MORE THOUGHTS ON GRAIN AND HISTORY. I found this article by Stephen Haber and Victor Menaldo which elaborates on their theories on the way that grain shaped history. One of their propositions is that: “The world’s first and most long-lived democracies were built out of societies of family farmers.” This rests on another proposition: In societies where there is a sizable middle class, “the incentives to rip the society apart in order to redistribute wealth are weak.” In this context, grain has the advantage that there are no large economies of scale (advantages of being big) so that the grain farmers are similar. In areas where there is a lot of rain, water rights and irrigation rights don’t concentrate wealth. Because grain can be stored, an individual farmer can carry a surplus to the next year.

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