The Rice Economies / Edition 1

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The contrast in the rate of growth between Western and Eastern societies since 1800 has caused Asian societies to be characterized as backward and resistant to change, though until 1600 or so certain Asian states were technologically far in advance of Europe. The Rice Economies, drawing on original source materials, examines patterns of technological and social evolution specific to East-Asian wet-rice economies in order to clarfiy some general historical trends in economic development.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520086203
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 4/19/1994
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 284
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Francesca Bray is Professor of Anthropology at University of California, Santa Barbara and author of Agriculture, Volume VI, part 2 in Joseph Needham's Science and Civilization in China (1984).

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Table of Contents

List of figures and tables
Chinese dynasties
Japanese eras
Introduction 1
Eurocentric models of historical change 1
An alternative model 5
The significance of a model of development for rice economies 5
1 The rice-plant: diversity and intensification 8
The origins of Asian rice 8
Natural characteristics of rice 11
Selection techniques 19
2 Paths of technical development 27
Building new fields 28
Raising yields 42
Labour productivity and the mechanisation question 54
3 Water control 62
Water control and institutions: the debate 63
A technical classification of water control systems 68
Gravity-fed irrigation networks 69
Ponds, tanks and reservoirs 71
Contour canals 80
'Creek' irrigation 90
Pump irrigation schemes 100
Patterns of growth and change 105
4 Rice and the wider economy 113
'Skill-oriented' and 'mechanical' technologies 113
The specificity of wet-rice agriculture 116
Uniformity and systemic change 119
Monoculture and markets 124
Economic diversification 131
Petty commodity production and rural industrialisation 134
5 Development 140
Some basic issues 141
Labour and capital 147
The historical experience: the predominance of labour and the 'Japanese model' 148
Choice of technological inputs 155
Capital investment 158
Productivity of labour and capital 163
Expertise and participation 166
6 Peasant, landlord and state: changes in relations of production 170
Conflict, cooperation and control 170
Historical changes in relations of production 175
'Feudal' relations and frontier zones 175
Smallholder economies: expansion and stagnation 179
Egalitarianism or differentiation: the impact of capitalism 182
Land and landlessness 185
'Land to the tiller' 190
Group farming 193
Socialist land reform 194
Appendix A: The Western model 198
Appendix B: The historical experience of China 203
Appendix C: The Japanese experience 210
Notes 218
References 228
Glossary 248
Index 250
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