasized repeatedly how fast circumstances can change. And one must account the thirty year period from 1914 to 1945 as one of the greatest disasters ever to afflict humanity.

It began with World War I. And then at the end of World War I, with a peace agreement, the Treaty of Versailles, that was in the words of its proponents supposed to be the war to end all war by a just peace. But to later historians became known as the peace to end all peace, because the agreements at the end of World War I were so horrendous that Europe did not recover its economic vitality, conflicts within Europe remained intense at the political and diplomatic level. And the instability, economically, eventually was a major cause of a profound economic collapse which we now call the Great Depression, which began in 1929 and was so destabilizing politically that it brought to power the most villainous regime of modern history, perhaps of all history, the Nazi regime in Germany and Hitler, which then led to the Second World War in the late 1930s and only ending in 1945.

In other words, from 1914 to 1945, at the very center of the world economy, among the titans of industrialization, the owners of world imperialism, was the bloodiest thirty years of self-destruction imaginable. Not only were tens of millions of innocents brutally murdered during this period, but the cataclysms that followed from this thirty years of war continue to reverberate till today.

We’re one full century after the onset of World War I. And truth be told, there is no explanation of this war. There is a chronology.

Historians can do what’s called the tick-tock of this war, who said what, who responded what, how did this happen?

But for a deep motivation, almost impossible to find. We know, of course, the scenario. We know the basic chronology that the Archduke of the Habsburg Empire was killed by separatists, in a terrorist act in Sarajevo in Bosnia, which was part of the Habsburg rule The Habsburgs responded in part with the prodding of Germany to Serbia, which was viewed as the state harboring and encouraging the terrorism, to make concessions to the Habsburgs that the Serbians would not make.

When they rejected the demands of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Habsburg Empire, the Austrians declared war. Russia, as a protector of Serbia, mobilized to protect Serbia against the oncoming clash with the Habsburgs.

And Germany, both fearing and antagonistic to Russia and defending Austria and among German, some German leaders, desiring war, mobilized and launched a war knowing that as Russia went to war, Russia’s allies, Britain and France would also mobilize. And so Germany was the immediate progenitor of a war that it suddenly faced on both borders. To the east, in a war with the Romanov Empire of Russia, and to the west in yet another war with France and with France’s ally, Britain.

Europe was suddenly engulfed in war. And as we know, this was truly the first industrial war with aerial bombing, with machine guns, with tanks, with submarines. The full miracle of industrialization put to the destruction of human beings. And 20 million people perished in the war. Near the third year of the war America got pulled into the war. America by this time had become the largest industrial power. The president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, thought he would make this the war to end all wars. A war of justice. A war with a decent peace. This proved to be utterly naïve and a disastrous failure. Instead of what might have been a stalemate and a return to peace, what happened with America’s entry into World War I was the completely defeat of Germany.

And with the defeat of Germany, the overthrow of the the Prussian imperial house and profound instability in Germany. What also happened because of Germany’s complete defeat were peace terms imposed by France that proved to be so harsh as to destabilize Germany, not harsh enough to utterly end Germany’s possibility of recovery.

And that ironic middle position ended up with destabilization of Germany, claims by Hitler and others that Germany had been stabbed in the back by its enemies in its defeat in World War I and the grounds for a horrendously vicious regime to come back to power in the 1930s.

You had four empires collapsing. The Prussian Empire brought to an end through its defeat. The Romanov Empire stretched to the limit by war and then overthrown in revolution, first in early 1917, and then by the Bolsheviks in the November Revolution in 1917, bringing to power the Bolsheviks, and eventually leading to the Soviet Communist state. You had the Habsburg Empire which was a multinational empire throughout the Balkan region. And you had the Turkish Empire, the Ottoman Empire with the, it’s capital in Istanbul but with territories not only in what is today’s Turkey, but also of course in the Middle East and in parts of North Africa that also came crashing down because the Ottomans sided with the Habsburgs and with the German state and all were defeated in the end. In the peace that followed, so-called peace, the victorious powers not only imposed harsh conditions, but Britain and France saw their way to further imperial possessions.

For example, carving up the former Ottoman lands into what are today’s Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and creating a new state under British tutelage, Saudi Arabia. We are still fighting the wars caused by the artificial and cynical creation of imperial dominated new states after the end of the Ottoman rule. And the artificiality of those states, the cynicism of Britain aiming to capture the oil in Mosul and in what is now Iraq and the oil politics that continued from Britain until today is part of the unrest that we still absolutely suffer from in the Middle East.

So the war solved nothing except the dislocation of all of the political organization of Europe, the former Ottoman lands, the Middle East and Russia itself and all the way into central Asia.

The economies did not recover. As the great economist John Maynard Keynes predicted in his famous polemic, The Economic Consequences of The Peace, published as a protest of the Treaty of Versailles, the instability of this harsh peace would prevent an economic recovery.

The prevailing gold standard that had been put back in place in the years after World War I could not sustain its role as the financial base for these economies. The depression widened, the banks failed. At the end of January 1933, with Germany having 25% unemployment, in moratorium on its debt servicing, the aged President Hindenburg appointed a new chancellor, Adolf Hitler, and that set Germany and tragically the world back to a path of war as Germany remilitarized and Hitler with his evil and crazy idea that Germany had to capture lands in the east in order to feed itself, envious of the imperial possessions that its European rivals had, feeling that Germany needed its own empire, that it would grab by killing the Jews and the Slavs and capturing lands to the east, was a motivating idea of Hitler on the way to World War II.

World War II broke out formally in Europe on September 1, 1939 with the invasion by both Germany and the Soviet Union of Poland.

And of course a full onslaught and the Holocaust of the Jews and others ensued during those six years. War by the fascist regime of Japan took place with Japan’s invasion of China. And then Japanese militarism throughout Asia and its attack on the United States. The world was in flames. In one of the most remarkable statements by Winston Churchill fighting against fascism, Churchill called on the New World to come save the Old World from the fascist onslaught. And Franklin Roosevelt, the president of the United States heeded that call. But in the statecraft that followed the industrial power of the United States came to the rescue, while the Soviet Union was fighting and losing millions on the battlefield, America’s industrial might soared.

And America took specific actions to essentially say, when we win this war at the end, it will be America that will be running the show, no longer the British Empire or the French Empire or others. This brings us to the end of this phase the history of this fifth wave and that is that by the end of World War II, of course fascism had been defeated. The U.S. was by far the most powerful economy in the world.

It had been attacked in the homeland only one time, on December 7, 1941 in Japan’s attack at Pearl Harbor. But for the rest of the war, America was not directly attacked in its home base. Rather its industry built to proportions never seen before, while Europe was in a process of destruction, as was so much of Asia, as well.

This meant that at the end of World War II there was one economy, the United States, which perhaps at that point represented even 45% or 50% of worldwide industrial production, just one country with roughly 5% of the world’s population, but half of the industrial production in the world.

It was the sole owner for a very brief period of time of the new atomic bomb, which America had used twice in the war against Japan in the summer of 1945. Britain was so gravely weakened that it could not hold onto empire and within just a couple of years of the end of World War II, under the strong call for independence in India, Britain ceded the “crown jewel” of the British Empire, India, which became India and Pakistan and the British Empire was on a path of rapid dissolution so that Britain would go from worldwide empire in a short period of time back to United Kingdom.

And this was a remarkable and rapid unraveling. The U.S. stood supreme. The U.S. did many wise things at the end of World War II, the most important of which was to champion a new United Nations, succeeding after the failed League of Nations, which failed in part because the United States itself had not joined the League of Nations after World War I, but would become the creator and sponsor of the United Nations after World War II. We entered therefore, a 50-year period of American global preeminence and that is my subject in the next chapter.

Vagas de Globalização XIII

3.3 High European Imperialism

What was the Concert of Europe?

What is meant by the Age of Divergence?

