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'Amsterdam is Standing on Norway' Part II: The Global North Atlantic in the Ecological Revolution of the Long Seventeenth Century

Moore, Jason LU (2010) In Journal of Agrarian Change 10(2). p.188-227
Abstract
'Amsterdam is standing on Norway' - this was a popular saying in the Dutch Republic of the seventeenth century. There was more than one inflection to the phrase. Amsterdam was, in the first instance, built atop a subterranean forest of Norwegian origin. But southern Norway was also a vital resource zone, subordinated to Amsterdam-based capital. This paper follows the movement of strategic commodity frontiers within early modern Europe from the standpoint of capitalism as world-ecology, joining in dialectical unity the production of capital and the production of nature. Our geographical focus is trained upon the emergence of the Global North Atlantic, that zone providing the strategic raw materials and food supplies indispensable to the... (More)
'Amsterdam is standing on Norway' - this was a popular saying in the Dutch Republic of the seventeenth century. There was more than one inflection to the phrase. Amsterdam was, in the first instance, built atop a subterranean forest of Norwegian origin. But southern Norway was also a vital resource zone, subordinated to Amsterdam-based capital. This paper follows the movement of strategic commodity frontiers within early modern Europe from the standpoint of capitalism as world-ecology, joining in dialectical unity the production of capital and the production of nature. Our geographical focus is trained upon the emergence of the Global North Atlantic, that zone providing the strategic raw materials and food supplies indispensable to the consolidation of capitalism - timber, naval stores, metals, cereals, fish and whales. I argue for a broader geographical perspective on these movements, one capable of revealing the dialectical interplay of frontiers on all sides of the Atlantic. From its command posts in Amsterdam, Dutch capital deployed American silver in the creation of successive frontiers within Europe, transforming Scandinavian and Baltic regions. The frontier character of these transformations was decisive, premised on drawing readily exploitable supplies of land and labour power into the orbit of capital. We see in northern Europe precisely what we see in the Americas - a pattern of commodity-centred environmental transformation, and thence relative ecological exhaustion, from which the only escape was renewed global conquest and ever-wider cycles of combined and uneven development. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
capitalism as world-ecology, world-systems analysis, historical sociology, political ecology, environmental history
in
Journal of Agrarian Change
volume
10
issue
2
pages
188 - 227
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • wos:000275099100002
  • scopus:77950803576
ISSN
1471-0366
DOI
10.1111/j.1471-0366.2009.00262.x
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
4aa1cfb1-155c-4fc3-8826-aa12d513a31a (old id 1589561)
date added to LUP
2010-04-20 10:42:23
date last changed
2018-07-01 03:21:03
@article{4aa1cfb1-155c-4fc3-8826-aa12d513a31a,
  abstract     = {'Amsterdam is standing on Norway' - this was a popular saying in the Dutch Republic of the seventeenth century. There was more than one inflection to the phrase. Amsterdam was, in the first instance, built atop a subterranean forest of Norwegian origin. But southern Norway was also a vital resource zone, subordinated to Amsterdam-based capital. This paper follows the movement of strategic commodity frontiers within early modern Europe from the standpoint of capitalism as world-ecology, joining in dialectical unity the production of capital and the production of nature. Our geographical focus is trained upon the emergence of the Global North Atlantic, that zone providing the strategic raw materials and food supplies indispensable to the consolidation of capitalism - timber, naval stores, metals, cereals, fish and whales. I argue for a broader geographical perspective on these movements, one capable of revealing the dialectical interplay of frontiers on all sides of the Atlantic. From its command posts in Amsterdam, Dutch capital deployed American silver in the creation of successive frontiers within Europe, transforming Scandinavian and Baltic regions. The frontier character of these transformations was decisive, premised on drawing readily exploitable supplies of land and labour power into the orbit of capital. We see in northern Europe precisely what we see in the Americas - a pattern of commodity-centred environmental transformation, and thence relative ecological exhaustion, from which the only escape was renewed global conquest and ever-wider cycles of combined and uneven development.},
  author       = {Moore, Jason},
  issn         = {1471-0366},
  keyword      = {capitalism as world-ecology,world-systems analysis,historical sociology,political ecology,environmental history},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {188--227},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Journal of Agrarian Change},
  title        = {'Amsterdam is Standing on Norway' Part II: The Global North Atlantic in the Ecological Revolution of the Long Seventeenth Century},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-0366.2009.00262.x},
  volume       = {10},
  year         = {2010},
}