Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niņo Famines and the Making of the Third World

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Verso, 2001 - History - 464 pages
5 Reviews
Examining a series of El Nino-induced droughts and the famines that they spawned around the globe in the last third of the 19th century, Mike Davis discloses the intimate, baleful relationship between imperial arrogance and natural incident that combined to produce some of the worst tragedies in human history. Late Victorian Holocausts focuses on three zones of drought and subsequent famine- India, Northern China; and Northeastern Brazil. All were affected by the same global climatic factors that caused massive crop failures, and all experienced brutal famines that decimated local populations. But the effects of drought were magnified in each case because of singularly destructive policies promulgated by different ruling elites. Davis argues that the seeds of underdevelopment in what later became known as the Third World were sown in this era of High Imperialism, as the price for capitalist modernization was paid in the currency of millions of peasants' lives.
 

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Review: Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niņo Famines and the Making of the Third World

User Review  - Jacob Russell - Goodreads

Here is the historical background of the "global economy" and the distribution of wealth and power. A snapshot of who is going to suffer as global warming and rising seas bring us ever greater not-so-natural disasters. A book I wish I could persuade everyone to read. Read full review

Contents

Victorias Ghosts
25
The Poor Eat Their Homes
61
Gunboats and Messiahs
91
El Niņo and the New Imperialism 18881902
117
The Government of Hell
119
Skeletons at the Feast
141
Millenarian Revolutions
177
Decyphering ENSO
211
The Political Ecology of Famine
277
The Origins of the Third World
279
India The Modernization of Poverty
311
China Mandates Revoked
341
Brazil Race and Capital in the Nordeste
377
Glossary
395
Notes
399
Index
459

The Mystery of the Monsoons
213
Climates of Hunger
239

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Page 3 - You see the stumps of the last season's crop. But with the exception of a few clusters of the castor bean and some weary, drooping date palms, the earth gives forth no fruit. A gust of sand blows over the plain and adds to the somberness of the scene.
Page 9 - Millions died, not outside the "modern world system," but in the very process of being forcibly incorporated into its economic and political structures. They died in the golden age of Liberal Capitalism; indeed, many were murdered, as we shall see, by the theological application of the sacred principles of Smith, Bentham and Mill.
Page 10 - The catastrophe of the native community is a direct result of the rapid and violent disruption of the basic institutions of the victim (whether force is used in the process or not does not seem altogether relevant]. These institutions are disrupted by the very fact that a market economy is...
Page 20 - Starvation is the characteristic of some people not having enough food to eat. It is not the characteristic of there being not enough food to eat.

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About the author (2001)

Mike Davis is the author of several books including "Planet of Slums," "City of Quartz," "Ecology of Fear," "Late Victorian Holocausts," and "Magical Urbanism." He was recently awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. He lives in Papa'aloa, Hawaii.

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