I’m discussing the fifth wave of globalization, industrial globalization of the 19th and 20th centuries. An amazing period, unprecedented economic advance, unprecedented reductions of poverty, unprecedented development and diffusion of technologies. An era of economic growth that we had never seen before in history and it has spread worldwide. We’re talking about the dynamics of that spread. And the diffusion of industrialization within Europe and around the world.

Here is a map of European empires around the year 1800. What we see here is that France and Britain, Spain, Portugal to a small extent have their empires in the Americas.

The Russian Empire has expanded throughout the northern part of the Eurasian land mass and in tropical Africa, and in south Asia and southeast Asia the European powers are beginning to establish local presence and local coastal, typically, colonies, but are not yet in full imperial control of nations.

In India, for example, the East India Company of Britain has carved out de facto sovereign control of parts of India, but this is control nominally by a private company, in fact, increasingly by the British state itself, but not full control of Britain over India as would occur as of the middle of the 19th Century in 1857-1858 when the British Raj in India began to rule.

 

And in Africa, notably, one can see from this map that Africa was not colonized as of 1800. It was poor. It was weak. It was subjected to the global slave trade still. But it was not colonized. Why is that?

Well, one major reason was that the disease epidemiology of Africa, especially the burden of malaria, was so great that it was a protective barrier against European domination. In Africa, malaria killed vast numbers of children, but those who survived childhood had adult immunity.

Whereas an adult, for instance, a sailor or military official from Europe coming to Africa as an adult, of course would have no acquired immunity against malaria. They might be able to survive right on the coast, especially if the mosquito burden is not very high, with mosquitoes being the vector or the transmitter of malaria, but when Europeans went inside, beyond the coast, into the interior, the death rates were startling.

Sometimes forts would be left and when they were revisited a year later, all of the Europeans would have died of malaria or other vector borne tropical diseases during that period. West Africa was known as the graveyard of Europeans. And remember, those diseases were killing Africans also, but mainly children, because repeated bouts of malaria led to, for those who survive, an acquired immunity as adults.

Within Europe itself, when Napoleon was finally defeated at Waterloo and definitively exiled, the powers that had united to defeat him, Britain, Prussia, Russia and Austria, the Habsburg Empire, created a mechanism which proved to be by and large rather effective for a century at keeping the peace within Europe. And this system became known as the Concert of Europe. It’s often associated with the foreign minister of the Habsburg empire of the day, Metternich, who was one of the orchestrators of this balance of power politics. The idea is that the major countries would take care to prevent domination by any individual power as Napoleon had aspired to create and thereby, there would be a balance of power that would prevent domination by any one single power, and thereby keep the The 19th Century by and large within Europe was relatively peaceful compared with earlier centuries, compared with the Thirty Years War between the Catholics and the Protestants of 1620 to 1648, for example, and the bloody wars of the 18th Century.

Yes, there were wars in Europe. One can mention the Crimean War which was a war which pitted Russia as an expanding power in the Crimean region, resisted by Britain and by France in that case. And one should definitely mention the wars that created the German Empire, the German state, that were masterminded by Bismarck. And the wars of unification of the Italian states, so the creation of Italy and Germany from a large number of principalities and free cities and different regions owned by different monarchical powers throughout Europe to a unified Italy and a unified Germany. Those were created by wars, but those were limited wars.

Those were not European-wide wars, they were territorial wars. As the rest of Europe followed Britain’s lead and became industrial powers in their own might, they also followed Britain’s lead to become empires in their own right. So while this was a peaceful period relatively speaking within Europe, it was by no means a peaceful period for the rest of the world.

Fast forward to the world as it existed on the eve of World War I, we’re looking at the map of world empires in 1914 now and it’s useful to compare it with what we looked at before. Remember the map of 1800, the European powers had tiny footholds in Africa. Now look at Africa, it is completely colonized with tiny exceptions. Not tiny for them, but compared to the map of Africa. Ethiopia, still an independent power. It has resisted up to then the attempts by Italy to colonize Ethiopia. And in West Africa, Liberia is not a possession of a European imperial power. But the rest is. What happened?

How did Africa succumb to European imperial rule? The story is that it was dramatic and relatively sudden. There were encroachments along the coasts, expanding colonies, in the first half of the 19th Century, but malaria as well as other barriers stopped a full assault of the European powers.

By the second half of the 19th Century, European military prowess had increased dramatically as a result of industrialization. Machine guns, more powerful artillery, more powerful riflery, also because of scientific advances, Europe, starting with Britain discovered the path to safety from malaria found within the bark of a tree in, grown in South America. And it turned out the cinchona tree had a chemical that eventually was identified as quinine that was protective against malaria and curative.

And this was known to indigenous populations who used a mate, a kind of tea infusion of this bark, as an antipyretic in Peru. That means an anti-fever medicine. The British in their imperial escapades both learned about this, stole the plants and the seeds, started to cultivate quinine, learned to put it in tonic water and invented the great anti-malarial, gin and tonic, which became the drink of empire because now literally imbibing quinine or quinine as it’s sometimes called was a protection against malaria.

Suddenly, with increased military power, with the opening of profitable mines, with the discovery of diamonds and gold in parts of Africa, Europe swarmed in and had at least relative protection against this disease that had protected Africa from European imperial rule.

By then, in the age of high imperialism the Europeans were indeed very polite and very diplomatic to themselves. You’re looking now at a picture of European diplomats sitting around the table in Berlin, in 1884-85, in the Conference of Berlin, where very politely as you see the map on the wall, the European powers, to avoid any conflict among themselves drew the lines that would divide Africa among the European powers.

Look closely, you will not see any African faces at the table. This was purely a European affair. But Africa was divided, brutally, in a brutally racist manner, in a brutally exploitative manner by the European powers.

And that is why when we look at the map of the world in 1914, we find now that Africa is almost entirely imperialized by these industrial powers of Europe. We can see the same in many other parts of the world. Each one has its story, usually its bloody story. But of course, India succumbed fully to British rule. After 1882 Egypt in effect became part of the British Empire. Southeast Asia was divided among European powers. Indochina became part of the French Empire. And on and on it went.

This is what economists call the Age of Divergence. It’s almost a reprise of Adam Smith talking about the vast differential of power so that globalization enriched one part of the world and impoverished another part of the world. And this is a big part of the story that we see at the end of the 19th Century. This meant that during the period of high European imperial rule industrialization could not gain a foothold in most of what we call today’s developing world. No fault of their own, no fault of governments or institutions other than the institution of European imperialism itself.

The reach of Britain was primus inter pares, the first among equals one could say of the European powers. The British Empire truly had a global reach. This is a map showing not the British Empire at one moment of time, but all of the parts of the world where at some point the territory was part of the British Empire. The reach is absolutely vast throughout North America. Of course in Ireland, throughout Africa, the Middle East, south Asia, Oceania, the British Empire and the unique power of the British navy were extraordinary.

Some historians have noted the remarkable arrogance and ferocity that went along with this. The claim is that the very few areas shown in white in the map, mainly landlocked areas far from the coast are the only places where Britain did not at some point have an expeditionary force or a military incursion or fight a battle or make an invasion or claim an empire. This was the British age, from 1800 to 1950, roughly speaking.

The age of high European imperialism, but it was the age in which Britain really ruled the roost and the British navy sailed the seas, kept the sea lanes open, especially for worldwide trade that fed British industry. Britain’s financial center financed the world in a most remarkable way. And one would have looked as indeed observers did in 1910 or even up to July 1914 to believe that this was the definitive state of the world.

Vagas de Globalização XII

3.2 The Next Comers: US, Germany, Japan and the Rest

Which are the two diffusion channels of industrialization that Professor Sachs presents?

Were countries subdued to European imperialism able to industrialize rather quickly or did imperialism itself create a barrier for those countries to catch up?

We’re discussing the fifth wave of globalization, the industrial era, roughly from 1800 to our time right now, roughly two centuries. And my point of view is that this is the Anglo-American-led age. The Industrial Revolution begins in England, actually it begins in Scotland to be more precise, in Glasgow University, with James Watt’s improvement of Newcomen’s steam engine.

