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Farming in Creation

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  • goldfaction
    started a topic Farming in Creation

    Farming in Creation

    From the 2E Core:

    "Most areas can harvest three crops of rice a year, while the Blessed Isle and the Scavenger Lands bring in five rice crops in the most fertile areas. This vast bounty encourages large and complicated societies, for one peasant can nourish many people with her labor."

    Yeah, the year is longer, but STILL. That really bugs me, because under those conditions you won't get "peasants", or anything like a pre-industrial society at all.

    I think this should be toned down a lot.

  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Originally posted by Erinys
    You mean prevent them from being exploitable, or keep them exploitable?
    Keep them from being exploited by the Scarlet Dynasty. Exploitation of the masses is a monopoly of the state. Incidentally, I find indications in the Realm's fiscal policy intended to prevent the Dragon Blooded from consolidating their assets into what we would call big business.

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  • The Revenge of TV Head
    replied
    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

    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?
    If it's a good harvest and the people know how to preserve it? Pretty damn good. If not...well shit.

    Leave a comment:


  • Erinys
    replied
    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
    I think something similar happened in the early days of Communist China? I don't know the period very well.
    The Cultural Revolution, but that involved a sort-of-mandated migration. As with many things in Commuist China, it wasn't driven by economic necessity.

    Which is the sort of illogical, state-mandated thing I was thinking would be necessary to keep the Blessed Isle running anything like what we're talking about here. I was also thinking about that one famine in China where the state mandated a really bad food-production strategy that caused unnecessary mass starvation. I mean the Realm would be doing the opposite.

    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
    stuff
    Your ideas (ignoring the specific numbers in the corebook) seems more-or-less plausible.


    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
    keeping the cities from becoming unmanageable or creating a circumstance in which the poor can be exploited as enormous work forces by the Scarlet Dynasty.
    This part I can't parse. You mean prevent them from being exploitable, or keep them exploitable?

    Leave a comment:


  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Yeah, I meant spreading out from the cities. Like what happened in the latter days of the Roman Empire; one of the most basic things that led to the fall of the city was how the administration couldn't bring in food anymore, so huge numbers abandoned the city to start tilling the soil.

    Although that would have been a case where people did live in lone homesteads, but the initial principle is the same.

    I think something similar happened in the early days of Communist China? I don't know the period very well.

    Speaking of Rome, I imagine that a lot of that cultivated lowland forms Dynast estates, in which the cultivation takes the form of keeping the thing pristinely trimmed or with artistic gardens, with maybe the occasional cash crop or valuable herd or personal luxury orchard, but the land's capacity to provide staple foods goes unrealised. It's probably the fate of those lands where the Dynasts are skipping serfdom and just kicking the villagers out.

    Still, continuing to think about the implications of the prices... still disregarding the figures given in the Second Edition core, I still think there would be something viable in the idea that relatively low prices combined with high fertility means that the peasants are kept poor even while producing enough to supply the regional markets (making it harder for them to acquire informal systems of land ownership in which they can exclude the poorest people), while also ensuring that the poor remain in villages and eke out a living from the land, keeping the cities from becoming unmanageable or creating a circumstance in which the poor can be exploited as enormous work forces by the Scarlet Dynasty.

    The policies described in Manacle and Coin, figured against certain comparable philosophies in real life, seem to be about maintaining the independence of the peasants from the wealthy (and keeping their communities isolated from one another) while ensuring they remain subject to the state, and productive enough to keep the apparatus of the state and the classes that supply the wealthy with luxuries functional.

    I don't think food is actively and deliberately destroyed, but I think the surpluses might be sufficient that at least some of it goes to waste, which helps keep the farmers at the subsistence level while giving them little cause for rebellion.

    It's a balancing act between ensuring that hardly anybody starves while also ensuring that nobody can make a fortune off of producing food.

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  • Erinys
    replied
    Ah, when you talked of them spreading out I thought you meant going into isolated places.

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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    I think isolated farm means the kind of thing you had in the American frontier; a lone farmhouse, miles away from anybody else, in which you cultivate everything that you can survey. That's distinct from villages using an open field system, in which the poorest locals can still scrape by on the tiny plots right outside of their cottage, have a pig and a few goats to raise on the common pasture, and provide much needed labour for the farmers lucky enough to have rights to a few dozen acres.

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  • TGUEIROS
    replied
    I've been reading the thread and am wandering if the material that is being referenced explicitly states that those 30% are used on rice. From what I understood 30% is arable and/or farmed, but numbers weren't given on what percent of that is used on staple crops and what percent is used in cash crops, be they food, fiber, or other uses (essential and vegetable oils, drugs and fuels). Maybe out of those 30% only 5-10% are used for basic food crops and the rest are luxury items used for internal markets or trade. I see the Realm as being a great consumer of spices, silk, oils, drugs and myriad other items that are far less productive on the land x product ratio. Some of these items my require permanent use of the land, such as orchards and can't be cycled to produce food in the off seasons.

    Maybe you just need to play with that, 30% is farmlands, ok. But its not 30% rice patties or corn fields.

