A new very good electronic source on Poland: PNB, April 4, 1997

Fri, 4 Apr 1997 16:39:04 +0200 (MET DST)

Dear colleagues,

reading Chris Chase Dunn's excellent book Rise and Demise I wondered, though,
whether or not the environmental and sexism factors in the rise and decline of
systems were properly enough taken into account. Although the issue(s) somewhat
are being dealt with, I think that world system research - also in its
quantitative variety - could and must do more in the future. In line with Chris'
invitation to join him in the debate, here are some points which I'd like to

1) brutal deforestation by the Romans in Dalmatia was said to be one of the
reasons of Mediterranean agriculture at that time. In general terms, here is
what I have recently written on the present capitalist world economy and the
environment. Perhaps it is of use for a further debate about 'Rise and Demise'
(an absolute must, by the way, for all students of the capitalist world economy
- and I add - for all diplomats alike!)

2) the amplification of the discourse of development theory, that still tends to
be sometimes fixed towards such monetary dimensions as growth and distribution
alone, might be somewhat surprising. Over recent years, there has emerged a new
sub-field of development and transformation theory, that is sensitive to the
concerns of 'the new social movements' around the globe (Bello, 1989; Friberg,
1988; UNDP, 1993, 1994; Woehlke, 1987, 1993). The situation of women and the
situation of the environment emerge as one of the prime issues of development
(Benard and Schlaffer, 1985; Betz and Bruene, 1995; L. R. Brown, 1992; Dubiel,
1993; Frank and Fuentes-Frank, 1990; Leggett, 1991; Saffioti, 1978; Seager and
Olson, 1986). Cross-national analysis about economic and social preconditions
and the quality of the environment are relatively new (Beckerman, 1992; Shafik
and Bandyopadhyay, 1992).
3) It is hard to construct a single indicator of the environmental situation of
a country. The following indicators are being used widely: the greenhouse index
per 10 million people, energy consumption per capita, and the annual rate of
deforestation. A fourth indicator, per capita carbon dioxide emissions, is also
available. The greenhouse index measures the net emissions of three major
greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane and chlorofluorocarbons. The index
weights each gas according to its heattrapping quality in carbon dioxide
equivalents and expresses them in metric tonnes of carbon per capita. Energy
consumption, on the other hand, refers to commercial forms of primary energy -
petroleum (crude oil, natural gas liquids, and oil from non-conventional
sources), natural gas, solid fuels (coal, lignite, and other derived fuels), and
primary electricity (nuclear, hydroelectric, geothermal, and other) - all
converted into oil equivalents. Energy consumption refers to domestic primary
energy supply before transformation to other end-use fuels and is calculated as
indigenous production plus imports and stock changes, minus exports and
international marine bunkers. The use of firewood, dried animal excrement, and
other traditional fuels, is not taken into account for lack of international
comparative data. Energy consumption per capita can be considered as perhaps the
most important single indicator of the factors, that lead to global
environmental degradation. The two environmental indicators have a very high
positive correlation with each other. The third indicator, annual rate of
deforestation or total forest area (under proper consideration of arable land
per total land), is connected with the first and the second process in a complex
fashion. For the future of the world environment, deforestation is the most
alarming contemporary process of environmental degradation. Forest burning
directly leads to a greatly increased CO2 emission; deforestation reduces the
world's future capacity to produce oxygen and to adapt to increasing CO2 levels.
To put it into a drastic comparison with medicine: the patient suffers from
cancer on the left lung (the green house-effect), and the doctors decide to
extract the still functioning right lung (the world-wide CO2 --> O2
photosynthetic regenerative capacity of the world's tropical forests). Due to
the destruction of the outer ozone-layer of the earth, this fatal process will
still be increased. Each second, a rainforest area as large as a football field,
is being demolished on purpose (Launer, 1992).
4) Among the factors, leading to deforestation, the export-oriented economy, the
use of tropical wood in the world paper and furniture industry, and the burning
of wood for cooking and heating purposes are the three most commonly mentioned
factors. A great number of scholars, among them Leggett et al., 1991, tried to
bring deforestation rates systematically into a causal relationship with the
kind of dependent capitalist development, analysed amongst others by Bornschier
and Chase Dunn, 1985. The creation of large plantations in Latin America for
meat exports to the United States of America is often causally linked in the
literature to the problem of deforestation (Launer, 1992). Brazil's supposed
role is of special importance here, because Brazil still has a share of 27.5% of
the world's tropical forests. Indonesia's year-long wood-export drive has often
been mentioned as the most paradigmatic case of the influence of the capitalist
world economy on the rapid disappearance of the world's forests. The role of the
peasantry in dependent capitalism was also often mentioned in this context.
Extensive tropical agriculture, implanted by 500 years of dependent development,
described by the Peruvian Marxist José Carlos Mariateguí in his classic '7
Essays', and later on analysed by Feder, 1972, is thought to be one of the main
factors leading to the alarming rates of deforestation. Small scale peasants -
the dependencia argument runs - are evicted throughout the countries of Latin
America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific from their meagre holdings by the
land-hungry process of dependent agricultural capitalism for the sake of
export-oriented breeding for meat production and tropical export crops. But what
is already commonplace in the former 'Third World' could become a rule of the
day also in the former 'Second World'. Forests are being cut down not only in
Indonesia and in Northern Borneo at an amazing speed, but also in the Warmia
region of the Mazurian lakes in Poland and in other parts of Eastern Europe.
Forest cutting for export purposes, disregarding the social and ecological
rights of the local populations, could serve, a dependencia-minded argument
could maintain, the short-term profit interests of the old and new
export-oriented elites. In the former or continuously communist countries of
Eastern Europe and the USSR-successor-states, environmental quality poses indeed
one of the main concerns of development planning nowadays (World Resources
Institute, 1992). Eastern Europe's transformation could be again seen as a
testing ground for various development paradigms and strategies.
5) The globalization argument would emphasise, that, contrary to the optimistic
expectations about an improvement in the environmental situation due to the new
presence of transnational capital, the adoption of an energy-consuming
'US-style'- model would mean a significant long-term increase of various
emissions. The global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration increased from
280 ppm in pre-industrial times to 315.8 in 1959, to stand at 354 in 1990. World
carbon dioxide emissions increased from 6002 millions of metric tons in 1950 to
21863 millions of metric tons in 1989. Over the last 100 years, the earth's
temperature rose by 0.6 degrees; from 1970 to today, the rise was 0.3 degrees.
The earth's temperature will rise by a further 3 degrees until 2100, if
contemporary emission trends continue (Stiftung, 1996). Over the last 160000
years, there has been a close correlation between carbon-dioxide concentrations
and changes in the world temperature (Gore, 1994; Leggett, 1991). Roughly, a
change of +- 100 ppm carbon dioxide historically led to a change of +- 12.5
degrees Celsius. From 1750 to today, carbon dioxide emissions amount to 800
thousand million tons of CO2.. Although the temperature change factor might be
smaller, and a rise by 100 ppm CO2. might lead to a temperature rise of 1.1
degrees, the heating of the atmosphere in the coming decades will be enormous:

Graph 5.1 Charles D. Keeling's data series from Mauna Loa - atmospheric
concentrations of greenhouse and ozone-depleting gases, 1959-90, and the trend
for the next 60 years

our own calculations from Keeling's data, World Resources Institute, 1992, using
the trend-line extrapolation of the EXCEL 5.0 programme (3-order polynomial

Desertification, storms, flooding in many parts of the world during the winter
seasons, as well as famine and droughts during the summer months could be the
results of these recent increases in carbon dioxide levels and are indeed
already a reality in many parts of the world. There were 16 major disasters in
the 1960s, 29 in the 1970s, and 70 in the 1980s. Since 1967, 1.3 million people
died from droughts, 800000 in cyclones, 600000 in earth quakes and 300000 in
floods (UNDP, 1994). The last time, that a carbon dioxide concentration as high
as around 300 ppm was reached in the earth's history was around 130000 before
our time; from that moment onwards, global temperatures and carbon dioxide
concentration ratios fell to 20000 before our time, when a level of just 180 ppm
was reached.
6) World pollution is even a clear statistical function of the ups and downs of
the longer swings in the world economy, most notably the Kuznets cycle and the
Kondratieff cycle. The World Resources Institute has provided information on the
basis of the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Centre about CO2 emissions in
the world from 1950 onwards. The growth rates of CO2 consumption clearly
correspond to the Kondratieff and Kuznets cycle analysis about economic growth,
which we introduced in Chapter 3.