But it is an English and a British development, and of course, Britain becomes the primary power of the world because it becomes the first modern industrial economy. It becomes overwhelmingly urban, already in the 19th Century. It becomes a powerhouse militarily. Its navy dominates the world’s oceans. And because of the British navy, there is also trade throughout sea lanes of global supply chains reaching around the world.

We can use Angus Maddison’s estimates of output in different parts of the world to get a sense of how dominant the British Empire, and more generally, what I’ll call the Anglo-American world, became because industrialization started within Britain and spread to the British Empire, at least important parts of it, and also to other areas that were either part of the British Empire or closely associated with it.

So for our purposes, I’ll define the British Empire to mean Britain and its colonial possessions, Ireland, India, Egypt and others that were part of the British Empire. And in the broader Anglo-American world, I want to include the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, areas that at some point were part of the British Empire, later on, independent countries, part of the Commonwealth, but what Angus Maddison calls the western offshoots, but what really could be called the British offshoots. If one uses Maddison’s estimates, the British Empire itself as of 1820 had as a share of the world economy around 5% of world output.

Of course, the empire itself was still very limited and Britain as a part of the world economy was still mostly in its pre-industrial era. By 1870, the British Empire is the world leader. By then, India has become part of the British Empire, after 1857. That’s about a quarter of the world’s population. And Britain itself has become the great industrial power.

By 1870 the British Empire is around one-fourth of the whole world output. And if one adds in the growing economies of the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, one adds about 10% more of world output. So the Anglo-American world as of 1870 is roughly a third of the total world output. Almost 35% of the total. This share will continue to rise.

The Anglo-American world, especially now powered by a surging North American economy and especially U.S. industrialization after the U.S. Civil War and in the final decades of the 19th Century, means that by 1913, there’s no doubt that the world is an Anglo-American world with about 40% of world output emanating either from the British Empire or from the British offshoots of North America and Oceania, especially the United States.-

As of 1913, Britain was undoubtedly the conductor of this whole Anglo-American orchestra, if you will. I say that because Britain itself was an industrial powerhouse, because the city of London, meaning the financial center, was also the indisputable financial center of the world, because insurance and banking, finance, flows of currency, the central role of the pound sterling were all indisputable.

And one could probably hardly imagine a world in which Britain was not the dominant power. Of course, France had its empire and Germany had a new empire. And the United States, a late-comer after closing the American frontier as it were, meaning pushing the indigenous populations aside and making a continental-scale economy looked out at the end of the 19th century and said, well where can we create an empire?

And quickly decided, we’ll take some of the Spanish colonies, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Philippines and we’ll start our own empire, by golly. And so America began its imperial expansion, as well. Well as of 1913, this Anglo-American world was dominant, but huge changes were of course about to happen, because I pick 1913 as the eve of one of the great cataclysms of history, the onset of World War I, 1914.

And not just World War I and the utter shocking, industrial-scale destruction and loss of life of World War I, unprecedented in history, but all of the disasters that continued after that. Let us instead now return to the 19th Century to ask how does this unfolding of the industrial age look from a more global point of view?

Remember the basic idea, innovation and diffusion. Britain becomes an industrial power. Innovation begins as a British innovation and then it begins to diffuse. On the horizontal axis is the distance of the European countries from London. To calculate this I took the capital cities of other countries of Europe and just took the direct, shortest path from London to capital city.

What is shown on the vertical axis is the year in which that country first surpasses an income threshold of $2000 per person as measured in the system of Angus Maddison, which is a unit of international pricing in 1990 prices. What’s important for our purpose here is that the vertical axis measures basically the calendar year in which each country in Europe begins to take off economically.

All the countries are poor at the start of the industrial age. Britain as well. Then this great set of innovations occurs. Income per capita starts to rise in Britain as the first industrial economy. And as it rises, businesses Britain start looking out and saying, we should invest in our neighborhood, or, we should sell steam engines in France or in Belgium. We should help open up coal mines in other countries. And of course, entrepreneurs in those countries and government officials looking at Britain, say, we’re falling far behind, we need to promote industrialization in our own countries lest we become so weak militarily that we can no longer defend ourselves.

The innovation lifts Britain to unprecedented levels of output per capita and other countries relatively speaking, and so what ensues throughout Europe in the 19th century is a catching-up process. Countries begin to industrialize. They industrialize by attracting investment, by entrepreneurs saying, we’ll develop or take on the factory technology, we’ll buy Watt steam engines. We’ll buy the industrial machinery that is propelling Britain’s industrial revolution. We will innovate because France and Germany and other countries through their own university systems and their commercial enterprises become innovators, realizing that there are now new rounds of technological advance that are possible.

The closer you are to London, the faster is your industrialization. Industrialization proceeds like a spreading wave. Drop a pebble in a still lake and you get a circle, a wave that spreads with a  widening concentric circle. Drop an Industrial Revolution into England and what you get is a spreading wave of industrialization, the first industrializers are the countries closest to Britain. They are Belgium and France and The Netherlands. And then the wave spreads and the next round of countries Germany, for example, northern Italy begin to industrialize.

Then, a generation later, the wave spreads further and the Scandinavian countries begin to industrialize. Spain, which is a laggard, farther away begins to industrialize. Industrialization begins in central Europe, in what is today the Czech Republic and Slovakia. So this fascinating graph shows that proximity, geographical proximity, is a key feature of diffusion of innovation in general; that we’ve known for thousands of years.

And it proved to be a key feature of diffusion of industrialization as well. As that wave spread it spread preferentially to those places with coal, because coal was the energy source for the Industrial Revolution. So Germany, with it’s great coal deposits, became an early industrializer.

Of course, proximity was not the only issue of transformation, there were many other channels by which industrialization could proceed. And many other pathways by which industrialization was blocked.

For example, America, being so close to what was the mother land until very recently, England, sharing a common language, sharing an ancestry, family links, made it possible for many inventors in the United States in the early days of the Republic to take on the industrial innovations of England and begin a very early process of industrialization in the United States. Common language, common cultural, common heritage, shared family, made it possible to have that diffusion. ~

Another way that diffusion worked most rapidly is when the ecological setting of Britain could be found in different areas of the world. Britain is a temperate zone, mid-latitude geography. And it has its wheat farming and barley and other temperate zone crops. Its mixed animal husbandry with a large dairy and beef eating population. So in other places in the world with similar climate and ecology, it was possible to transfer British technological knowhow readily.

And one place that’s notable for that were the countries of Argentina and Uruguay, which though across the Atlantic and in South America, on the other side of the equator are temperate zone economies where it was possible to grow wool, possible to grow cattle, to create a meat industry, and now with the new ocean shipping, possible actually with later technological developments to create refrigerated ocean steamers and create a worldwide meat exporting industry based in the pampas of Argentina with industry financed from London, based in Buenos Aires to create a quite wealthy economy by the end of the 19th Century. One can study the diffusion of the Industrial Revolution worldwide.

And the summary conclusions are first, industrialization spread first in Europe and in the British offshoots: Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand.

Second, advances of income spread most easily where there was a possibility of sharing technology, whether in agriculture or in industry. And so temperate zone settings like Uruguay and Argentina, or New Zealand for massive wool production, were able to become part of the British-made worldwide industrial economy early on.

Most other countries had to wait a long time before they reached the ability to harness the Industrial Revolution. It took ideas, a fertile ground both in the physical, literal sense of adequate agricultural production, often requiring local coal deposits to create local industry because shipping coal until later in the 19th Century was too expensive. And a national leadership that was able and interested in implementing institutional changes to create the groundwork for an Industrial Revolution.

In Asia this happened in precisely one place, in the 19th Century and that is Japan. When Japan was threatened by the military might of the newly industrialized powers of Europe and the United States, when literally the U.S. sent naval vessels into the Tokyo Bay in 1853 to demand concessions from Japan, Japan experienced a rapid political change, really a revolution, where the revolutionary leader said, we will not lose sovereignty, rather we will industrialize.

