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The Field and the ForgePopulation, Production, and Power in the Pre-industrial West$
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John Landers

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199279579

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199279579.001.0001

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Production and Technology

Production and Technology

(p.47) Chapter Three Production and Technology
The Field and the Forge

John Landers (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Technology involves a trinity of three distinct elements that we shall term ‘hardware’, ‘procedure’, and ‘personnel’. The first embraces the non-human physical objects involved, whether inanimate tools and machinery or agricultural crops and animals. Employing the hardware effectively required an appropriate body of procedure, consisting of relevant knowledge and practice that might be derived entirely from experience or contain a significant theoretical component. This in turn requires to be applied by practitioners with whatever training and experience is necessary, and this body of ‘personnel’ makes up the third element of any technological system. The main constraint on activity in organic economies was the limited supply of energy. The level and responsiveness of agricultural productivity constrained the possibilities for per capita output growth elsewhere in the economy and so overall growth depended very much on the progress of productivity in this one sector.

Keywords:   technology, machinery, agricultural crops, procedure, practitioner, energy, agricultural productivity

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