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The survival of the human race since earliest times has depended on its exploitation of the land through agriculture. Mark Tauger looks at farming in early civilizations - from ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt to early China and India - and asks how it is that since farmers have played a critical role in the fate of the species that they have never enjoyed high social status.
Following medieval farming through to imperialism, agricultural revolution, then to decolonisation, the Depression and the Cold War, this wide-ranging survey brings the story of farming right up to the present day. It examines contentious current issues such as contrasting aspects of overproduction and famine, the role of the World Bank and the IMF, environmental issues and GMO.
Accessibly written and following a chronological structure, this introduction illuminates key themes such as economic theories of agriculture, the demands of a growing population, how labour is organised and the political and cultural impact of agriculture throughout the world.