    Leave a comment:


  • Erinys
    replied
    And again, that doesn't fit with the low population and the statement that there are no such things as isolated farms.

    Leave a comment:


  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Wouldn't the idea that you get more food out of less land mean that any given amount of land can support more people, so more and more people spread out into the countryside where they can feed themselves on minimal plots of land? This seems like the kind of logic that says that an Irish family being able to live off of the potatoes you could cultivate on tiny plots of land should have led to an emancipation of the agrarian class.

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  • Erinys
    replied
    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
    Reading some more stuff branching away from Wikipedia article about the open field system.

    For instance, the idea that a family would need about ten acres to rely on the land for their livelihood.

    As well as the concept of the "Malthusian trap", the idea that technological advances that increase population number but not actual standard of living mean that there is stagnancy in incomes.

    Depending on how that intersects with the Blessed Isle, it might allow for the idea of most people being farmers even when there is enough food to allow for population growth.

    I mean, people have repeatedly talked about enough people to force industrialisation, but... the Realm doesn't have the technology or the political context for that. Why should abundant people go off to the city? Property and lifestyle there is more expensive, and there won't be any actual jobs for you.
    Alright, but in that case they would reduce their labor and produce less plant food. Either they'd start producing other stuff like cash crops or meat or crafts or alcohol, or (since apparently tons of jobs are just illegal in the rural villages!) have more leisure time. Leisure would probably result in something else happening (sex, theatre, legal crafting, sports, whatever) which might be production of a different sort. But they wouldn't bother to make excess food.

    Which means that either the number of harvests, or the acerage under cultivation, would decrease. And again the result would not be the same as the numbers in the books.

    (It's already been said by others that exporting all of it wouldn't work, and in any case the Threshold societies would look different if it did work.)

    The only thing I could imagine would be a top-down command economy in which the Empress demands mountains of food be burned or left lying around to rot. I don't know if the books paint the Realm as the type of command economy that can do that, nor what the Empress (or local House leader, etc.) would gain from mountains of rotting rice. Is this supposed to be some sort of idealized expression of the Immaculate hierarchy claptrap, where peasants are proven to be incapable of anything except producing grain? Does the Order teach peasants to take pride in how much food they can afford to throw away? Does the Imperial tax agency have an actual use for the stuff?

    It would be hilarious if the Empress was secretly raising behemoths in the Imperial Manse, but that's really silly and probably not the intention.
    Last edited by Erinys; 04-09-2015, 04:57 PM.

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  • Ludek
    replied
    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post


    Why?
    I just wanted to get population of Blessed Isle to be around 250M .. with I think is canonical number (but when I think of I can't tell you where I read that number .. it could be forum wisdom) whille keeping farmer density within range suggested by text you have given given.All I could think of was increasing population of cities and then wondered what it can tell me about Blessed Isle.
    Last edited by Ludek; 04-09-2015, 04:43 PM.

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  • Kyeudo
    replied
    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

    Does punching gods in the dick make the nutritional requirements of people change, or alter logical mathematical implications?
    It can, if you punch the right gods.

    Leave a comment:


  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Originally posted by Synapse View Post

    Do you guys really, REALLY want to spend the week arguing about how that is feasible or realistic in a world where gods walk among us, and we punch them in the dick?
    Does punching gods in the dick make the nutritional requirements of people change, or alter logical mathematical implications?

    Originally posted by Synapse
    There's no need to worry too much about that, so instead worry about how to make fun stories out of all this!
    The game provided a book about financial policies and logistics. It has areas of concern with which to make fun stories.

    Leave a comment:


  • Synapse
    replied
    Originally posted by Onigato View Post
    @Synapse, see the other big thread going on in here, Population in Creation. Earth Prime (the real world) has 7.3 to 7.5 billion people running around. Creation, by canonical (stupidly low imo) numbers never cleared 4 billion. Ever. Even at the height of the First Age, much less any point after, and by the AoSorrows, canonical numbers are less than a billion humans in all Creation, total. The 2 to 5 ratio greater numbers is correct, just the other way round, Earth having bigger than Creation in most cases.
    EQUIVALENT AGES, Origato. Pre 10th century earth had around 120 to 300 million people, most of them in China, while Creation easily has 500 million, and might have as many as four times more.


    So yeah, Creation has more time and landspace to produce more grains. It also has far more people than those societies we know that had similar farming techniques.
    Do you guys really, REALLY want to spend the week arguing about how that is feasible or realistic in a world where gods walk among us, and we punch them in the dick? There's no need to worry too much about that, so instead worry about how to make fun stories out of all this!

    Problem: It looks like there's too much crop output to feed people.
    Solution: Less people plant. Less Efficient farming is made (meat, flowers). Lack of Food is a localized problem instead of an endemic production issue (like, you know, the modern world)

    Don't worry about explaining why people have too much food. Worry that the local Wheat God wants so much more wheat to be planted the wildlife is dying. Worry about a flash flood caused by an elemental court's "heated arguing" that turned hundreds of acres of farmland into fetid swamp.

    Leave a comment:

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