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  • #31
    Originally posted by Synapse View Post
    What is even there to fix, ren? All I'm seeing is "Creation's fertile lands tend to feed people better than Earth's analog lands". Which means more people can spend their time doing something other than farming.
    I really feel like this is the most important part. Agricultural technology being what it was in the Iron Age, most people grew food, and almost every state was centered in some way around optimizing their ability to grow moar food.

    What this does is it gives the lands of Creation a more productive agricultural base (more along the lines of, say, industrial revolution-tier without the commensurate improvements in mechanization that totally changed the world) so that there can be such a thing as cash crops, and nations, and hundreds of squabbling kingdoms and it isn't really a big deal to plop a Chiaroscuro-sized city anywhere on a major trade route that might support it, even if the agricultural technology of the period logically shouldn't support it. It also isn't a big deal to have role specialization (where you have butchers, and blacksmiths, and mayors) in a small town where they "shouldn't" be able to have such things.

    It also gives rise to the likes of the Icewalkers and 'Lil Suchi's Horde, who are varying flavors of herders and hunter-gatherers and have the numbers to build their own empires.

    As for the Blessed Isle's unbelievable fertility... do you have any idea how much cocaine and marijuana those people consume?

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    • #32
      For some hard real world numbers for comparison, Tokugawa era rice production started with about 862k hectares of rice producing land and averaged about 1.4 metric tons of rice produced per hectare. There was more ground used for other crops, potatoes, cucumbers, other grains, etc, these numbers are *just* the rice stats. By the end of the Tokugawa period over 3M hectares were being used to produce rice, and each of those hectares produced in excess of 2 metric tons. For comparison, a notational koku was worth about 5 bushels, or about equal to 180 liters of rice. This was notationally a year's worth of rice for an adult male, though the consumer would expand this with other crop foods, and mostly fish based protein. At a conversion rate of a bushel being 0.025 metric tons, this is pretty close to 56 bushels of rice per hectare, or enough to feed 11 people in a growing area slightly less than 2.5 acres. Garden vegetables would be exactly that, grown in small personal gardens, and much harder to keep track of as they weren't taxed. By the end of the Tokugawa each of those hectares could produce about 80 bushels, or enough to feed 16 people for a year, again before up to 80% taxes.

      A village of 100 or 125 people could easily plant, raise and harvest an approximate square mile's worth of riceland (plus a buncha other crops in the area out to an actual mile radius from the village) annually, or 259 hectare's of riceland. Round it up (and down) just a bit, 260 hectares of riceland, 55 bushels/hectare, that's over 14k bushels (enough to feed 2860 people, give or take) of just rice annually. By the end of the Tokugawa that same area is producing closer to 21k (enough for around 4100 people) bushels of rice, plus other crops and animals, and the village itself in the center.

      And all of this is on a single harvest per year. Without any magic of any kind, including Thaumaturgy or Immaculates lording it over the local gods of Harvest or the Field. So much production that the koku was massively devalued. It was still 5 bushels of rice/koku, but was much less coin value. Sucked to be a Samurai on a fixed stipend for a while there, since you were paid in rice, but needed to buy gifts, sake, other foodstuffs, geisha, etc. in cash. But we aren't talking about the insanity of basing an entire financial system's on the rice standard instead of a gold, silver or (in Creation), Jade standard.

      Take so much as just the stated production capability of someplace like Greatforks, hyper-mystically enhanced with all the gods and Thaumaturgists, and slave labor, and I'm fairly certain, assuming they grew food crops instead of drugs, even one harvest should feed a fair chunk of the Scavenger Lands. Start with the best numbers from the Tokugawa and multiple by, what, three, maybe six? Per harvest. Five harvests annually, four of drugs and one of food, Greatforks ends up exporting a good amount of food (where? Most EVERYBODY grows food really well), and barely needs to import food-based luxuries. Five of actual food crops? Where the Malfeas do you store all the extra? In two years you have more storage silos than humans. In 100? Creation is BUILT on food storage silos.

      Hyperbole aside though, that is still a lot of food being grown annually by relatively not much man-power, even without magic. Throw even basic setting background magic in, holy hell.

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      • #33
        Yeah. So in Tokugawa period you needed about one peasant in ten people. Or maybe even just one in thirty according to statistics for the late Tokugawa period. But, historically speaking, what percentage of people lived in cities, and how many people lived in rural villages? In Tokugawa Japan?

