World-Systems in the Biogeosphere: Urbanization, State Formation and Climate Change Since the Iron Age

Christopher Chase-Dunn, Thomas D. Hall, Peter Turchin
The World System and the Earth System January 1, 2006 Journal Link PDF


In Kurt Vonnegut’s The Sirens of Titan a traveler from another solar system has crash-landed on one of the moons of Jupiter and is using his last bit of fuel to beam forces onto the Earth in order to send a message home. His efforts induce the Central Asian steppe nomads to behave in a way that causes successive Chinese states to build the Great Wall in the form of a script that appears from space as a rescue plea. This trope of distant forces affecting human history is an ironic tool in the hand of the fiction-smith who pokes fun at us for our hapless intentions. World-historians have hypothesized other powerful mechanisms by which macro-social processes may have been shaped by exogenous forces.
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