And Japan invented a kind of catching-up industrialization in a revolutionary manner that goes under the banner of the Meiji Restoration. This is a term for the political change in 1868 which brought to power modernizers of Japan to end the feudal era, open up Japan to the world, but especially, to attract technology and to train Japanese engineers to run Japanese factories, to industrialize Japan. And this succeeded.

Japan became the industrial economy at the end of the 19th Century. So much so that Japan embarked on its own imperial adventures at that point, in winning wars with China and winning wars with Russia in 1905. Becoming the imperial power in what is today’s Taiwan and in Korea, Japan showed its industrial might.

Alas, it seems to go with the territory, get rich and then go out and conquer somebody. But this was the history of so many of the industrial powers in Europe, the United States, Japan during this period. Most of the rest of the world would not industrialize until the 20th Century. Some parts of the world, not even throughout the course of the 20th Century.

One main fact that I want to close with is when regions succumbed to European imperialism so that they were no longer sovereign, no longer masters of their own fate, this almost invariably blocked catching-up growth.

Because when Britain or France or Italy or Portugal or Germany or the United States or Japan became the colonial masters, then the countries that were in the subservient position were not in a position to invest in education, skill-building, or the promotion of industry to compete with the already industrialized powers. So imperial rule which became the rule of the 19th Century for much of the world was itself a fundamental barrier to catching up by the countries that fell under the machinery and the heavy weight of the European imperial powers.

Vagas de Globalização XI

3: The Anglo-American World: 1800-2000

In the third week of the course, Professor Sachs talks about the fifth wave of globalization: the Industrial Revolution or the Anglo-American Revolution. We learn that global transformation during this period happened faster, deeper and more extensively than ever before.

Professor Sachs highlights the development of the steam engine in 1776 as the invention that sparked economic growth and supported population growth during the following 200 years and more. Professor Sachs lists the factors that contributed to Britain becoming the first industrial society. From Britain, industrialization spread to other parts of the world; in this week we look at the channels by which this occurred and at the pathways by which the industrialization process was blocked. Professor Sachs presents the process by which the European imperial period ended and how Britain went from being the greatest imperial power to being the United Kingdom again. World War I and World War II destabilized Europe and imperialism.

The US came to be the largest economy of the world after World War II and a US- led globalization followed. This period was characterized by the spread of decolonization, the diffusion of industrialization to more countries, the acceleration of global output growth. A period of convergence in which the information revolution transformed the whole world economy.

3.1 James Watt Changes the World

What are Kondratiev waves and how are they related to the term “endogenous economic growth”?

Why, according to what Professor Sachs explains, was the existence of patent rights in Britain key to Britain becoming the first industrial economy?

In this module, we’re going to talk about the fifth wave of globalization, the one that created the world we live in, the Industrial Age. This is a period of transformation. Faster, deeper, more extensive than ever before in history. Everything has changed about how we live. Two hundred years ago almost everybody lived in rural areas. Most people were farmers. Almost everybody was poor. Roughly speaking, we can take as our starting point the beginning of the 19th Century.

But I think accurately we might take another date as our real starting point. One could argue that 1776 is the appropriate date. Now if you’re an American, you’d say oh yes, the war of independence, Declaration of Independence and that’s not what I have in mind. If you’re an economist you say, I know what you mean, that’s The Wealth of Nations, the year that Adam Smith’s great book was published.

Well that, that is a good candidate, but that’s actually not what I have in mind. If you’re an historian you’d say, I know what you have in mind, that’s when Gibbon published The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

That’s actually not what I have in mind either. If you are an engineer or an economic historian, you’ll know that this was the year that Boulton and Watt brought James Watt’s steam engine to the marketplace. Around 1776, James Watt developed his steam engine.

And I will argue that this was really the great invention of the Industrial Age, the one that set off 200 years plus now of rapid economic growth, unprecedented in human history and in many ways made the fifth wave of globalization what it is.

When Isaac Newton was asked how he could accomplish his brilliant mind-boggling insight into nature, he explained, if I see farther, it’s because I stand on the shoulder of giants. And one could say that Watt, who is a giant of technological innovation, also stood on the shoulder of others. And one in particular is Thomas Newcomen.

One could say, really invented the steam engine. Not the one, that really made possible the Industrial Revolution, but certainly the one that made possible James Watt’s steam engine less than a century later. Thomas Newcomen was an inventor and a proto-engineer before that term was used, who observed in the early years of the 18th Century, the problem of coal mining shafts filling with water. And so coal mines needing to be pumped of the water so that they could continue to be mined.

And he put his very creative mind to work to create an engine that could pump the water from coal mines. What were coal mines and coal useful for, for Britain? Coal essentially was used for heating at the time. It was burned in the cold climate in the winter months in England. And it was beginning to be used in metallurgy. But ironically, coal became the input for an engine, first to pump water out of coal mines, and then later for everything.

For transportation in locomotives, for industrial development and that’s what made possible the full Industrial Revolution. But I’m getting ahead of the story. Newcomen developed his engine. It was deployed in coal mines.

It wasn’t very efficient. It used a lot of energy. It was not used for other applications. And James Watt, at the university in Glasgow, put his mind to work thinking about how it might possible to make Newcomen’s steam engine more efficient.

Quite brilliantly, Watt made two great innovations to Newcomen’s engine. One was the nature of the translation of steam energy into motion. Watt introduced a rotary motion into a steam engine rather than an alternating beam that Newcomen had used. So a pump that went up and down. Watt introduced rotary, a motion which was fantastic for turning the machinery in factories.

But Watt did something even more important for the history of the world economy and that was he noticed a way to make Newcomen’s steam engine far more energy efficient. Technically, he took the cylinder in which the water was heated to make steam, which pushed the piston, which moved Newcomen’s pump, and he separated a condenser away from the cylinder, so he added what he called a condenser and technically speaking, rather than heating and cooling the cylinder that contained a piston that moves the machinery, he created a way to keep the cylinder hot whereas the condenser was then used to create the vacuum pressure which moved the piston.

And all of the long and the short of it is that Watt made a major advance in energy efficiency, and therefore in the economic returns and the ability commercially to deploy steam power. And around 1776, voila, you’re looking at the Watt steam engine that changed the course of history.

Why am I putting so much emphasis on one invention?

It is absolutely true that the Industrial Revolution, which gave rise to the Industrial Age has many, many pivotal inventions. During the same century between Newcomen and Watt were great developments in metallurgy and how to make steel.

Great advances in the machinery in the textile industry, in spinning yarn and in mechanical weaving, creating machinery for looms and many, many other advances. Until the steam engine could be used to mobilize coal for motion, where did our energy for industry and for transport come from?

For transport, if you were lucky, you rode on a horse or in a carriage pulled by animals. The steam engine broke free of the constraint of animal or human power for transport. It made possible locomotion. It made possible the steam locomotive. It made possible the ocean steamer. It made possible automobiles, even though they subsequently were edge out by the internal combustion engine which was to come about a century after Watt’s invention.

Watt made possible something else. All the clever machinery in the early factories, many of which were turned by waterwheels, or by windmills for grinding, mobilizing energy in the form of wind or falling water somehow now could be mobilized anywhere, even if there wasn’t a river nearby or there wasn’t sufficient wind power nearby by having a steam engine.

And that steam engine could run as long as there was a supply of coal available. Now we had an economical, efficient, round-the-clock source of vast, vast energy potential. And this is what made possible the Industrial Age.

The historians, such as the great British historian Wrigley, says that it’s breaking free of the organic economy to the mineral or fossil fuel-based economy which made industrialization possible. One can see it in the numbers. What we are looking at here is a graph that shows the estimates by macro-historian, Angus Maddison, of the output per person on average worldwide from the beginning of the common era, 1 A.D. up until today, and what you see in the graph is essentially output per person hardly changed century after century after century after century for the 1800 years depicted here.