        Edit: Apparently Tokugawa Japan had a peasant class of about 80% of the population. So, what did these guys do all day if about 3% or 4% of the population could feed everybody?
        And would there be really a big difference whether you need 0,5 % of the population to feed everybody or 5%?
        Last edited by Quaint; 04-08-2015, 07:48 AM.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Quaint View Post
          But, historically speaking, what percentage of people lived in cities, and how many people lived in rural villages? In Tokugawa Japan?
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edo_period

          "Below them the population was divided into four classes in a system known as mibunsei: the samurai on top (about 5% of the population) and the peasants (more than 80% of the population) on the second level. Below the peasants were the craftsmen, and even below them, on the fourth level, were the merchants. Only the peasants lived in the rural areas."

          Producing food is just part of the equation. Not having it spoiled or eaten by rats during transportation or storage is another part.

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          • #35
            Do you still count as a peasant if you're part of the rural scene of furniture manufacture, tool repair and small retail and entertainment outfits?

            I mean, bamboo-cutters, basket weavers and bowl makers are still living out in the countryside, even if some of their wares are transported to the cities, yes?

            I'd also say that even if a single person can do the farmwork necessary to feed ten people, that's still laborious and tedious; when you have large villages, you can have the richer villagers hiring the poorer ones to take on a lot of the field labouring, and their overall individual workload is much reduced.

            Apart from that, peasants have a lot of free time; spend a lot of time managing their affairs or conducting interpersonal relationships or diversifying their holdings or repairing their homes. Make hay while the sun shines and all that. Probably even experimenting with farming techniques.

            EDIT: Really, peasants aren't just producing food; they're producing basically all raw materials that urban artisans require, and often providing the first stage of their processing. That's a lot of work to spread around.
            Last edited by Isator Levi; 04-08-2015, 09:27 AM.


            I have approximate knowledge of many things.
            Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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            • #36
              The thing is, if one worker in the field can feed 30 people in the real world, then it doesn't matter that much if he can feed 100 or 200 people on the blessed isle. You can still have lots of rural villages and stuff. Even if agriculture is absurdly productive.
              There actually was never a real pressing need for 80 or 90 percent of the people being peasants. It was more a way of life, a mindset - subsistence economy and such. And you don't necessarily have to get rid of that just because agriculture is more effective.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Quaint View Post
                The thing is, if one worker in the field can feed 30 people in the real world
                I know what you mean here is invoking statistics as they play out in real life, but it's still funny to read this as drawing a distinction between agrarian areas and the "real world".


                I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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                • #38
                  I've just considered that my reading of that line in the book was based on a supposition that I've never exactly followed up on, so while we've got people who might know better here:

                  What does harvesting multiple crops of rice in a year mean?


                  I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                  Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

                    The cloak of Cynis Araka fluttered in the wind atop one of the Cynis towers in the imperial city. He glanced over at the sorcerer and his demon servant, who were sitting amidst a spiderweb of runes amd lines.

                    "How much longer?" He said, nervously plucking at the string of his power bow and fingering the blunted arrows he kept.

                    "Soon, not to worry." The demon replied "soon not a puff of smoke will enter or leave this city."

                    Then a cry came from the stairwell "My lord!" A breathless soldier came stumbling onto the platform "My lord, I think an exalt from house Ragara is leading a group of black helms up here, we couldn't stop them.""

                    A voice bellowed from the stairs "Lazy whoremongers!"

                    "Stuck up loan shark!" Araka shot back, firing twin ball-headed arrows at the foreheads of two advancing guards, causing the, to drunkenly slump against one another.

                    "It is done.." The sorcerer's eyes flashed.

                    Quick as a breeze through the trees Araka darted over to a massive mounted horn and blew hard into it. The deep ringing tone echoed through the city, signalling dozens, maybe hundreds, of massive braziers to ignite. Their smoked poured into the air, but hung low, filling the city. The Cynis dynast slumped to the floor and breathed deeply.

                    "The senate is going to have one hell of a day." He glanced over at his aid/retainer/bodyguard and pounded his fist as they both began to laugh.

                    This pleases Burning Feather


                    Malfeas F'Tagn - go check out my epic MLP/Exalted crossover "The Scroll of Exalted ponies" @ Fimfiction

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                      What does harvesting multiple crops of rice in a year mean?
                      You can sow and reap multiple times on the same patch. So basically, you need less land and the stored rice has less of a risk to spoil or be eaten by pests until the next batch.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Lundgren View Post
                        You can sow and reap multiple times on the same patch. So basically, you need less land and the stored rice has less of a risk to spoil or be eaten by pests until the next batch.
                        That means sequentially, yes?

                        Like, once one crop is harvested and the stubble cleared away, they can replant immediately?

                        Does it only count as growing and harvesting a second or third crop if it's planted on the same land in short order?

