232 JOURNAL OF WORLD HISTORY, MARCH 2020 While Blom’s Nature’s Mutiny contains the most explicit effort to draw lessons for our present predicament, all these books draw parallels between the experiences of past climate fluctuations and the impacts of the Anthropocene. All discuss the role of human agency with DeGroot and Harper emphasizing the importance of institutions capable of responding to the stresses of climate change. Harper, for example, demonstrates both the vulnerabilities of the Roman Empire and its impressive capacity for renewal. An implication is that with appropriate institutional responses, we can adapt to the stresses of the Anthropocene. Does historical experience tell us what specific institutional features contributed to resilience in the face of climate fluctuations? In a concluding and intriguing aside, DeGroot points out that the Dutch-English path was not the only road to LIA resilience, alluding to the experience of the seventeenth century Mughals and the foundation of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Another example of LIA resilience was the Manchu conquest of China. There was a feature common to all these resilient polities—they possessed the war-making capacity to defeat major rivals and guarantee access to critical resources. Similarly, Harper’s account shows that a key feature of
Journal of World History – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Feb 27, 2020
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