Pseudo Book Review

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Wolfbelly
 

Pseudo Book Review

Unread postby Wolfbelly » Mon Jan 03, 2005 2:57 pm

www.alanmacfarlane.com/savage/book.html

I started reading this book a little bit before heading off to Edmonton for holiday goodness. It's basically about the Malthusian trap and how England and Japan were the only two places to get out of it. Also, how incredibly chancy and dificult it was to evade the various checks of the Malthusian trap AND develop into an industrious nation and such.

But first, what the bloody hell is the Malthusian trap? Well, some guy called Malthus realized in the late 1700s that population growth pretty much expanded to fit what the food production allowed, and since it always expanded to fit the allowable amounts, population was somewhat doomed to forever remain at a agrarian subsistence level. The guy who wrote the book also points out that a nation living at subsistence levels is VERY susceptible to crop failures, and that if population expands to fit the agricultural output of a good year, then a bad year will result in massive famine. Also, there were things like war and disease which kinda made things all bad and such. I haven't actuallyr ead the full book, but from what I did read, it's awesome.

Anyway, the book itself is, as I said earlier, about how England and Japan managed to evade this trap and experience an industrial revolution. You see, with normal landlocked nations, there's an extreme difficulty in advancing in a stable fashion because when you have everything, everyone who has nothing around you wants what you have. And thus, wars occur. Well, England and Japan pretty easily evaded this problem by being island nations. Japan hardly fought wars that endangered tons of lives ... ever, and England fought all their wars on the mainland. Not on their homeland. Leading up to the industrial revolutions within each nation, both countries experience a few generations worth of low population growth, which gave the haves more to have, which allowed the the opportunity to not concern themselves so much with things like 'farming' and 'starving' and more with things like education, art, etc. etc..

Umm, yeah. I pretty much just wanted to jizz about how cool this book is, and now that I've done that, I'll open the thread to you philistines.


EKDS5k
 

Re: Pseudo Book Review

Unread postby EKDS5k » Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:09 am

Now, I'm no history expert (in fact it took two tries to even spell "history"), but I'm pretty sure that Japan industrialised because their Emperor said "we're industrialising" and starting importing a bunch of stuff from Europe and North America.

As for the "no wars" thing, that's...hardly true. Prior to about 1600-ish, it was pretty much constant civil war, until the whole country was united under one Shogun, and they spent the next 200 or so years content with just 'being.' So the 'haves' had pretty much everything there was to have (art, money, culture, education, etc), and the 'have nots' generally had enough food to make it through the year. But they didn't really develop anything, or advance anything on their own. Then, when whatsisname showed up and started firing his cannons, they basically said "Oh shit, we'd better catch up!" and started importing a bunch of experts, who by that time already had figured out the whole "industrial revolution" thing, and they started buying stuff from them.

And didn't the United States have their own industrial revolution?


Wolfbelly
 

Re: Pseudo Book Review

Unread postby Wolfbelly » Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:35 am

I'll comment on this later. Once I've, y'know, actually finished reading the book. <p>Image</p>

FlamingDeth
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Re: Pseudo Book Review

Unread postby FlamingDeth » Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:51 am

We Americans proudly stole our industrial revolution straight from England.


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Ganonfro
 
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Re: Pseudo Book Review

Unread postby Ganonfro » Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:24 pm

More like bought it from England, but close enough.

Yeah... We did buy that huge bit of land called the Luisiana purchase, which completely gave us the land we needed to just farm food on... It being the bread belt of the continental U.S. and all. When we wanted/grew greedy for more, there's that whole taking over the rest of the area due to "MANIFEST DESTINY." Gotta love over ambitious American rednecks who thought God deemed us to conquer everything from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

...But, England, as well as the other nations in Europe, definitely made a bit of a profit, selling us technology for better farming equipment, before we had managed to make new stuff ourselves, if my knowledge suits me. I don't remember any mass crop failures in the US itself, the only one that resulted in people coming to the US that I know of is the Irish Potato famine... Though I think most of the floods of immigration in the 1800's-1900's were due to famines.... Meh.


FlamingDeth
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Re: Pseudo Book Review

Unread postby FlamingDeth » Thu Jan 06, 2005 2:50 pm

I'm actually refering to the fact that some guy in England memorized the schematics for a textiles factory (since there's no way that they'd let him actually take the technology to those upstart Americans) and went to America, where...y'know...he made one. <p>
<hr width="70%"><center>This month's "Transformer of the Month" is Grimlock in a Santa hat! He's quite jolly.</center></p>


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