And then the output per capita almost rises vertically when looked at at this scale. In other words, we start becoming rich. Humanity starts escaping from poverty. And what is the reason why the output per capita starts to soar?

That is the ability to mobilize vast energy to be used in industrial processes and for transportation, and then for an increasing number of purposes throughout the economy over the course of the succeeding two centuries.

Well, it’s not just the output per person that rose, but you have the same kind of inflection, where the world population which was very, very gradually increasing, suddenly soaring after the middle of the 18th Century, but especially in the 19th Century.

Why did population soar?

One overwhelming reason and that is that humanity in the aggregate could produce vastly more food. And the main reason for that is that there were not only advances in agricultural know-how, but there could be mechanization and there could be long-distance trade in agricultural inputs, as well as the shipment of food itself.

Suddenly, you could grow food in one place and feed populations in another because of ocean steamers or because of locomotion. So the rise of output per capita and the rise of global population are part and parcel of the Industrial Revolution.

Historians talk about long technology waves during this 200-year period. A great economic historian named Kondratieff gave the name to these waves of technological change every forty or fifty years.

They became known as Kondratiev waves. They’re depicted here as several different waves of technological change. Sometimes they’re dated as the first Industrial Revolution, the next Industrial Revolution and so forth.

In wave after wave of technological change that we now call endogenous economic growth, which expands the market which leads to inventors creating yet new technologies and you have a self-feeding, positive feedback process which has now lasted for 200 years.

Up until the Industrial Revolution, we had had a long period where technological change, though evident, came at the space of centuries, whereas now, breakthrough technology started coming year by year, feeding on each other and producing this remarkable breakthrough in economic growth. What made these inventions possible?

Britain certainly was not the only home of scientists. Italy has to have pride of place I would say with Leonardo and with Galileo as really prime movers of the scientific revolution. One would cite Poland and Copernicus as providing one of the greatest insights, the heliocentric universe in the early years of the 16th Century.

But Britain offered a combination of conditions that, one could say, combined with the wonderful accident of Watt’s genius, made possible this confluence that enabled the steam engine and Watt’s insights and the cascade of technologies really to make the first industrial society in England, Britain more generally, in the first years of the 19th Century.

So why? Well intellectual milieu is certainly part of it. It was in Britain that Francis Bacon, way back in the beginning of the 17th Century had the incredible piercing insight to say, we can harness natural forces for human betterment. The idea that natural law could be identified, turned into technology through experimentation, and then used for human improvement was itself an idea of progress that needed an invention.

And I think it’s notable that Francis Bacon is perhaps the clearest and first progenitor of that idea of science-based, evidence-based experimentalist based human progress. Isaac Newton by himself is a, not only an identifier of natural law, but a force of nature, because the breakthroughs that Isaac Newton perceived through a kind of genius that is once in many, many centuries, has to be regarded as part of the story.

What Newton showed, following Galileo, was that mathematics was the language of natural law and not only that, but he developed the language of the calculus and the Newtonian laws of physics to open up an explanation not only of the cosmos, but of dynamics on earth as well. Of course, it was the fact of universities and the relative openness of society that made it possible for there to be a University of Glasgow, to be developing scientific instruments in the Newtonian and Baconian tradition and to hire a great craftsman like James Watt, who had the instruments that he needed, the freedom of action, the intellectual environment to work on his great idea of putting that condenser and rotary motion into Newcomen’s steam engine and give him an environment in which that could be done.

But that wasn’t all. Watt wanted to develop his technology not as a concept but as a business. He lived in an environment where market institutions were developed and where a great invention of the market economy, the ownership of intellectual property in the form of a patent right existed so that he knew and his future business partner, Boulton knew, if we invest in your steam engine, we will get rich.

In other words, we will own the intellectual property so that another engineer can’t come along, take it apart, put it back together and say, I’m going to make the same thing. So does that explain the full story?

Not quite, because there had to be coal. It’s not that they could have taken anything from the countryside, coal was the brilliant breakthrough because coal is very concentrated energy. It is essentially carbon with some impurities. And carbon burns. It emits carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which will be part of our story a little bit later.

But when it oxidizes, it releases a vast amount of energy which is why the steam engine does what it does. And so the idea of burning coal for energy is a wonderful idea and Britain was burning coal for a long time, but it had to have coal to be in a position to exploit this vast reservoir of high quality free energy that was waiting to be developed once the insight into how it could be effectively utilized was at hand.

Not every country had coal. Not every country had coal near the surface that was mineable at an affordable price, but was close to population centers so that you could actually transport the coal through canals or over flat land, not in some high mountains with phenomenally high transport costs.

So Britain geographically was well placed. Britain had another advantage. All that history of the imperial competition from 1500 up to Newcomen and Watt had led Britain to become the great naval power of Europe, indeed of the world. With that great navy it was possible to have global supply chains.

It was possible to bring cotton from the Americas, cotton from Asia and to bring it reliably into the new steam powered factories of England. All of those factors played their role. The scientific revolution, the market economy, the intellectual property, the existence of excellent universities in which the experimental work could be done, the availability of low-cost coal, indeed the use of coal over many centuries and the Royal Navy which made it possible to envision a global supply chain, reliable enough to invest heavily in British based factories and to bring the primary commodities from around the world.

Took a lot of things to make this happen. It’s probably not surprising that the Industrial Revolution happened just once and it didn’t arise suddenly out of nothing, it was the process of long history and many different components of this integral whole finally coming together to produce a breakthrough, a breakthrough in world economy, a breakthrough out of poverty, a breakthrough into modern economic growth, the likes of which the world had never seen before.

Vagas da Globalização X

2.5 The Beginning of Divergence of the West and Asia

  • In Professor Sachs’ analysis, which are the main dynamics that seek to explain why history turned decisively in favor of Europe?
  • What does Professor Sachs say about the role of the development of capitalist institutions in regards to divergence?

We’ve been discussing the fourth wave of globalization, the age of ocean-based navigation and the emergence of global scale capitalism with all its remarkable energy and its brutality.

It is the age when Europe takes the lead in the world. Why did this happen, fundamentally? This remains one of the most important topics of human history and one of the most debated and contentious topics.

For us to step back and try to understand how this evolved during this fourth wave of globalization, it’s good to put some numbers to the page, or at least to put some graphs to the page.

And what you’re looking at here is an estimate by the late and great macro-historian, Angus Maddison, of the share of the world’s population in five different places that I’ve identified, in Europe, in what will become the United States, China, India and Africa.

What one can see is that in the period starting with Columbus and da Gama, 1500, and coming up to 1820, just essentially at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, China and India dominate. They are the two huge populous countries, each with about a quarter of the world’s population.

And China’s population actually rising between 1700 and 1820 from around a quarter of the world’s population estimated by Maddison in 1700, to around a third of the world’s population, even a little bit higher than that as of 1820.

During this whole period Europe is about one-seventh of the population, something around 14% of the world’s population. The population living in what is today’s geographic boundaries of the United States, 1% of the world’s population. And Africa consistently around 10% of the world population and then declining after 1700, perhaps through the pressures of the slave trade and the pressures of increasing European colonization of coastal Africa.

If we look at estimates of the economy, which track to an important extent, these patterns of population, we see that Maddison estimates that as a share of world output, the situation for India and for China is roughly the same as their share of the world population.

For each, perhaps, 25% of total world output in the 16th Century, 17th Century, 18th Century, within those two behemoths. In other words, this was still an Asia-centered world economy, up to 1800. China and India were not only populous but they were relatively productive in per capita terms, perhaps not so different from the per capita income levels of Europe at the time.

AIt’s not till the 19th Century that Europe’s huge predominance of technological advantage, military advantage, industrial power really definitively shows itself. So what are the main issues that are posed by this period of history? When did the divergence between western ascendancy and at least relative, if not, absolute Asian decline take hold? Why is that Europe colonized Asia rather than Asia colonizing Europe?

