Against the Grain 8.0分
读书笔记 Agro-ecology of the early state

看了近半本, 在驳斥了各种传统的关于文明/国家建立的理论后, 终于看到了感觉是该书关键的地方:

Why, however, should cereal grains play such a massive role in the earliest states? After all, other crops, in particular legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, and peas, had been domesticated in the Middle East and, in China, taro and soybean. Why were they not the basis of state formation? More broadly, why have no 'lentil states', chickpea states, taro states, sago states, breadfruit states, yam states, cassava states, potato states, peanut states, or banana states appeared in the historical record? ...
The key to the nexus between grains and states lies, I believe, in the fact that only the cereal grains and serve as a basis for taxation: visible, divisible, assessable, storable, transportable and ‘rationable’. Other crops – legumes, tubers, and starch plants – have some of these desirable state-adapted qualities, but none has all of these advantages. ...
The fact that the cereal grains grow above the ground and ripen at roughly the same time makes the job of any would-be taxman that much easier. If the army or the tax officials arrive at the right time, they can cut, thresh, and confiscate the entire harvest in one operation. ...
Compare this situation with, say, that of farmers whose stable crops are tubers such as potatoes or cassava/manioc. Such crops ripen in a year but may be safely left in the ground for an additional year or two. They can be dug up as needed and the remainder stored where they grew, underground. If an army or tax collectors want your tubers, they will have to dig them up tuber by tuber, as the farmers does, and then they will have a cartload of potatoes which is far less valuable (either calorically or at the market) than a cartload of wheat, and is also more likely to spoil quickly. Frederick the Great of Prussia, when he ordered his subjects to plant potatoes, understood that, as planters of tubers, they could not be so easily dispersed by opposing armies.
But why is there not a chickpea or lentil state? After all, these are nutritious crops that can be grown intensively, and their harvest consists of small seeds that can be dried, keep well, and can cas easily be divided and measured out in small quantities as rations as the cereal grains. Here the decisive advantage of the cereal grains is their determinate growth and hence virtually simultaneous ripening. The problem with most of the legumes, from a tax collector's perspective, is that they produce fruit continuously over an extended period. They can be, and are, picked right along as they ripen -- like beans or peas. If the tax collector arrives early, much of the crop will not yet have ripened, and if arrives late, the taxpayer will probably have eaten, hidden, or sold much of the yield. One-stop shopping on the part of the tax collector works best for determinate-ripening crops. The cereal crops of the Old World were, in this csense, pre-adapted for state making. The New World -- save for the mixed case of maize, which can be picked right along or left to mature and dry in the field -- has few if any determinate, whole-field, simultaneously ripening crops, hence none of the harvest festival tradition that so dominates the Old World agricultural calendar.

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