Transplanting Modernity? New Histories of Poverty, Development, and Environment
As the twenty-first century unfolds, few challenges facing humanity loom larger than dramatic environmental change, global poverty, and the uneasy relations between the wealthy "West" and the less privileged but rapidly changing "rest." This edited collection examines the historical phenomenon that brought environment, poverty, and developing world politics together during the twentieth century; international development programs aimed at transplanting industrial modernity. The editors of this volume—Tom Robertson and Jenny Leigh Smith—take an important new angle on the topic, focusing on the environmental dimensions of these projects and their long-term legacy. International development programs remade—or tried to remake—the rivers and mountains, forests and deserts, cities, farms, plants, animals and people of the world. Whether successful or not these projects transformed lives, events, and politics, and created the world we live in today.
This proposed edited volume grows out of an NSF-sponsored June 2015 workshop, held at Georgetown University. Transplanting Modernity presents nine engagingly written, carefully researched, and rigorously argued case studies that examine how twentieth-centur
y modernization and development projects have radically reshaped physical and political environments around the world. Bringing environmental historians and historians of science and technology into conversation with scholars of diplomatic history and international development, it sheds new light on the history of modernization and its environmental legacy. All of the papers argue that the environmental impact of development has been one of the most important—and overlooked—histo rical phenomena of the twentieth century.
In this paper, we investigate differences in and determinants of technical efficiency across three groups of OECD, Asian and Latin American countries. As technical efficiency determines the capacity with which countries absorb technology produced abroad, these differences are important to understand differences in growth and productivity across countries, especially for developing countries which depend to a large extend on foreign technology. Using a stochastic frontier framework and data for 22 manufacturing sectors for 1996-2005, we find notable differences in technical efficiency between the three country groups we examine. We then investigate the effect of human capital and domestic R&D, proxied by the stock of patents, on technical efficiency. We find that while human capital has always a strongly positive effect on efficiency, an increase in the stock of patents has positive effects on efficiency in high-tech sectors, but negative effects in low-tech sectors.
The evolution of the exploitation of forests in Finland followed the logic of state and private firms. It was also characterized by the importance of technology transfers, which accompany major evolutions in this crucial activity for the country and put Finland at the crossroads of multiple influences and actors’ initiatives.
We now know that the Iron Curtain was not an impenetrable wall but, rather, a porous imaginary boundary through which people, ideas, and goods could travel. This volume is a fresh attempt to look across two blocs to examine variations, similarities, and connections between what we used to call East and West. As editors Astrid Mignon Kirchhof and John R. McNeill explain in the introduction, the volume aims to challenge a traditional question about the East-West divide. It focuses on the environment and its connections to politics, culture, and society.
The idea of North is a multivalent concept. It is geographical, but more than just Arctic; it is both an imagined space and a place of harsh challenges. These challenges resonate with each other across the northern world, shaping different areas of the North in many similar ways. Distinctive northern environments are created as humans adapt to climatic and geographic conditions while simultaneously adapting the landscapes to their own needs with technologies, trade, and social organization. This collection of essays argues that the unique environments of the North have been borne of the relationship between humans and nature. Approaching the topic through the lens of environmental history, the contributors examine a broad range of geographies, including those of Iceland and other islands in the Northern Atlantic, Sweden, Finland, Russia, the Pacific Northwest, and Canada, over a time span ranging from CE 800 to 2000. Northscapes is bound together by the intellectual project of investigating the North both as an imagined and mythologized space and as an environment shaped by human technology. The North offers a valuable analytical framework that surpasses nation-states and transgresses political and historical borders. This volume develops rich explorations of the entanglements of environmental and technological history in the northern regions of the globe.
Questions of secularity and modernity have become globalized, but most studies still focus on the West. This volume breaks new ground by comparatively exploring developments in five areas of the world, some of which were hitherto situated at the margins of international scholarly discussions: Africa, the Arab World, East Asia, South Asia, and Central and Eastern Europe. It examines the historical pathways, cultural meanings, and global entanglements of secular formations.
Mastering the North was a long-term problem for the Russian state, which at least from the eighteenth century tried to organize the effective use of its resources. This chapter illustrates two very distinct foreign models employed for the “state colonization” of the Russian North in a formative period between the Great Reform of 1861 and Stalin’s industrialization of 1930s: Norway and Canada. Although the use of the Norwegian model for colonization of the Russian North is relatively well studied, “railway colonization” of 1920s is not that well known,and very few works embrace both imperial and early Soviet periods of colonization.
This paper studies technology creation and transfer of 95 Russian research and technology organisations (RTOs) into producer organisations in agriculture and mining. Previous findings suggested that in agriculture, the barriers for technology adaption are particularly high due to technological conservatism and the atomic structure of the industry. Although RTOs in agriculture publish more and register more patents, they struggle to translate their success into transfer activities. While technology transfer in mining goes well hand in hand with applied research, RTOs in agriculture either build on new technologies or generate revenues through ready-to-use services. The explanation for this rather short-term oriented demand for services of Russia's RTOs lies in the financial situation of client organisations. The vast majority complain about their dire lack of financial means to pay for new technologies. Consequently, agricultural producers do not generate enough revenues to pursue future opportunities, with far reaching consequences. The situation could get better if the RTOs and the client would agree to longer-lasting relationships.