Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Farming in Creation

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Quaint
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Isator Levi
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Lundgren
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Quaint
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Onigato
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Guancyto
    replied
    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?

    Leave a comment:


  • Ren9077
    replied
    Originally posted by Quaint View Post
    Come on Ren. I'm with you about the realm probably not growing much more food than it needs. Maybe the average commoner eats meat twice a week and boom you tripple the need for grain. I just think you are overstating the effects of fertile lands. Sometimes you even make it sound as though the realm should be in economic trouble just because it is fertile, which is bogus of course. The number given that 30% are used for agriculture - I would'nt dwell on that for long. Its not a very sound number, especially since the amount of arable land probably isn't that big in the land of mountains.
    I think the basic message is: the land is fertile, the average peasant is very effective in producing food, so more and bigger cities, more complex societies and much more varied jobs. Compared to, say, medieval europe.
    And even in "dark ages" europe, 1 peasant working the fields could feed maybe 6 or 7 other people, at least. Still, you had 90% of the people or more living in the countryside. Why? I honestly don't know. Maybe you need more people than just peasants for a proper settlement. Maybe the economy was terribly inefficient. Probably both and more reasons.
    Also, we know relatively little about how agriculture is done on the blessed isle. Five crops per year sounds so very good, but real world soil wouldn't sustain a single type of crop for very long, at least without modern fertilizer. So they need to use crop rotation or advanced fertilisation techniques, but I am not sure they are that advanced. The older method for refreshing the soil is leaving it alone for a few years, letting weeds and stuff grow, just waiting.
    Anyways, exalted isn't very good at economics. It's more about awesome dudes duking it out than about figuring out how much arabel land is required to feed the blessed isle. So maybe just use the core message: fertile lands - less peasants needed - more of every other job - more cities - complex societies.
    That's the thing, though - when Exalted gives numbers like this, it's supposed to be sound. That's been a thing forever - the people behind it prided themselves on a setting created by history/sociology/etc wonks. So when we get numbers detailing the percentage of land devoted to agriculture, or the number of harvests per year, it's supposed to make sense. This specific bit, however, doesn't.

    Yes, massively overproducing a commodity has detrimental effects on the economy as it relates to that commodity. Even more so when it's a staple. The price you can sell the commodity for plummets to meet the cost of production, and suddenly it's not worth anyone's time to produce. So everybody wants out of the game, except some people have to continue producing, because it's something that SOMEBODY has to be producing... Rebalancing production to demand from a situation of extreme unbalance is ugly. Instead, you could be devoting the resources previously allocated to the production of that commodity - in this case, land and labor - to the production of a different commodity, preserving the value of the original commodity while getting a second thing of value.

    Due to the fact that the Realm has been doing this for hundreds of years, it can safely be assumed that the peasantry understands how to preserve soil under the conditions the Realm has created, and that their agricultural techniques have progressed beyond "put seed in dirt." Given that, the land area involved, five harvests, and guaranteed weather support, the Realm HAS to have ridiculous overproduction problems.

    Leave a comment:


  • goldfaction
    replied

    Originally posted by Oriares View Post
    Why wouldn't you get "peasants"?
    Because that's kind of a feature of a society where the vast majority of people are farmers and even then it's hard to support a small non-farming upper class.


    Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post
    I think even if the long term yields might be inconsistent with real world societies, it doesn't necessarily mean "industrialization" or anything like that comes into play. I think it's viable* to see industrialization as the outcome of increased access to energy sources and trends in science, machining, trade, land ownership.
    I agree... but it still wouldn't look like the canon Realm. Probably a society with tons of craftsmen/artisans, guilds being a huge social force (probably tied to patrician/Dynast houses or something, in the Realm...) Not lots of peasants.

    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
    I also find something erroneous in what seems like an assumption that pre-industrial farming was uniform throughout time and space.
    Not so much that, as that this is way better than even the best real world pre-industrial times/places. Rice farming is already super productive...

