Friday, September 11, 2015

Farmers Don't Get No Respect

Brad DeLong has a list of six things people in the year 3000 will remember about the last 300 years and the next 300 year:

"Universal literacy.
  1. Artificial birth control.
  2. The coming of the Replicator--or close enough--for foodstuffs and for things made out of metal, wood, plastic, and sound.
  3. The coming of information technology in whatever its flowering will be.
  4. The death of global distance.
  5. Plus whatever disasters lurk at the bottom of not the Pandoran but the Promethean Box of 1700-2300.
His list is in response to another economist with a different list.

Neither list credits the importance of the various agricultural revolutions, both as enabling the explosion of population and the expansion of non-subsistence labor, the ability to spend time on things other than feeding and clothing oneself..  Agriculture these days is such a small part of the economy it doesn't get much attention in public discussions.

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