                        Is there any concept of planting groups in different patches of land at different periods, so that their harvest time is scattered, and you only have as much as you're able to harvest at a time? By which I mean, if you have 6 acres of land, but only have the labour to harvest 3 acres in short enough order to keep it from spoiling, that you plant 3 acres, wait a few months, and then plant the other 3 acres, and harvest them as they come up?

                        When I try reading stuff about this, I come across references to "winter wheat"; would harvesting that count as a second crop in the year? Would that be planted on the same land as the summer wheat, or is the point of it to have a crop growing ready for the winter or spring or whatever?

                        You know, a thing I've always been confused about farming... let's say you can nominally only plant one crop in the year, and it's going by that whole "plant in spring, harvest in autumn" deal... so what you harvest has to be a quantity sufficient to last the whole year, yes? So it's actually possible to store cereals that will keep until the next harvest?

                        How well are people eating under circumstances like this? Like, do they have to kind of ration it? Is that why famine was such a common pre-modern concern, or did that have more to do with bad harvests?

                        I think as I said earlier, I always assumed that three to five crops harvested a year ensured that there was an abundant and heavy food supply the whole year round, but every time I try to look for information that will give me a straight answer about how long food lasts, in terms of both spoilage and consumption, I come up short.


                        I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                        Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

                          That means sequentially, yes?

                          Like, once one crop is harvested and the stubble cleared away, they can replant immediately?

                          Does it only count as growing and harvesting a second or third crop if it's planted on the same land in short order?

                          Is there any concept of planting groups in different patches of land at different periods, so that their harvest time is scattered, and you only have as much as you're able to harvest at a time? By which I mean, if you have 6 acres of land, but only have the labour to harvest 3 acres in short enough order to keep it from spoiling, that you plant 3 acres, wait a few months, and then plant the other 3 acres, and harvest them as they come up?

                          When I try reading stuff about this, I come across references to "winter wheat"; would harvesting that count as a second crop in the year? Would that be planted on the same land as the summer wheat, or is the point of it to have a crop growing ready for the winter or spring or whatever?

                          You know, a thing I've always been confused about farming... let's say you can nominally only plant one crop in the year, and it's going by that whole "plant in spring, harvest in autumn" deal... so what you harvest has to be a quantity sufficient to last the whole year, yes? So it's actually possible to store cereals that will keep until the next harvest?

                          How well are people eating under circumstances like this? Like, do they have to kind of ration it? Is that why famine was such a common pre-modern concern, or did that have more to do with bad harvests?

                          I think as I said earlier, I always assumed that three to five crops harvested a year ensured that there was an abundant and heavy food supply the whole year round, but every time I try to look for information that will give me a straight answer about how long food lasts, in terms of both spoilage and consumption, I come up short.
                          A large part of it actually depends on preservation methods and what people have available. For example glass jarred preserves can last years, a properly tended yam barn can keep yams edible for months at least, dried and salted meats ect. In the north of Canada killing a deer and just keeping it under your front deck in the frost keeps it good enough to eat the whole winter.

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                          • #43
                            Cold is a way to preserve food, so places that can only grow food during the summer have one good thing going for them during winter.

                            Salt is a good way to preserve food, but one don't have to go as far as with Swedish fermented herrings, surströmming (there are youtube clips of people trying to eat it...).

                            If I recall correctly, both blueberries and lingonberries work as natural preservers.

                            So there is quite a few tricks people have figured out to preserve food (I'm curious how hold the "dried rice" we have today is, after all, if kept dry it really can be stored for a long time).

                            Hot climates which gives the oportunities of more harvests tend to increase how fast food gets spoiled.

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                            • #44
                              You also have to account for food that people intentionally don't eat. One handful of rice in every bushel is thrown into a fire, folks burn baskets of bread for their ancestors, that portion of the field you intentionally don't harvest because of the field god - hell, Ahlat demands the sacrifice of one hundred head of cattle. Looks like a fair bit of Creation's food supply ends up a charred, inedible mess.
                              Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 04-08-2015, 08:17 PM.


                              He/him

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                                You also have to account for food that people intentionally don't eat. One handful of rice in every bushel is thrown into a fire, folks burn baskets of bread for their ancestors, that portion of the field you intentionally don't harvest because of the field god - hell, Ahlat demands the sacrifice of one hundred head of cattle. Looks like a fair bit of Creation's food supply ends up a charred, inedible mess.
                                When looking at the factors influencing production on the Blessed Isle, a friend and I decided that there would have to be more of this than actual food consumption for sustenance going on, and you'd still be dealing with overabundance and the related economic issues. Onigato's post was solid - you would have to be looking for ways to waste food, or the food storage buildings would crowd out people very quickly.

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