Agricultural enlightenment : knowledge, technology, and by Peter M. Jones

By Peter M. Jones

Agricultural Enlightenment explores the modernization of the agricultural economic climate in Europe in the course of the lens of the Enlightenment. It makes a speciality of the second one 1/2 the eighteenth century and emphasizes the function of valuable wisdom within the means of agrarian swap and agricultural improvement. As such it invitations fiscal historians to reply to the problem issued through Joel Mokyr to seem past quantitative info and to take heavily the argument that cultural components, generally understood, could have aided or hindered the evolution of agriculture within the early smooth interval ("what humans knew and believed" had an immediate pertaining to their monetary habit [Mokyr, The Enlightened Economy]). proof in aid of the concept that a comfortably available provide of agricultural wisdom is helping to provide an explanation for the trajectory of the agricultural economic climate is drawn from all the nations of Europe. The ebook comprises circumstances experiences of fast rural modernization in Scotland and Denmark the place Agricultural Enlightenment was once speedily by means of full-scale Agricultural Revolution.

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Indeed, commerce and manufacturing activity helped to pay for additional human subsistence that agriculture on its own could not always be relied on to provide. It is true, as Istvan Hont15 has pointed out, that Smith substantially re-conceived the relationship between town and country: instead of an efficient surplus-producing agriculture supporting an expanding urban population, he envisaged the lead role in the growth trajectory being taken by urban manufacturing. 16 The pure theory of physiocracy was scarcely ever acted on.

34 The et ceteras are revealing. They implied some doubt as to where the boundaries of his subject really lay. For Young, however, the problem lay much deeper: ‘of all the branches of human knowledge, I know not any that rests upon more uncertain foundations than that of political economy. 35 Once industrial society had started to take on visible shape in the early decades of the nineteenth century hand-in-hand with a more theoretical economics capable of explaining the development, these doubts would be allayed.

54 The pioneer attempt to analyse in a systematic manner the composition of soils and to tabulate the results according to fertility value (see pp. 55 Yet the transition to a science-based discipline in the first half of the nineteenth century was not automatic, nor was it uneventful. We have already noted how the ideological ‘fall-out’ of the French Revolution across Europe tended to curtail utopianism in the agrarian sphere. This almost certainly speeded up the acceptance of agronomy as a distinct branch of knowledge, whether among rulers and statesmen or the educated but now somewhat jaundiced public.

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