Among the European powers, why is it that England, which has not played any decisive role in our story till now, turned out to be the decisive power of the 19th Century? How decisive was war for Europe’s advantage?

Was war the real key to understanding Europe’s ascendancy or was war a reflection of a deeper set of forces, such as technological dynamism?

We should go back to that hinge moment of history when China, the great technological power, decides unilaterally to put an end to its ocean-going exploration and demonstration of state power, the end of the great voyages of Admiral Zheng He in 1433.

That was a hinge of history. It was a decision not forced on China, so I wouldn’t say it was intrinsic to China’s physical geography. It wasn’t intrinsic to its resource base, it was not compelled by fiscal crisis, as far as we know, certainly not as a long-term decision. One could say that it was a decision of state craft. One could even call it one of the worst public policy decisions in human history, because it was almost voluntarily forfeiting China’s lead.

And by the next moment when China and the west directly confront each other, that would in the 19th Century, maybe you could date it to 1839, to the first opium war between Britain and China, in which Britain as the now dominant force is able decisively to defeat China.

So statecraft played a role. But looking more deeply beneath the question of China’s choice at that moment is an observation that many, many historians have made, famously E.L. Jones among them, which is that China by dint of creating a continental scale statecraft with relative peace in China prevailing over centuries, what we would regard as a fundamental triumph of statecraft compared to Europe which was at war and squabbling among the dukes and the princes and the kings and bloodshed for centuries, in the end created an environment in which Europe became the specialists of warfare.

And so Jones and many, many other historians emphasized the fact that China made the decision to close because it was a unitary state. Whereas such a decision was literally impossible in Europe, because no single political entity dominated Europe.

The countries competed with each other for know-how, for technology, for military advantage, for colonies, for economic advantage, as well. There are other dynamics that we should take into account. We know that many of the concepts, much of the mathematics, many of the astronomical capacities and observations came from the east to the west. But we also know that from the Renaissance forward, the notion of a scientific enterprise based on close observation, systematic knowledge and increasingly, where possible, experimentation led to a scientific revolution in the west.

And one can fairly say that da Vinci, Galileo and Isaac Newton epitomize that revolution. And that revolution played its role both directly and indirectly in the technological revolutions that would follow.

One could also argue, and many historians do, that the competition of different powers in Europe allowed for a more openness of ideas in general. If one state was repressive, another might invite the free thinkers, the scientists, the explorers into their domain as part of their competition with their neighbors. It’s argued by many economists that it was the development of capitalist institutions, the joint stock company, limited liability, insurance that funded and provided risk protection of ocean navigation that provided crucial advantage and ultimately was the source of divergence.

As I noted in an earlier chapter, the Song Dynasty was also a period of great institutional fluorescence in the economic and financial sphere. So one shouldn’t necessarily read too much uniqueness into the advances of capitalist institutions per se, though they definitely played a role in advancing economic power, which also provided a base for increased investments and in the divergence of military power, as well.

Geography no doubt played some role, as well. We’re jumping ahead of the story a little bit, but with the Industrial Revolution the presence of low cost, easily available coal was definitely a part of the success of certain parts of Europe in 19th Century industrialization. And the advantages of having those resources or being able to bring the resources from the Americas, which was just a short skip across the Atlantic Ocean, was definitely an advantage for Europe.

We should also remember the many great historians that have argued that the play of ideas fundamentally were part of the emergence of the dynamism of Europe. And one of the great theses in this regard is by the early 20th Century brilliant sociologist Max Weber, who said that it was actually the religious spirit of Protestant Christianity, specifically Calvinism that was one of the great spurs to money-making, profit-making and rationality of enterprise that enabled this astounding creation of global-scale industry.

And so the ideas of that kind of prudential, rational investment for wealth creation, claims Max Weber, with many critics as well saying, not quite so, but Weber’s thesis that it is the overall intellectual milieu that says that money-making is not only sound, but actually a proof of God’s favor no less that was one of the spurs to the remarkable energy that went to building the modern world economy.

So the divergence took place. Statecraft, resources, happenstance, the irony of interstate warfare leading to learning by doing in military prowess. As late as 1800, one wouldn’t have noted a remarkable, and much less noted, a decisive gap of income and power between Europe and Asia.

But in the 19th Century, that gap was massively on display and massively increased. Europe conquered large parts of Asia, proved its military prowess, proved its economic and technological advantage. And that’s the story that we’re going to turn to next.

Vagas da Globalização IX

2.4 Imperial Competition

  • There had been wars before the fourth wave of globalization, but what was the major difference between those wars and the ones described in this chapter?
  • Which European countries, does Professor Sachs say, played major roles in the competition for empires and colonial territory?

Globalization created global capitalism. Globalization created conditions of impunity. Globalization created conditions of biological exchange, including the spread of pathogens with devastating effects.

And globalization created conditions of war, as well. One of the features of the new age of ocean-based globalization that began in the early years of the 1500s was the competition of European empires. China, remember, had pulled itself out of…out of the action, back in the 1430s when it had scraped its great naval fleets.

Europe, through its navigational advances and its military advances came to find the sea routes to the Americas and the sea routes to Asia and quickly began to try to conquer and dominate those regions, at least to establish trading centers and colonies, to establish plantations, to exploit natural resources, whether the mineral resources of the gold and silver mines of the Americas or the biological resources of the new crop varieties and the plantations that would be made possible with slave labor from Africa.

This was lucrative business. This was also a matter of power. This was an ability to grow foodstuffs, to collect timber, to raise living standards, it was thought, and to create a basis for added national glory. AIt was immediate, when the European powers began to compete with each other, right from the very start with Columbus’ discoveries, Portugal and Spain in rivalry asked the Pope to intervene to demarcate the lines of what should be Spanish colonies and what should be Portuguese colonies. And in the famous or infamous Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494, a line was drawn in the Indian Ocean and in principle, around the world, which ended up in essence giving the papal blessing to Portugal’s control over Brazil because Brazil fell to the east of this line of demarcation and giving Spain the colonial rights to the west which meant the Spanish empires of North and South America and of the Caribbean Basin.

The other powers of Europe, France and Britain as a start, were certainly not going to stand still and take the Pope’s word for it. The Dutch who were becoming a rising power in the 16th and then especially the 17th century looked for their own empires. Of course, these countries were already at war with each other over the demarcation of kingdoms and empires within Europe, but now as they sought colonies and possessions abroad, these became the new causes of war within Europe, as well. And the advent of global scale war took place, really beginning Iin the 18th Century where you had global scale conflict taking place in the Americas, in Asia, and in Europe, truly world war for the first time, with the fight for colonial possessions being a very important part of that.

This map just helps us to get some orientation. Henry the Navigator had put Portugal, a tiny country, on a path of imperial possessions by dint of its Atlantic facing coastline and its navigational prowess and its ability to take on the military advances of the gunpowder age, including the cannon power on the Portuguese vessels. And Portugal established, thereby, colonies in Brazil, the Atlantic islands of the Azores, Madeira and Cape Verde, across and down the west African coast in Portuguese Guinea, in Sao Tomé, Angola, Mozambique and the beginnings of imperial possessions in the East Indies, as well, in the Moluccas and other islands of the Indonesian Archipelago and in south Asia.

Spain quickly followed and became the leading empire of the 16th century with its claims to a growing part of South America, especially the Caribbean Basin, Mexico and the Andean region, as well as colonial possessions in the Philippines and in the archipelagos of southeast Asia. And with the lines drawn by the Pope, being able to claim imperial possessions on both sides of the world from Spain. Soon enough, the Dutch, the British, the French, got into the competition and as of 1700, the map of colonial powers became more and more crowded, more and more complex. Of course, by this time Britain had its colonies on the eastern seaboard of North America, the colonies that eventually would declare their independence and become the United States of America.

France had its empire in both parts of what is today the U.S. Midwest and up into what is today Canada and Quebec Province and along the St. Lawrence seaway. Both Britain and France began ever so slightly their colonial presence in Africa and in Asia, trying to get footholds into India.

