Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Technology, Land of Agriculture and People


Technology, Land of Agriculture and People
How does the succession of various agricultural technology clusters since the early 19th century relate to global change?

First, there can be no doubt that without technology driven improvements in agricultural productivity the global population could not have increased to its present size to almost six billion.

Technological change led to far-reaching increases in mainland and labor productivity, thereby decoupling population growth from the expansion of agriculture land, and freeing people for other economic activities and enabling urbanization.

Agriculture has become truly gigantic. About 1,500 million ha of arable land are cultivated globally, Grain production is around 2000 million tons, and the number of domesticated animals surpasses 15 billion, i.e. about three animals for each person.

Second, the successive transportation revolutions from steam locomotive and ships to today’s systems of road and air transport have increased the spatial division of labor.

This has enabled the expansion of large scale export oriented production and trade, including agriculture products and the increasing concentration of people in urban areas.

Perhaps the most pervasive changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution are the increases in spatial density and productivity arising from transportation systems that cover ever larger distances at ever lower costs.

Until recently, patterns of technological change have been geographically diverse. It has only been during the last 50 years that technologies have become truly global, and also only in this period that agricultural and productivity increases have outpaced population growth.
Technology, Land of Agriculture and People
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