Class DynamiCs of agrarian Change
less populated expanses of sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas. Inthese agrarian societies the vast majority worked the land as peasantfarmers. By 1750, they supported a world population of some 770million.
– From the second half of the eighteenth century, theemergence and spread of industrialization started to create a new kindof world economy, to “accelerate history” and to transform farming.By 1950, world population had grown to 2.5 billion.
– World population grew to six billion in 2000 (and isexpected to increase to about nine billion by 2050). is suggeststhe part played by increases in the productivity of farming, whichhave kept up with population growth. And in 2008, global urbanpopulation equalled rural population for the rst time, and startedto overtake it.
One part of the big picture, then, is the growth in food productionand in world population, especially since the 1950s. Both are aspectsof the development of capitalism and of the world economy it created. Another part of that picture is massive global inequality in incomeand security of livelihood, and in quality of life and life expectancy, as well as in productivity. While more than enough is produced to feedthe world’s population adequately, many people go hungry much orall of the time.
Who Are the Farmers oday?
As countries industrialize, the proportion of their labour force working in agriculture declines. In 2000, the proportion of the totallabour force employed in agriculture in the U.S. was 2.1 percent, inthe European Union (E.U., then with een member countries) 4.3percent, in Japan 4.1 percent, and in Brazil and Mexico 16.5 percentand 21.5 percent respectively. In China, the proportion of the totallabour force employed in agriculture has declined from about 71percent in 1978 to less than 50 percent, which still amounts to over400 million people. With an additional 260 million people in Indiaand 200 million in Africa working in farming — in both cases about60 percent of their “economically active population” — it is clear