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History of World Agriculture From the Neolithic Age to the Current Crisis

ISBN-10: 1583671218
ISBN-13: 9781583671214
Edition: 2005
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Description: Only once we understand the long history of human efforts to draw sustenance from the land can we grasp the nature of the crisis that faces humankind today, as hundreds of millions of people are faced with famine or flight from the land. From  More...

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Book details

Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: Monthly Review Press
Publication date: 6/1/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 496
Size: 6.75" wide x 9.00" long x 1.50" tall
Weight: 1.628
Language: English

Only once we understand the long history of human efforts to draw sustenance from the land can we grasp the nature of the crisis that faces humankind today, as hundreds of millions of people are faced with famine or flight from the land. From Neolithic times through the earliest civilizations of the ancient Near East, in savannahs, river valleys and the terraces created by the Incas in the Andean mountains, an increasing range of agricultural techniques have developed in response to very different conditions. These developments are recounted in this book, with detailed attention to the ways in which plants, animals, soil, climate, and society have interacted. Mazoyer and Roudart's A History of World Agriculture is a path-breaking and panoramic work, beginning with the emergence of agriculture after thousands of years in which human societies had depended on hunting and gathering, showing how agricultural techniques developed in the different regions of the world, and how this extraordinary wealth of knowledge, tradition and natural variety is endangered today by global capitialism, as it forces the unequal agrarian heritages of the world to conform to the norms of profit. During the twentieth century, mechanization, motorization and specialization have brought to a halt the pattern of cultural and environmental responses that characterized the global history of agriculture until then. Today a small number of corporations have the capacity to impose the farming methods on the planet that they find most profitable. Mazoyer and Roudart propose an alternative global strategy that can safegaurd the economies of the poor countries, reinvigorate the global economy, and create a livable future for mankind.

Marcel Mazoyer is professor of comparative agriculture and agricultural development at the National Institute of Agronomy (INA) in Paris, where he succeeded Rene Dumont. He is the author of several books on the history of agriculture and has worked on agricultural policy in more than twenty countries.

Laurence Roudart is an agricultural engineer and researcher at the National Institute of Agronomy (INA) in Paris, and has consulted extensively on agriculture in Africa and Asia.

Acknowledgments
Preface
Introduction
Humanity's Agrarian Heritage
A Theory of Agrarian Systems
Agrarian Crisis and General Crisis
The Plan of This Book
Evolution, Agriculture, History
Life, Evolution, and Agriculture
Hominization and Agriculture
The Concept of Agrarian Systems
Biomass, Soil, and Fertility
Agriculture and History
The Neolithic Agricultural Revolution
Centers of Origin of Neolithic Agriculture
Areas of Extension
Domestication and Domesticability
Conclusion
Systems of Slash-and-Burn Agriculture in Forest Environments: Deforestation and the Formation of Post-Forest Agrarian Systems
Formation of Systems of Slash-and-Burn Agriculture
The Organization and Functioning of Slash-and-Burn Agricultural Systems
The Dynamics of Slash-and-Burn Agricultural Systems
Emergence and Differentiation of Post-Forest Agrarian Systems
Problems of Development in Today's Forest Agrarian Systems
The Evolution of Hydraulic Agrarian Systems in the Nile Valley
The Original Ecosystem and the First Occupants of the Valley
Basin and Winter Cultivation Systems
Systems of Irrigated Cultivation
Conclusion
The Inca Agrarian System: A Mountain Agrarian System Composed of Complementary Subsystems at Different Elevations
Historical Summary
Agricultural Production and Trade in the Inca Empire
Social Organization and the Role of the State
The Destruction of Inca Society
Installation of a Satellite Colonial Economy
Conclusion
Agrarian Systems Based on Fallowing and Animal-Drawn Cultivation with the Ard in the Temperate Regions: The Agricultural Revolution in Antiquity
The Origins of the System Based on Fallowing in the Temperate Regions
Structure and Functioning of Systems based on Fallowing and Animal-Drawn Cultivation Using the Ard
The Agrarian and Food Questions in Antiquity
Agrarian Systems Based on Fallowing and Animal-Drawn Cultivation with the Plow in the Cold Temperate Regions: The Agricultural Revolution of the Middle Ages in Northwestern Europe
The Genesis of Cultivation Using the Animal-Drawn Plow
Structure and Functioning of Systems based on Fallowing and Animal-Drawn Cultivation Using a Plow
The Agricultural Revolution of the Middle Ages
Causes and Consequences of the Agricultural Revolution: Demographic, Economic, Urban, and Cultural Growth
The Crisis of Systems based on Fallowing and Animal-Drawn Cultivation Using the Plow and Its Later Reappearance
Conclusion
Agrarian Systems without Fallowing in the Temperate Regions: The First Agricultural Revolution of Modern Times
The Birth of the New Agriculture
Organization and Functioning of Systems that Exclude Fallowing
The Consequences of the First Agricultural Revolution
The Conditions of Development of the First Agricultural Revolution
Conclusion
The Mechanization of Animal-Drawn Cultivation and the Transportation Revolution: The First World Crisis of Agricultural Overproduction
The Mechanization of Animal-Drawn Cultivation and Harvest Processing
The Steam Engine and the Transportation Revolution
Competition, Overproduction, and Crisis
Conclusion
The Second Agricultural Revolution of Modern Times: Motorization, Mechanization, Synthetic Fertilizers, Seed Selection, and Specialization
Main Stages in the Development of the Second Agricultural Revolution
Structure and Functioning of Agrarian Systems Originating in the Second Agricultural Revolution
Difficulties, Disadvantages, and Failures of the Second Agricultural Revolution and Its Agricultural Policies
Conclusion
Agrarian Crisis and General Crisis
Origins and Expansion of the Agrarian Crisis in the Developing Countries
From the Agrarian Crisis to the Crisis of the Developing Countries
From the Crisis of the Developing Countries to the World Crisis
For a World Anti-Crisis Strategy Founded on Safeguarding and Developing the Poor Peasant Economy
Conclusion
Conclusion
Notes
Metric Units of Measurement Converted Into Imperial Units
Index

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