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Grain-Flour, 1590-1790

Pelizzon, Sheila Margaret
The grain-flour commodity chain was studied for the period between 1590 to 1790 as a universal consumer item. The purpose of the study was: 1) to determine whether changes in the commodity chain corresponded to changes in the so-called A-phases and B-phases of Kondratieff waves; 2) to document the economic, political, and social differentiation between rural and urban areas and populations, and the increased power of the former over the latter; 3) to demonstrate the increasing polarization between core, peripheral, and semiperipheral zones within greater Europe (i.e., East and West Europe). To accomplish the first objective, a number of cities were selected throughout western Europe, and changes in the geographical spread of their grain-flour supply routes over time were traced. These served to show the existence of the Kondratieff waves over the 200-year period under study. The second and third of these objectives were met by noting long-term conditions, trends, changes, and differentiation in such variables as welfare provisioning, diet and food consumption patterns, land-tenure arrangements, rewards to-and conditions of-labor and marketing, and the technology of growing, transport, and marketing of grain. Part one describes the components of the boxes of the chain. Part three discusses the importance of the grain trade for cities. Part three shows the changes in the geographic spread of the supply routes of selected cities for grain-flour. Part four discusses the changes in supply routes for demonstrating the Kondratieff waves. Part five attempts to relate the information given in the entire study to suggest the existence of logistics-i.e., 80-100 year long economic cycles.