The Rice Economies: Technology and Development in Asian Societies

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University of California Press, May 3, 1994 - History - 271 pages
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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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Contents

The riceplant diversity and intensification
8
Natural characteristics of rice
11
Selection techniques
19
Paths of technical development
27
Building new fields
28
Raising yields
42
Labour productivity and the mechanisation question
54
Water Control
62
Some basic issues
141
Labour and capital
147
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
Peasant landlord and state changes in relations of production
170

the debate
63
A technical classification of water control systems
68
Gravityfed irrigation networks
69
Ponds tanks and reservoirs
71
Contour canals
80
Creek irrigation
90
Pump irrigation schemes
100
Patterns of growth and change
105
Rice and the wider economy
113
The specificity of wetrice agriculture
116
Uniformity and systemic change
119
Monoculture and markets
124
Economic diversification
131
Petty commodity production and rural industrialisation
134
Development
140
Historical changes in relations of production
175
expansion and stagnation
179
the impact of capitalism
182
Land and landlessness
185
Land to the tiller
190
Group farming
193
Socialist land reform
194
The Western model
198
The historical experience of China
203
The Japanese experience
210
Notes
218
References
228
Glossary
248
Index
250
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About the author (1994)

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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