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I have written often enough about agriculture as a turning point in human history. In fact, it may very well have signaled the start of what we now call “history.” Agriculture has been associated with the birth of urban centers and the development of what we commonly understand to be civilization. Yet it was the technological intensification of big agriculture –the use of plows and other deep tillage instruments for the large-scale cultivation of fields as opposed to the prehistoric digging stick – that was the decisive step, leading to greater productivity, food surpluses, and cost effectiveness. This was all pegged to a growth in human population, specifically within newly established urban centers behind newly constructed city walls. It also led, not incidentally, to the articulation of the first civil laws, the rise of a political and legislative class (hierarchy), and the garrisoning of troops for the protection of the surplus food stores and other State properties.
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