Graph 5.2: CO2 emissions and their growth rates from 1950 onwards

Legend: World CO2 emissions from fossil fuel consumption and cement manufacture,
1950-89. Left hand scale: emissions in millions of metric tons per year;
right-hand scale: growth rates. The graph shows also the polynomial expression
(6th order) of the growth rates, as calculated by EXCEL 5.0, as well as the
gliding averages on a 9-year basis. The dark line is the linear regression trend
of CO2 emissions, projected for 5 consecutive periods

7) It is clear, however, that some Western countries on the other hand use
technical and civilisational standards that indeed constitute a significant
improvement in terms of the environment compared to the preceding regime. Table
5.1 now summarises the most important environmental indicators for the region
before or during the start of the transformation process by international

Table 5.1: environmental quality in Eastern Europe and the former USSR in
comparison to the US, the UK, France, (West) Germany, Sweden and Austria

Country Environmental degradation indicator

CO2 SO2 NOX % forest
per capita emissions (tons) (moderate to severe)
(in industry)

Albania 3.04 15.6 2.8 -
Bulgaria 11.87 114.6 16.7 24.9%
former CS 14.47 178.9 60.7 33.0%
East Germany - 313.3 42.6 16.4%
Hungary 6.05 115.2 24.5 12.7%
Poland 11.54 103.3 39.1 31.9%
Romania 9.16 8.6 16.8 -
former Yug. 5.61 69.6 8.0 22.6%
former USSR - 32.4 14.6 35.0%

grad oblast)

USA 19.68 83.2 79.6 -
UK 9.89 62.1 43.9
France 6.38 27.1 30.1 -
W-Germany 10.48 24.2 48.4 15.9%
Sweden 7.0 25.9 35.4 12.9%
Austria 6.82 16.3 27.7 4.4%

