A History of World Agriculture
From the Neolithic Age to the Current Crisis
A History of World Agriculture begins with the emergence of agriculture after thousands of years in which human societies had depended on hunting and gathering. It shows 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 capitalism, 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 on the planet the farming methods that they find most profitable. Mazoyer and Roudart propose an alternative global strategy that can safeguard the economies of the poor countries, reinvigorate the global economy, and create a livable future for all.
Table of Contents
Introduction * Evolution, Agriculture, History *The Neolithic Agricultural Revolution * Systems of Slash-and-Burn Agriculture in Forest Environments: Deforestation and the Formation of Post-Forest Agrarian Systems * The Evolution of Hydraulic Agrarian Systems in the Nile Valley * The Inca Agrarian System: A Mountain Agrarian System * Agrarian Systems Based on Fallowing and Animal-Drawn Cultivation with the Ard in the Temperate Regions: The Agricultural Revolution 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 * Agrarian Systems without Fallowing in the Temperate Regions: The First Agricultural Revolution of Modern Times * The Mechanization of Animal-Drawn Cultivation and the Transportation Revolution: The First World Crisis of Agricultural Overproduction * The Second Agricultural Revolution of Modern Times: Motorization, Mechanization, Synthetic Fertilizers, Seed Selection, and Specialization * Agrarian Crisis and General Crisis * Conclusion
Marcel Mazoyer is professor of comparative agriculture and agricultural development at the National Institute of Agronomy (INA) in Paris, where he succeeded Ren� Dumont. He is author of several books on the history of agriculture and has worked on agricultural policy in more than 20 countries. Laurence Roudart is an agricultural engineer and researcher at the INA and has consulted widely in Africa and Asia.
A magnificent book, by far the best ever produced on the subject.' Samir Amin 'Replete with rich reflections on agriculture . . . It is a testament to the enormous erudition of its authors and a defense of peasant economies victimized by neoliberal policies.' Le Matin (France) 'This book is a major contribution to the analysis of agricultural history as well as to reflection on the long term economic, social and environmental development of society.' Michel Griffon, Hum Ecol (2008)