Sweetness And Power Essay

1968 Words8 Pages
	Sweetness and Power is a historical study of sugar and its affect on society and economy since it was first discovered. Sugar has had a large impact on society and the economy that is not noticeable unless thoroughly studied. The following is an analysis of the work done by Sidney W. Mintz in his attempt to enlighten the "educated layperson".

	Mintz uses a very basic system for organizing the tremendous amount of data found within in the book. The book is divided into 5 chapters: "Food, Sociality, and Sugar", "Production", "Consumption", "Power", and "Eating and Being". Each of these chapters discusses different
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These few lines will be extensively discussed and analyzed in the remainder of the book as the topics for chapters two through five.

	Another important idea proposed by Mintz is that sweetness is naturally desired by humans. He supports this by reporting on the work of researchers studying infants in the United States and how they are drawn to sweetness without having prior experience with it. He also states on page 15 that Alaskan Eskimos "consume sucrose despite the discomforts associated with the offending items."

	Chapter two, as the name implies, discusses the steps taken in the production of sugar, and how those steps evolved and spread throughout the world. Mintz begins on page 19 by giving the reader the basic definition of sucrose, "an organic chemical of the carbohydrate family." He continues by describing the history of sugar cane and the history of production. He then goes on to describe the economics of sugar production and how it directly affected world economics. A very important fact discussed in this chapter relates sugar to the evolution of capitalism. Mintz contends that as sugar becomes less of a symbol of power and more of a common item for the common person, that mercantilism begins to die out. As this happens, capitalism begins to play more heavily on the
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