The plough did more than create the underpinning of civilisation – with all its benefits and inequities. Different types of plough led to different types of civilisation.
The plough was a simple yet transformative technology. It was the plough that kick-started civilisation in the first place – that, ultimately, made our modern economy possible. But the plough did more than create the underpinning of civilisation – with all its benefits and inequities. Different types of plough led to different types of civilisation.
Presenter: Tim Harford
Producer: Ben Crighton
(Photo: Farmer ploughing field, Credit: Shutterstock)
Sources and related links
Lewis Dartnell - The Knowledge: How to rebuild our world after an apocalypse, London: Vintage, 2015
James Burke - Connections, London: Macmillan, 1978, also a BBC documentary
James Burke - The Economy if Cities, New York: Vintage, 1970
Ian Morris - Foragers, Farmers and Fossil Fuels, Oxford: Princeton University, 2015
Branko Milanovic, Peter H. Lindert, Jeffrey G. Williamson - 'Measuring Ancient Inequality' ,NBER Working Paper No. 13550, October 2007
Lynn White - Medieval Technology and Social Change, Oxford University Press, 1962
TB Andersen; PS Jensen; C Skovsgaard - 'The Heavy Plow and the Agricultural Revolution in Medieval Europe', Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 118, No. 1, 2016