Source: our own compilations from World Resources Institute, 1992

8) Deforestation in Eastern Europe and the former USSR is already more severe
than in most parts of Western Europe. What will happen to these forests in the
course of world-market oriented development? To this we must add, that in a
country like Poland environmental concerns do not receive the priority that they
should receive. Only 34% of the population is served by waste water treatment
plants (EU average 70%); municipal waste services reach only 55% of the
population (EU average: 96%; our own compilations from UNDP, 1995). The basic
argument of a globalization-oriented explanation of environmental quality on a
world scale (Launer, 1992; Woehlke, 1987) would run as follows: dependent
development not only leads to social strains and imbalances, with all it's
economic dynamics that it might initiate at the same time; it also means a
further strain on the natural resources and the environment by the energy-,
space-, forest- and individual-traffic intensive life-style that the world-wide
market economy, especially in it's North American variety, brings about.
Although some forest-, energy- and emission-saving might be the initial
consequence of the introduction of more modern and western technologies, the
basic problem of dependent and polarising development would remain on the
agenda. Profit-oriented development between unequal partners will always,
globalization theory argues, lead to forms of 'unequal exchange'. Concretely,
the world-wide market economy and the new international division of labour will
(i) transfer energy and pollution intensive industries to the countries of the
periphery and the semi-periphery (ii) industrial waste from the centres will be
increasingly attempted to be deposited in those regions (iii) export-intensive
industrialisation and the debt crisis will mean an almost reckless use of
remaining natural resources, especially forest areas, for export purposes to
earn badly needed foreign cash, or to destroy forests to gain land for tropical
and sub-tropical export agriculture. International tourism (including it's
'soft-body'-component), air traffic, individual traffic and the 'western'
lifestyle, that begins with the plastic bag, ranging over well-known soft drinks
- preferably from the tin-can - to equally well-known western TV-serials, will
in the end more than negatively compensate the initially positive contributions,
that economic transformation, market mechanisms and the recession of the 1980s
will have meant for the countries of the periphery and the semi-periphery of
Eastern Europe and the countries of the South in terms of the environment.
Poland produces today more waste per inhabitant already (1500 kg per year) than
Spain, Italy, France, the UK or Germany (1021 kg) (Wprost, 20.09. 1995: 52;
Tausch/de Boer, 1997). Poland might have new factories for paper recycling with
western technology, but the raw material - old paper - is being imported from
Western countries.
9) In addition, regional development authorities throughout Eastern Europe and
in other semi-peripheral regions will hope to attract foreign buying power in
exchange for local property rights in environmentally still undamaged regions.
Insert here what you like: Caribbean island coasts, still untouched regions in
Eastern Europe, like the Mazurian lakes, the Tatra mountains, et cetera. They
will share the fate - dependency theory would tell us - of the sell-out at the
Spanish Mediterranean coast, wide areas of the Austrian Alps and many other
places in Europe. In other zones, unabated deforestation will develop, not
unlike many Third-World countries. Unequal environmental exchange will
increasingly affect (semi)peripheral regions in greater geographical distance
from the centres; mass tourism to the tropical zones of the world will cause a
tremendous increase in air-pollution from air-traffic that these 'island
get-aways' bring about. For these reasons, environmental indicators are so
negatively determined by transnational penetration. An important control
variable in our analysis of the deforestation process is the percentage of total
land, devoted to agriculture. At the one hand, it allows for the fact, that
large regions of the world are affected by a growing desertification; on the
other hand, this control variable duly considers the negative effect, that the
expansion of world agriculture had on the world's woodlands in a historic
10) Europe in particular must not only come to terms with the environmental
destruction, to which it contributes disproportionately on a global scale,
Europe must also lead the way in bringing about a lean and socially just state
at the same time. Social justice, by and large, means gender justice today
(UNDP, 1995). The eastward expansion of the Union will further increase this
problem dimension.
Faced by the marginalization of women on the labour markets due to the workings
of globalization, Europe is tempted to spend its way out to maintain their
position in a global context. The eastward expansion of the Union will mean,
that millions of up to now economically marginalized women will become citizens
of the Union, whose fate has to be taken care of by Brussels at least in some
Aggregate societal data suggest that after the transformation, the situation of
women in Eastern and Central Europe did relatively deteriorate in many ways
(Cornia, 1993, 1994). Since Cornia's very telling research results are easily
available internationally, it might suffice here to quote some aggregate UNDP
data to further illustrate our point. Our aggregate data show, how difficult a
relatively rapid integration of the more traditionalist, rural and in many ways
backward East into the European Union could become. Only the Czech Republic is
socially by any means on a comparable level with the more highly developed
countries of Western Europe:

Table 5.2: the marginalization of women, social devastation and decay in former
communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe in comparison to the European
Union countries

Indicator CS H BUL PL ROM

maternal mortality
per 100000 live births 14 21 40 15 210 100 9

sulphur and nitrogen
emissions per capita 239 141 - 141 - - 74

Rapes per 100000
women 12 31 21 19 - -

homicides by men
per 100000 1.3 3.5 4.0 2.5

prisoners per
100000 inhabitants - 142 160 204 - -

suicides by men per
100000 30 58 23 24 13 -

total health expen-
diture as % of GDP 5.9 6.0 5.4 5.1 3.9 -

mean years of schooling
female population >25y. 8.6 9.9 6.4 7.8 6.7 5.2 9.9

mean years of schooling
male population >25y. 9.8 9.7 7.6 8.5 7.5 7.2 10.3

tertiary graduates as
% of population of nor-
mal graduate age 11.8 6.4 6.4 6.6 2.2 1.7

average age of women
at first marriage 22.2 22.4 21.1 22.8 21.1 20.4

% of seats in parlia-
ment occupied by
women 9% 7% 13% 9% 3% 6%

human development index
rank on the world scale 27. 31. 48. 49. 72. 76. -

Source: our own compilations from UNDP (HDR, 1994). The world rankings of the EU
countries on the human development index are:

Sweden 4.
France 6.
NL 9.
UK 10.
Germany 11.
Austria 12.
Belgium 13.
DK 15.
SF 16.
LUX 17.
IRE 21.
Italy 22.
Spain 23.
Greece 25.
Portugal 42.