But still, this was the age of the Mughal Empire of India and at this early stage of Europe’s economic development, these countries certainly did not have the military power and advantage with their small numbers and their limited technologies to be able to do more than to colonize small parts of the coasts in Asia and more in the Americas where they faced a drastically outnumbered and weakened Amerindian population.

The 18th Century was marked by these global wars. Wars that both took hold within the colonies and simultaneously, were fought on the European continent itself. One might say that the first of these world wars was the Seven Years War between 1756 and 1763, a competition between Britain and France, that in North America is called the French and Indian Wars, but really was a kind of world war because it was the battle both in the Americas and Europe simultaneously of these two rising powers.

In the event, Britain was able to win control of much of France’s territory in Canada and thereby gain an advantage in North America. Ironically, advantages like this turn out to be very deceptive often as this one did, because as Britain pushed away the French the colonists of the 13 original colonial states asked themselves why should we continue to obey British dictates when we now have a clear way in to settle the Midwest of the United States?

So ironically, Britain’s victory turned out also in a way to be its downfall soon afterwards in North America, because the colonists took the opportunity a few years after the end of the war, precisely in a dozen years later, to begin their effort at winning independence, which they indeed would do.

Well that independence war which was from the early skirmishes in 1775, the Declaration of Independence by the thirteen American colonies in 1776, and the end of the war in 1783 in a way flipped the accounts because in that war, which was a continuation of the great competition between the French Empire and the British Empire, the French sided with the breakaway colonists and it was the French military power and financing that enabled these weak colonies actually to defeat a much more powerful home empire.

And so it was with France’s help that Britain was defeated in the American War of Independence. Well, you might say thereby France gained a great advantage. Well again, you would be mistaken. Looks are deceiving because the French Empire actually spent a lot of resources to help defeat the British. The French government took on a lot of debt. And by the 1780s, found itself in a fiscal crisis, in no small part because of its financing of the American Revolution. Well lo and behold, starting around 1787, the French finance minister tried to raise taxes. This is never a popular moment. Significant backlash occurred in 1789. We now call that the French Revolution. It was started as an anti-tax revolt. It ended up overthrowing the French monarchy and laid France low.

Well you might say, that was to the British advantage. But you would be wrong. This war continued, because who rose to power in the midst of this upheaval of the French Revolution, but a military officer who came to be known as one of the most bloody and greatest generals of history, Napoleon. What followed the French Revolution, of course, were the Napoleonic wars. Europe was thrust into war again. These became global.

The U.S. calls it the War of 1812, between the U.S. and Britain, but from Britain’s point of view this was the, what turned out to be the final years of the Napoleonic Wars, which ended finally with Napoleon’s defeat in Waterloo, in the battle of Waterloo in 1815.

The point that I’m making is that globalization also is accompanied by profound changes and competition in geopolitics. In this event in the period of history that I’m discussing, what I’ve called the fourth wave of globalization from the great ocean discoveries until essentially the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the competition of European empires was brutal.

War, one wouldn’t say was nonstop, but it was absolutely continual. It gained in ferocity in the number of deaths because of continuing advances of military technology. And it became global. The fighting embraced the world. Just as globalization had knit the world together in a world of economics, a world of population movements, a world of pathogen movements, and now a world of true global-scale geopolitics.

As of 1800, the world empires looked something like this. Spain still held onto its empires in the southwest of the United States, Central America, and the western part of South America. Portugal held its empire in Brazil. The European powers had coastal possessions around the coasts of Africa, both on the west and the east coasts. And coastal possessions in south Asia and southeast Asia. Russia was expanding as a great land-based empire. That familiar east-west pattern because Russia was spreading across a shared ecological zone of the cold north and the continental climate of mid-latitude Russia from Europe, all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

This world would continue to be roiled by geopolitical change and in fact, we’re now just at the verge of a new wave of globalization, and that is the age of industrial globalization. And that is an age that would be dominated by Britain and by the United States. The beginning of the Anglo-American world.

Vagas da Globalização XVIII

2.3 Conquest, Slavery and Genocide in the Americas

  • What does Professor Sachs mean by the “hidden” Columbian Exchange?
  • This chapter describes the so-called triangular trade; what is it and why is it relevant in this context?

Adam Smith emphasized that globalization brought impunity. That when the Europeans discovered how to navigate to the Americas and to Asia, that what should have been mutual benefits of trade turned out to be plunder and misery for the native inhabitants, both of what he called the East and the West Indies. I want to elaborate in this chapter on that misery. It’s important, because we need to remember if we’re looking for a humane, a decent, a sustainable globalization that impunity has often accompanies vast imbalances of wealth and of military power.

And we have to be on guard, even in our own times. There’s another lesson, one that Smith could not really have fully understood and as far as I know, did not mention, and that is that along with the Columbian Exchange of sugar and tobacco and cacao and potatoes and maize was another kind of hidden Columbian Exchange and that was especially of the pathogens.

When the Europeans came to the New World, and they brought their she eps and their goats and their horses, and the diseases that they themselves carried, they were bringing disease to a virgin population that had no experience with those diseases.

A population that was therefore, extraordinarily vulnerable to epidemics without the immunity that was acquired through repeated childhood exposure, or that may have co-evolved by living together with these pathogens over the course of centuries and millennia.

The result was that there was vast disease and death within the native populations. Some of the diseases that caused the mass deaths included small pox, measles, the introduction, we believe, of malaria, from the sub-tropics of Europe, and we know that in hinge moments of history, for instance, when Hernán Cortés marched his conquistadors into the Aztec Kingdom and was vastly outnumbered, one of the reasons that a small number of conquistadores lead by Cortés was able to overthrow the Aztec Empire, was that they brought a small pox epidemic with them that raged throughout the Aztec community and enabled Cortés to not only survive what otherwise, probably would have not be possible, but actually to conquer the Aztecs.

And that repeated phenomenon of Europeans inadvertently, in most cases, or almost all cases, spreading disease and leading to the mass loss of the native populations is a repeated phenomenon in the history of the Americas.

Smith could not really have known this, and so he looked at the episodes through the lens of force, subjugation, slavery, direct murder and genocide of populations, and without question, that was part of the visitation of the Europeans, but the germ theory of disease itself would only be understood 100 years after Smith wrote those famous lines, only with the discoveries of Koch and Pasteur in Europe in the 1870s onward.

And so, the role of pathogens in making the way for European conquest could not be fully appreciated until modern times. If one combines the brutality which was undoubted, the enslavement of native populations, the direct slavery that was brought by Europeans from Africa to now work the plantations of the New World, the result was nothing less than a human catastrophe for the Amerindian populations of the Caribbean Basin first, and then of North and South America and of the massive numbers of Africans who were enslaved and transported brutally and forcibly to the Americas, many of whom died in passage and those who survived the passage faced lives of brutality and opened up generations of enslavement to come.

The results of all of this are absolutely shocking. I’m showing you here an estimate of the Native American population in Mexico for example following the conquests of Cortés. And what you see here is of course only an estimate. But the estimate is that in the year before Cortés’ conquest, there may have been on the order of 25 million Native Americans in Mexico, but by the end of the century, the number was less than one-tenth of that.

So almost a complete elimination of the Amerindian population in this case. And this kind of massive destruction of the population is something that would be experienced in many parts of the Americas. It’s mainly in the highland and the landlocked regions, in Paraguay, in Bolivia, in the highlands of Peru, in the highlands of Central America, where you did not have the plantation labor, where the Europeans were far fewer in number, where indigenous populations could thereby survive.

But it was more in the coastal areas, in the more favored areas from an agricultural point of view, in the areas where Amerindian populations would come into contact more frequently with European populations as carriers of disease and as carriers of brutality where the shocking declines and almost complete loss of populations occurred.

One famous orientation of this new global industry is summarized as the so-called triangular trade that took place. Europe in the 16th Century onward became a manufacturing center, a processing center for agricultural goods.

A increasing creator of textiles, apparel, metal goods that were desired by chieftains and those in Africa who would trade slaves for those manufactured goods from Europe. So the first leg of the triangle is the export of manufactured products, increasingly from western Europe to West Africa, to today’s Senegal, or today’s Ghana, or the coastal countries which became the major sources of slave labor.

Those slaves were then carried to the Americas where they worked the tropical plantations, whether it was the growing cotton plantations or especially the sugar cane plantations of the Caribbean which became the richest part of Europe’s colonies in the Americas in the 16th and 17th centuries and where the slave labor was murderous, because the conditions were horrendous and the diseases that the slave populations incurred were devastating to them.

Those slaves in turn produced commodities that then could be exported to Europe and that completed the third side of this so-called triangular trade. African slaves provided labor that fueled this early stage of European capitalism that came to dominate the period from 1500 to 1800.

This graphic illustrates the massive movement of slaves from Africa, almost  all in the direction of the Americas. A few from East Africa to enslavement in the Middle East. The overwhelming numbers came from the Gulf of Guinea and from…from the Atlantic coast of Africa, heavily to Brazil, massively to the Caribbean and some to the Americas, where slave labor would take hold and become the basis of the cotton empire in the U.S. colonies of the south and then of the southern United States after the War of Independence.

In total, it’s estimated that 14 million Africans were carried as slaves during this period. This is truly a grim and horrific stage of global capitalism. And the cruelty that accompanied the development of the modern world economy must not be forgotten, because that cruelty shows up in other ways until today in human trafficking which continues, in bonded labor, in child labor, which still become part of global supply chains. We’re not done with this horrific abuse of humanity by others in pursuit of greed and profit.

Vagas da Globalização VII

2.2 Global Trade in Commodities

What is the Columbian Exchange?

What does history tell us about the relationship between private enterprises and governments, according to Professor Sachs?

In this chapter, I want to talk about the rise of global industry and global production chains. And you might think I’m talking about Apple products or Microsoft or something of our current age, but I want to talk about the globalization of the 16th Century, of the 1500s, because almost as soon as Columbus had made his voyages and Vasco da Gama had circled the Cape of Good Hope, entrepreneurs went to work to construct, remarkably, often with a lot of violence and cruelty attached, often mobilized by a greed that is almost hard to imagine, because the dangers and the obstacles were very high, truly global scale industry, global scale production chains.

Of course, we had had international trade for millennia. But the idea of buying raw materials in one part of the world, partially transforming them, shipping them to another, processing them in another, exporting them to another part of the world and not just within Eurasia or Eurasia and Africa, but now the entire world, this is real globalization as we know it.

And this is in many ways a 16th Century invention. Astounding when one looks at it. And it’s the reason why absolutely wonderful books have been written taking world history from the perspective of cotton, or world history from the perspective of tobacco, or world history from the perspective of coffee, or world history from the perspective of cacao and cocoa and chocolate.

Not only are these among our most favorite and addictive products, but these are really the first global scale industries. And the ingenuity and the rapaciousness, the greed, and yes, the violence that are all packaged together in the birth of the modern world economy are absolutely stunning.

Now it has been a theme of mine that technologies and know-how, including agricultural knowhow diffuse within ecological zones. And especially for the diffusion of agricultural know-how, one has to recognize that crops and animal herds have their ecological niches and therefore diffusion typically has been within latitudes on relatively contiguous areas.

Now we’re going to leap whole oceans, still within ecological zones, but technologies, for example, sugar cane, which originated in south and southeast Asia and then was carried by the Islamic empires into the areas of the Middle East, the Tigris and Euphrates River valleys, into the Nile Valley and the Nile farming region, and then across the islands of the Mediterranean and into Madeira and the islands of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic.

With global scale trade made possible now by ocean-going navigation, crops like sugar suddenly leap whole ocean regions to become true global scale industries.

Now crops like sugar cane could suddenly leap the oceans. And a remarkable process began very quickly that is known to us today as the Columbian Exchange. A great term championed by the wonderful historian Alfred Crosby, who talked about the biological exchange between the Old World and the New World that was quickly occasioned by Columbus’s voyages and by the ocean navigation links now established between Europe and the Americas.

And what ensued was a massive biological exchange of crops and also of pathogens. Crops flowed in both directions. One of the most important crops that flowed from Europeans to planting in the Americas was sugar.

Europe quickly developed an addiction for sugar, as its price fell, as it became more plentiful, as it was possible to grow sugar cane now massively in the Caribbean region and then later both in South and North America in coastal, subtropical regions, sugar production and demand exploded and sugar became one of the truly global industries. Another massive exchange took place when a wonderful bean, absolutely one of my favorites, went from its original home in the highlands of Ethiopia and was carried for planting to the Americas and that was the expansion of coffee growing.

That’s another addiction that quickly swept Europe and sweeps the world till today with a massive expansion of coffee growing. Well the Americas had their own gifts to the world, many of them. Staple crops and other products that established global industries, of staple crops, too, have been a profound global significance, like Adam Smith said, having one region of the world able to help meet the needs and the wants of other regions, one of those crops is maize or what in the United States we call corn.

And that was the staple crop of the Aztec Empire, grown by Amerindian populations in the southwest of the United States and carried back to Europe and from Europe into Africa where Africa became a major maize growing region of the world.

Another crop of world changing significance is the potato, which was developed in Neolithic Revolution of the high Andean region and in the Columbian Exchange carried back to Europe where it became a staple crop across Europe, of course famously in Ireland, but also those wonderful addictive crops crossed the Atlantic from the west to the east, cacao, establishing itself and spread by the Europeans into cocoa growing, cacao growing and cocoa production in many parts of what would become the colonies in Africa.

And of course I would say now, notoriously but one of the most addictive and favoured crops in modern human history, tobacco, which was learned from the Amerindian populations and taken and cultivated around the world.

Industries from sugar cane, chocolate growing, coffee, tobacco became the great global industries of the modern world. They became the great industries of the first early phase of modern capitalism. They established a kind of structure and pattern of global scale finance, insurance, overseas production, global value chains, primary production in certain regions and processing in other regions.

And thus became the real era of global-scale, early capitalism occasioned by these absolutely powerful new industries driven by the intense desires of literally, addictive crops, which remain addictive to us today. And this map is a depiction of the rapidly multiplying sea routes from Europe to the Americas, both north and south, from Europe to Asia, both north and south and from the eastern Pacific in the coasts of North and South America to the western Pacific, right across the Pacific Ocean to the Philippines and what would become colonies of the western imperial powers.

It’s a remarkable story how fast these new global value chains developed. Many of the institutions of modern capitalism were born here. One of the persistent realities of modern capitalism, and that is that private enterprise was always developed in a kind of partnership and symbiotic relationship with powerful patrons of the state.

If nothing more than to be protectors of the sea routes through naval power, but also to provide the military backing for the establishment of plantations, of mining sites, of colonies overseas.

And to my mind, the close relationship of these nascent, global capitalists, not only in the agricultural crops, but of course in the mining sites of the Americas, the gold and the silver mines which fed the bullion to Spain and to the rest of Europe and which was then used to purchase the fine silks and the porcelains from Asia. That close relationship of these giant businessmen of their time to the great financiers who developed to fund these voyages and to insure the fleets as they went on their way, to the government power of the monarchs who both created royal charters for plantations and created new joint stock companies that would be the ones to carry out the exploitation of these new sectors shows hand in hand, state power and private power as a core feature of capitalism from its earliest days.

Often the story is told that capitalism is about the private economy and the government is just there if anything to protect private property rights and adjudicate commercial disputes or at least that’s what it quote, “should” do.

But we can see from the history from the 16th Century onward, that capitalism is investing massive capital, often backed by the state, almost always in some kind of symbiotic relationship with state power to develop global scale activity. Impressive, without question. Exploitative, without doubt. Brutal, yes. And that is the topic of the next chapter.