Monday, January 26, 2009

E.Kather:Foster Ch2,3

The destruction of the environment began to occur close to 10,000 years ago with the advent of agriculture. Foster argues that capitalism is the root of all evil. Capitalism and its systems contributed widely to the spoiling of the environment, taking it from regional to global abuse. Foster examines precapitalist and capitalist eras in ecohistory. However, problems existed even in preindustrial time periods. I agree with Foster in his view that modernists blame the ever evolving techno capacity of society without examining the problems with our social systems.
There is an interesting naivety among certain peoples that believe that the only way to stop such abasement is to remove themselves completely from industrial society. That by abandoning the industrial ship, society would return to its precapitalist, environmental allegiance; completely and utterly silly. Many of these societies including the Greeks, Romans, Mayans, Sumerians, and Phoenicians, all collapsed due to environmental strain. In fact the civilizations that experienced a boom were the ones who had moved above low stages of agriculture into more complex societies based on class, caste, and state structure. The advancement created “tributary societies,” examples of which are the ancient Egyptians, the Aztec Empire and feudal Europe. This became the new standard in universal development.
There were however, many issues that arose from Tributary organization such as those that were exceptionally vulnerable to ecological disintegration. Such factors contributing to the loss of these civilizations were high food demand, shortage of farmers, a growing population, production expansion to marginal lands, and increased irrigation to name a few.
Leading on through the ecohistorical period we have noticeable devastation eleventh century England. By this time, only twenty percent of England was still wooded. By the fifteen hundreds wood consumption around Europe had reached sixty to eighty million tons. That is close to using one ton, per person, per year. Because of the strain of soil degradation and overgrazing, famines became epidemics.
So, yes we can clearly see that the rise of capitalism did contribute to the global rape of nature and her children. Yet, we also know that even in preindustiral societies this had occurred just on the more local versus regional level.

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