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Grand Transitions – How the Modern World Was Made - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Grand Transitions: How the Modern World Was Made

Vaclav Smil


The modern world was created through the combination and complex interactions of five grand transitions. First, the demographic transition changed the total numbers, dynamics, structure, and residential pattern of populations. The agricultural and dietary transition led to the emergence of highly productive cropping and animal husbandry (subsidized by fossil energies and electricity), a change that eliminated famines, reduced malnutrition, and improved the health of populations but also resulted in enormous food waste and had many environmental consequences. The energy transition brought the w ... More

Keywords: modernization, demography, agricultural production, nutrition, energy supply, electricity, energy efficiency, economic growth, affluence, environmental impacts

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2021 Print ISBN-13: 9780190060664
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2021 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190060664.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Vaclav Smil, author
Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Manitoba