Key Concept 3.3. Increased Economic Productive Capacity and Its Consequences
Changes in trade networks resulted from and stimulated increasing productive capacity, with important implications for social and gender structures and environmental processes. Productivity rose in both agriculture and industry. Rising productivity supported population growth and urbanization but also strained environmental resources and at times caused dramatic demographic swings. Shifts in production and the increased volume of trade also stimulated new labor practices, including adaptation of existing patterns of free and coerced labor. Social and gender structures evolved in response to these changes.
1. Innovations stimulated agricultural and industrial production in many regions.
In response to increasing demand in Afro-Eurasia for foreign luxury goods, crops were transported from their indigenous homelands to equivalent climates in other regions.
Chinese, Persian, and Indian artisans and merchants expanded their production of textiles and porcelains for export; industrial production of iron and steel expanded in China.
2. The fate of cities varied greatly, with periods of significant decline, and with periods of increased urbanization buoyed by rising productivity and expanding trade networks.
While cities in general continued to play the roles they had played in the past as governmental, religious, and commercial centers, many older cities declined at the same time that numerous new cities emerged to take on these established roles.
Students should be able to explain the cultural, religious, commercial and governmental function of at least two major cities.
3. Despite significant continuities in social structures and in methods of production, there were also some important changes in labor management and in the effect of religious conversion on gender relations and family life.
As in the previous period, there were many forms of labor organization. Required examples of forms oflabor organization
As in the previous period, social structures were shaped largely by class and caste hierarchies. Patriarchy persisted; however, in some areas,women exercised more power and influence, most notably among the Mongols and in West Africa, Japan, and Southeast Asia.
Free peasants resisted attempts to raise dues and taxes by staging revolts. The demand for slaves for both military and domestic purposes increased, particularly in central Eurasia, parts of Africa, and the eastern Mediterranean.
Teach one illustrative example of regions where free peasants revolted either from the list below or an example of your choice: