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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)

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9 minutes

Last on

Mon 23 Oct 2017 03:50GMT

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

Jared Diamond - 'The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race', Discover Magazine, May 1987

 

 

Broadcasts

  • Sat 21 Oct 2017 02:50GMT
  • Sat 21 Oct 2017 19:50GMT
  • Mon 23 Oct 2017 03:50GMT

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