Review Of ' Dethroning The Harvest ' From Blainey's ' A Short History Of The World '

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Daily life has, by all accounts, changed immensely since the beginning of the 19th Century. With the occurring of the industrial revolution, technology leapt forward in the greatest step since the ideas that came out of the great thinkers of the renaissance. The proof of just how much has changed, I believe, is shown most in just how much the world is affected by food. The text that I will use to assess this is the chapter ‘Dethroning the Harvest’ from Blainey’s ‘A Short History of the World’ and will be backed up by Crone’s ‘Pre-Industrial Societies: Anatomy of the Pre-Modern World’ among other sources. Food, along with water, is the most important factor to ongoing human civilisation. Crone even begins her thought experiment (Crone,…show more content…
“In Europe and Asia the typical family lived close to the breadline. Whether in 1500 or 1800, in France or in China, Most families either owned no land or such a small holding that it could barely feed them even in a prolific year.” (Blainey, 2001) This quote is the first piece of the text, and summarises the differences between then and now. Whilst billions of people still live below the breadline in places like Sub-Saharan Africa, South-East Asia, and Latin America (Shah, 2013), the spread of wealth has changed in a way that we are able to track the changes by consumption. The countries colonised by European countries that were noted by Blainey and Crone as having been struggling with food are, from the 1800’s onwards, generally some of the best fed people in the world It is important to note the correlation between the countries that were starving then and now, because it could not be a coincidence that the countries that are struggling now were colonised by the countries afore mentioned during the 1800’s period. As is common knowledge, one of the reasons for this massive turn around is the extensive sapping of resources from societies that were still largely agrarian. This hindrance for colonised countries, at such an important time in the world (immediately prior to population boom and globalisation on an unprecedented level), meant that while the populations in these countries began to grow exponentially the agricultural production simply
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