[Paleopsych] back to the plantation

Steve Hovland shovland at mindspring.com
Sat Nov 27 11:59:51 UTC 2004

I have heard that it took 100,000 oak trees to build a single
ship of the line, which did indeed lead to the deforestation
on Britain.

There is a dramatic difference between subsistence farming
and cash-crop farming.  In recent decades Africa has had
serious problems because they followed World Bank
recommendations to shift from subsistence to cash crops.
The upshot has been a collapse in the price of commodities
and an inability of many people to feed themselves through
purchases in the money economy.

Steve Hovland

-----Original Message-----
From:	HowlBloom at aol.com [SMTP:HowlBloom at aol.com]
Sent:	Friday, November 26, 2004 10:23 PM
To:	ff10 at txstate.edu
Cc:	paleopsych at paleopsych.org
Subject:	[Paleopsych] back to the plantation

In a message dated 11/24/2004 7:41:41 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
ff10 at txstate.edu writes:
HB, if you need any research done, I am pretty much free until Saturday...... 
Hope you are well.... Ive been quite busy for about two months now.... but 
during the holidays it slows down for us.....
hb: here's a question still puzzling me for reinventing capitalism.  Is my 
hypothesis about the rise of the plantation system correct?  Did monocropping 
and the obsession with genetic engineering--or what was called "breeding" at the 
time--begin with the tree plantations Henry VIII needed to build the ships 
he'd helped invent--Baltic Sea-like cog ships, big-bellied ocean-capable cargo 
ships that could be outfitted with dozens of canons and could make the long, 
thin, one-cannon war galleys battling in the Mediterranean obsolete?

Had England run low on wood when Henry came up with his naval innovation?  
When Henry tossed the church out of the third of England that the Vatican 
controlled, when he gave that land to his ambitious, modern friends, and when he 
turned these enterpreneurial masters of new estates into a squieroquracy, did he 
tell them to raise pine for the hulls of his ships and straight, tall oaks for 
his masts?

Did the new obsession with raising--and upgrading--just one crop on a piece 
of land lead to similar mono-cropping and gene-enhancing approaches to the 
industrial-level farming of sugar and of cotton in the newly discovered 
territories of the Caribbean--the West Indies?

Did the tree plantations Henry needed to build his navies lead to the wealth 
of plantation clans like the family of my friend and former client Chris 
Blackwell in Jamaica?  The Blackwells were once famous for their line of canned and 
jarred food products, products that appeared under the name of "Cross and 

Then Chris  took the family fortune and used it to reap and to popularize 
another harvest of the Caribbean's English master-and-African-slave 

Do we owe Bob Marley's mix of the Bible, Haile Selassie, a cargo-cult, and a 
magical beat to Henry VIII?

Here are some books that helped me build this hypothesis:

Thomas, K. (1983). Man and the Natural World: A History of The Modern 
Sensibility.  New York: Pantheon Books.  

I believe it's this book that illustrated how London began to run low on wood 
as early as 1150.

A.L. Rowse. The Expansion of Elizabethan England. London: MacMillan, 1955.  A 
book that shows Henry turning his back on Europe and looking for an Empire in 
the Americas--particularly in the part of America the Spanish didn't want, 
North America.  It also shows Henry building the squierocracy and, I believe, 
demanding trees.

the ships Henry helped conceived may be in
G.M. Trevelyan, A Shortened History of
England, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England, 1959
(originally published 1942).

And the obsession of squires--and of just about every other sort of English 
person of property--with breeding shows up in, of all places, PG 
Wodehouse--especially in Clarence, ninth Earl of Emsworth and his obsession with 
pig-breeding and pig gene-tweaking, an obsession that leads to his love for one thing 
above all else in the world, the model of porcine perfection, the prize pig know 
to Wodehouse readers as the Empress of Blandings.

Howard Bloom
Author of The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of 
History and Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind From The Big Bang to the 
21st Century
Visiting Scholar-Graduate Psychology Department, New York University; Core 
Faculty Member, The Graduate Institute
Founder: International Paleopsychology Project; founding board member: Epic 
of Evolution Society; founding board member, The Darwin Project; founder: The 
Big Bang Tango Media Lab; member: New York Academy of Sciences, American 
Association for the Advancement of Science, American Psychological Society, Academy 
of Political Science, Human Behavior and Evolution Society, International 
Society for Human Ethology; advisory board member: Youthactivism.org; executive 
editor -- New Paradigm book series.
For information on The International Paleopsychology Project, see: 
for two chapters from 
The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History, 
see www.howardbloom.net/lucifer
For information on Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang 
to the 21st Century, see www.howardbloom.net
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