Gender empowerment, as it is known, combines parliamentary seats, held by women,
the share of women in the total number of administrators and managers in a
country, the share of women in the professional and technical workforce, and the
share of women in earned income (UNDP, 1996). Table 5.3 shows the performance of
the transformation countries in comparison to Western democracies:

Table 5.3: gender empowerment

CND 0.685
USA 0.645
Japan 0.445
NL 0.646
NOR 0.786
SF 0.710
France 0.437
SW 0.779
Spain 0.490
Australia 0.590
BLG 0.580
Austria 0.641
NZ 0.685
CH 0.594
UK 0.530
DK 0.718
GER 0.654
IRE 0.504
ITA 0.593
GRE 0.370
ISR 0.485
HUN 0.507
POL 0.431
BUL 0.486

Source: our own compilations from UNDP, 1996

Eastern Europe, finding itself at the absolute lower middle range of the
continuum between backward and 'modern' societies, characterised by the values
of education as an end in itself, self-realisation outside traditional role
patterns, associated with child-bearing and the family, control of male
aggressive behaviour and a developed social welfare system, socially belongs
much more to the countries, still (semi-)characterized by traditional role
patterns. In the industrialized world, countries as different as Japan, France,
Israel and Greece also have a gender empowerment index lower than 0.500. They
all have in common a certain secondary role of women in public life, as compared
to the real world leaders in terms of emancipation, like the Protestant
democracies in Scandinavia, the Netherlands and Canada. The unquestionable
advances in the relative role of women, that were evident throughout the region
before the year 1989, came to a grinding halt after the transformation. With the
background of the general poverty levels, sketched above, the socially
disruptive dimension of this conflict becomes evident.
For the political economy of the world system, interesting research questions
arise out of such tendencies. Does the market economy, especially in it's
dependent variety, in the end really marginalize women furthermore, or does the
(re)advent of full-fledged capitalism bring about a marked improvement in the
social situation of women? There emerge very interesting results on the
situation of women from our empirical investigations in Table 4.1.
Three measures are used to further test the relationship between globalization
and gender-related human development. One is maternal mortality, the second is
the new UNDP gender-related development index, the third is the gender
empowerment measure. The first and the third index are more
distribution-oriented than the second indicator. Each year, 290 women per 100000
live births lose their lives in the moment of giving birth. What is the ultimate
moment of happiness in a life for woman and man, to experience in togetherness
the advent of a newly-born life, becomes the ultimate pain for millions of
mothers around the world. They lose their lives due to the structural violence
existing in the world system, they lose their lives in their ultimate moment of
loneliness while giving birth, desolated and marginalized by a social order on
the global level that produces more and more commodities, services and pollution
but that forgets about the poor backyards, shanty towns and desolate clinics in
the world poverty belts. In the industrialised countries of the OECD, maternal
mortality is 11 per 100000. That is to say, at the global level there is an
'excess mortality' of 279 women per 100000 live births, considering the progress
in medicine reached at the level of the western democracies. In Eastern Europe,
maternal mortality already reaches 66 per 100000 live births, and in the
developing countries, 420. All three indicators of the female situation de la
vie are being significantly blocked by MNC penetration (see Table 4.1).
11) Our results indicate that dependency is by far the most important
determinant of maternal mortality, and that the two dependency-related
indicators: terms of trade and trade dependency co-determine the process of
maternal mortality in the world system. Our results also indicate that gender
empowerment and gender development are significantly and negatively influenced
by MNC penetration (regression statistics follow in my original manuscript -
which - I hope - will be available soon from the Archive)

Kind regards yours
Arno Tausch