Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: September 01, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939591 | Print ISBN: 9781412956970 | Online ISBN: 9781412939591| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The industrialization of agriculture is the foundation of modern societies in dominant theories about economic development. Embedded in this vision of progress is the assumption that increasingly mechanized agriculture will constitute a declining share of the employment structure over time. This shift has been most dramatic in the temperate heartlands of industrial agriculture in North America, Europe, Australia, and the southern cone of South America. On a global scale, agriculture has also constituted a declining share of the total workforce, a phenomenon sometimes described as “de-peasantization.” Though the pace of global de-peasantization has been highly uneven, the net magnitude is indicated by the fact that while the world's population was still predominantly rural and agrarian at the outset of the 20th century, only a century later half of humanity was living in urban areas. The positive association with this trajectory is best encapsulated in the imagery of industrialized agriculture releasing ...