Technology has changed drastically in this society that Lenski called this era “the dawn of civilization” (Lenski, G., Nolan, P., and Lenski, J., 1995). This society emerged about 5000 years ago. The primary means of subsistence is cultivation of crops by the use of machinery, animal, or human means. Agriculture is the process of producing food, feed, fiber, and other desirable products by the cultivation of plants and the raising of domesticated animals. Agriculture is divided into two different classifications:
- Subsistence agriculture: is a simple system, mostly organic which uses native seeds to plant combine with crop rotation to maximize yield. This type of agriculture produces enough food for the agriculturalist and their family. Since the beginning of farming, most farmers were engaging in subsistence farming and many developing nations still are today. Organic farming is on the rise, in today’s society because people are doing away with pesticides and are more interested in non-genetic altered planting and livestock.
- Industrial agriculture: is someone who has ownership of crops and livestock. Owners provide labor or management in the production of their crops and/or livestock. Farmers obtain their income from cultivating the land to yield crops, or the commercial raising of their animals or both. Those who don’t have ownership but provide labor only are called farmhands, or, if they leased a strip of land and grow only one crop, they are called sharecroppers; most slave owners leased their land to their freed slaves.
Agriculture allows more of the population to be supported due to the large yield of food. Excess food surplus can be stored for later use and sold for profit. Industrial agriculture gave farmers the ability to feed larger numbers of people that had nothing to do with material production was the main factor for specialization, advanced technology, rise of surplus, and social inequality. With increased specialization, the barter system became obsolete and money was developed as a standard of exchange. Supported by religious beliefs and political power structure the power of the elite had increased. Men gained dominance over women because they provided the food unlike the past societies, when women were the primary providers of the food.
Here is a map to show how agriculture employment has reduced since the industrial period.
Lenski, G., Nolan, P., & Lenski, J. (1995). Human Societies: An Introduction to Mar sociology (7th ed). New York: McGraw-Hill.