The Land

employment by sector in South Carolina
How important is farming to the economy today?

During the industrial revolution the role of agriculture in the economy was changing
Science and technology led to dramatic improvements in agriculture in the 19th century
British farmland
Note Hobsbawm's statistics on the structure of agriculture in Britain in 1851 (p. 173)

Corn Laws 1815-1846--tariff that restricted imports of all grain--protected farmers somewhat, but the real protection was high shipping costs.  Because factory owners gained political clout the corn laws were abolished in 1846.
In the 1870s and 1880s transportation was good enough to bring cheap food imports to Britain, which helped workers but hurt farmers



Liebig's
          barrel analogy
How did the Industrial Revolution change agriculture?

Scientific study of fertilizer and new methods of production--improved yield per acre to feed a growing population

hors-drawn reaper
a self-binding reaper for harvesting grain in Scotland
Mechanization--how many farmers needed to grow a given amount of food
agricultural steam engine
Industrial revolution led to science and technology that made agriculture more efficient
industrial revolution reduced the cost of transporting food
Industrial revolution reduced the political clout of farmers and landowners--factories become the larger part of the economy
also made farmers more capitalistic and more willing to innovate

Does it matter if a country becomes dependent on imported food?

Question to ask about technological and economic change: Who benefits and who is hurt?
How is this an issue of sustainability?


this page written and copyright  Pamela E. Mack
last updated 9/13/17