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

By Mike Davis
Book Review Details
Author: Mike Davis
Publisher: Verso
Edition: 2001
Page Details
Section: Book Reviews =>
Subjects: Capitalism (The Rise Of), Colonialism
Posted: Modified:

This book is an interesting and necessary cross discipline (historical, economic and meteorological) explanation of the horrific famines in China, India and Brazil at the end of the 19th century. Starting from the premise that revisionist and even Marxist historians (Hobsbawm gives them one line in his famous trilogy) have ignored these massive events or failed to link them across these disciplines, he goes on to explain how the dogmatic free market approach of the British ruling class married with the effects of the cyclical El Niño climate changes caused the deaths of tens of millions in their colonies. Much has been made recently by historians of the famines in the Soviet Union and Maoist China in their transition from feudal to state capitalist regimes. Davis challenges those same historians to face up to the horrors of free market capitalism unleashed on feudal economic systems and asks them why they have been so silent. This is highly relevant in the current age of neo-liberal economic ideology. Perhaps most shocking is the indifference of the British officials to the holocaust they were unleashing. They watched centuries old societies collapse into chaos and cannibalism as they cruelly continued to impose their economic systems and exported desperately needed food to other markets (BRHG).

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

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