    Leave a comment:


  • Quaint
    replied
    Come on Ren. I'm with you about the realm probably not growing much more food than it needs. Maybe the average commoner eats meat twice a week and boom you tripple the need for grain. I just think you are overstating the effects of fertile lands. Sometimes you even make it sound as though the realm should be in economic trouble just because it is fertile, which is bogus of course. The number given that 30% are used for agriculture - I would'nt dwell on that for long. Its not a very sound number, especially since the amount of arable land probably isn't that big in the land of mountains.
    I think the basic message is: the land is fertile, the average peasant is very effective in producing food, so more and bigger cities, more complex societies and much more varied jobs. Compared to, say, medieval europe.
    And even in "dark ages" europe, 1 peasant working the fields could feed maybe 6 or 7 other people, at least. Still, you had 90% of the people or more living in the countryside. Why? I honestly don't know. Maybe you need more people than just peasants for a proper settlement. Maybe the economy was terribly inefficient. Probably both and more reasons.
    Also, we know relatively little about how agriculture is done on the blessed isle. Five crops per year sounds so very good, but real world soil wouldn't sustain a single type of crop for very long, at least without modern fertilizer. So they need to use crop rotation or advanced fertilisation techniques, but I am not sure they are that advanced. The older method for refreshing the soil is leaving it alone for a few years, letting weeds and stuff grow, just waiting.
    Anyways, exalted isn't very good at economics. It's more about awesome dudes duking it out than about figuring out how much arabel land is required to feed the blessed isle. So maybe just use the core message: fertile lands - less peasants needed - more of every other job - more cities - complex societies.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ren9077
    replied
    Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
    The Realm very isn't interested in bettering the lives of its peasants - indeed, there are important religious proscriptions for the peasants to labor in the fields, rather than be off doing other things.
    Does the Realm have anything against the prosperity of the Realm itself, aristocracy included?

    Leave a comment:


  • AnubisXy
    replied
    The Realm very isn't interested in bettering the lives of its peasants - indeed, there are important religious proscriptions for the peasants to labor in the fields, rather than be off doing other things.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ren9077
    replied
    Originally posted by Kyeudo View Post

    You are forgetting that as food prices drop, the value of growing food also drops. Delicacies, textiles, dyes, drugs, and other cash crops would become more competitive, stabilizing the price of food and providing continued reasons to work in agriculture.
    I'm hardly forgetting that. However, I'm also not forgetting the fact that even prosperous peoples in the past have had their economies shifted by great agricultural success, and that's without the influence of five growing seasons per year and guaranteed favorable weather.

    Originally posted by Kyeudo View Post
    Well-fed poverty pretty much describes the state of most of the Blessed Isle's peasants.
    Sustaining that state is both unfeasible and undesirable. Shifting resources away from agriculture and toward something else that's more useful than overaggressive agricultural production WOULD happen.

    Leave a comment:


  • Kyeudo
    replied
    Originally posted by Ren9077 View Post
    Actually, I did misread Quaint. I thought that said "75% in cities, the rest in the country." The actual quote is better. My fault for reading too quickly. Was due to be running errands.

    75% of the population supported by agricultural work in a situation with 30% of a major continent devoted to agriculture, five harvests a year, favorable weather guaranteed, is still a problem, though, because the availability of food in such a scenario is sky-high. Prices would therefore be super low. The end result is a really odd brand of well-fed poverty being the predominant situation in the Realm. That would lead to rapid urbanization. The demographic shift would be enormous, and 30% of the Blessed Isle would not be dedicated to agriculture for long.
    You are forgetting that as food prices drop, the value of growing food also drops. Delicacies, textiles, dyes, drugs, and other cash crops would become more competitive, stabilizing the price of food and providing continued reasons to work in agriculture. Well-fed poverty pretty much describes the state of most of the Blessed Isle's peasants.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ren9077
    replied
    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.
    Why is it "very difficult" to manage five harvests per year without "significantly more manpower than 75%"?
    Actually, I did misread Quaint. I thought that said "75% in cities, the rest in the country." The actual quote is better. My fault for reading too quickly. Was due to be running errands.

    75% of the population supported by agricultural work in a situation with 30% of a major continent devoted to agriculture, five harvests a year, favorable weather guaranteed, is still a problem, though, because the availability of food in such a scenario is sky-high. Prices would therefore be super low. The end result is a really odd brand of well-fed poverty being the predominant situation in the Realm. That would lead to rapid urbanization. The demographic shift would be enormous, and 30% of the Blessed Isle would not be dedicated to agriculture for long.

    Leave a comment:


  • Synapse
    replied
    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.
    Why is it "very difficult" to manage five harvests per year without "significantly more manpower than 75%"?

    Leave a comment:

Working...
X