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Modern Age Essay

Our world is constantly changing and some say that its better, but some say that it is worse. A famous author, Lynn White Jr. is saying that since the modern age we have had an ecological crisis that is slowly worsening every year. Another author, Immanuel Wallerstein, is saying that our world economy is actually doing well since the modern age and that it is better than in the past. Janet Abu-Lughod is a famous author who disagrees with a lot of what Wallerstein says but agrees that our economy is doing better than the past. Lynda Norene Shafer is another author who tells us that the past did a lot of good for us, especially Southern India and China.

All these authors have much to say but they are too focused on one part of their arguments. Immanuel Wallerstein is one author who makes a good argument and approach towards the modern age. He approaches the modern age by stating many facts and explaining as to what he believes our world system should be like. He states that since the sixteenth century, we have always had capitalist economies and world economies.

Wallerstein believes that our economy has many political units inside that loosely tie together the system. He believes that we should have an economy that is bounded by one big political structure that is unitary. Wallerstein disagrees with people thinking towards what capitalism is. He says, “Capitalism is not the mere existence of persons or firms producing for sale on the market with the intention of obtaining a profit” (1-2). Wallerstein is telling us that man has been producing many things with the sole purpose of making a profit on those things. He totally disagrees with this statement as being a definition for capitalism since he believes that it is not true.

Wallerstein also states the correlation between world economies and capitalist economies. He is telling us that, “Conversely, a capitalist economy cannot exist within a framework except that of a world economy” (2). What Wallerstein is saying to us is that world economies and capitalist economies go very well together. He says this because world economies are lacking a big, overall, unifying political structure that capitalism actually has. Finally, Wallerstein tells us that world systems before this modern one have always failed because of
that lacking capitalistic structure.

He says that, “What unifies the structure [world economy] most is the diversion of labor which is constituted within it” (1). Wallerstein says that the world systems never survived in the past, but only now because of the installment of capitalism in it. Overall, Wallerstein brings up many good points, but he is too focused on Europe and their responsibility on interconnecting world systems. Another author, Lynn White Jr. brings up many good points, but just as Wallerstein, is too Eurocentric.

Lynn White Jr. is another great author who approaches the modern age. He brings up ecology and its relationship with religion in the modern age. He brings up a very strong point as to global warming and a big ecological crisis would happen if we do not change or adjust our main religion. White Jr. believes that Christianity has led to a scientific revolution. What he also states which is very important, is that it is extremely crucial for us to adjust or completely change Christianity.

White Jr. believes that Christianity has led our ecology to such a crisis that it is already extremely difficult to help or even undo. Something very important that he says is, “More science and more technology are not going to get us out of the present ecological crisis until we find a new religion or rethink an old one” (11). He is suggesting that Christianity has been doing what it wants for the past centuries that it made our ecology terrible enough to put it in a crisis.

White Jr. also says that “For nearly two millennia Christian missionaries have been chopping down sacred groves, which are idolatrous because they assume spirit in nature” (11). This quote is very vital to interpret because it tells us all about what Lynn White Jr. is arguing about. He is saying that for the past 2,000 years, Christian persons do as they wish, but no one has even made a good attempt to stop them. He is also putting Europe responsible for the crisis that they have caused because Christianity starts in Europe.

Since no one has changed the ecological crisis that we have continuously, he says, “Hence we shall continue to having a worsening ecological crisis until we reject the Christian axiom that nature has no reason for existence save to serve man” (11). Lynn White Jr. is telling us that since no one is succeeding to stop Christianity from further worsening our crisis, we will fail in the future. We also have two female authors, Janet Abu-Lughod, and Lynda Norene Shafer, who explain Southernization and the Rise of the West.

Although many are familiar with the term Westernization, one might know that many centuries before, there has been what is called Southernization. Lynda Norene Shafer informs us of Southernization. She tells us that it basically means that there were many advances in southern parts of China and India. Southernization focused on advancements such as math and gold and most of these advancements come from India. Southernization also focused on trades when cotton was first domesticated.

This allowed many trades to open up where Indians could trade cotton clothing. One said that India had “clothed the world” (13). Another author, Janet Abu-Lughod talks about world systems and a little on the rise of the west. She actually disagrees with Wallerstein. She believes that there have actually been world systems a long time before the start of the European hegemony.

While Europe was as one might say, only a new start to an old life, there have been many agricultural exchanges such as crafts. Lughod believes that this was a global-made world system that took time before and during the thirteenth century. She says that world systems “Increased economic integration and cultural effervescence” (7). This disagrees with Wallerstein also because he thought the exact opposite.

In conclusion, all these important authors say much but one might say not enough. Wallerstein and White Jr. are too Eurocentric. Abu-Lughod is very focused on world systems and not enough on the Rise of the West. One might say that although these authors make good points, they should also talk about how their argument affects other parts of the world or even counter their argument.

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