D Historians had noticed one interesting factor around the mid 18 th century

D historians had noticed one interesting factor

This preview shows page 131 - 133 out of 214 pages.

D. Historians had noticed one interesting factor around the mid-18 th century that required explanation. Between about 165D and 1740, the population was static. But then there was a burst in population. The infant mortality rate halved in the space of 20 years, and this happened in both rural areas and cities, and across all classes. Four possible causes have been suggested. There could have been a sudden change in the viruses and bacteria present at that time, but this is unlikely. Was there a revolution in medical science? But this was a century before Lister introduced antiseptic surgery. Was there a change in environmental conditions? There were improvements in agriculture that wiped out malaria, but these were small gains. Sanitation did not become widespread until the 19th century. The only option left was food. But the height and weight statistics show a decline. So the food got worse. Efforts to explain this sudden reduction in child deaths appeared to draw a blank. E. This population burst seemed to happen at just the right time to provide labor for the Industrial Revolution. But why? When the Industrial Revolution started, it was economically efficient to have people crowded together forming towns and cities. But with crowded living conditions comes disease, particularly from human waste. Some research in the historical records revealed that there was a change in the incidence of waterborne disease at that time, the English were protected by the strong antibacterial agent in hops, which were added to make beer last. But in the late 17th century a tax was introduced on malt. The poor turned to water and gin, and in the 1720s the mortality rate began to rise again. F. Macfarlane looked to Japan, which was also developing large cities about the same time, and also had no sanitation. Waterborne diseases in the Japanese population were far fewer than those in Britain. Could it be the prevalence of tea in their culture? That was when Macfarlane thought about the role of tea in
Image of page 131
IELTS ACTUAL TESTS – READING & LISTENING ACADEMIC MODULE IELTSMATERIAL.COM 131 Britain. The history of tea in Britain provided an extraordinary coincidence of dates. Tea was relatively expensive until Britain started direct hade with China in the early 18 th century. By the 1740s, about the time that infant mortality was falling, the drink was common. Macfarlane guesses that the fact that water had to be boiled, together with the stomach-purifying properties of tea so eloquently described in Buddhist texts, meant that the breast milk provided by mothers was healthier than it had ever been. No other European nation drank tea so often as the British, which, by Macfarlane's logic, pushed the other nations out of the race for the Industrial Revolution. G. B ut, if tea is a factor in the puzzle, why didn't this cause an industrial revolution in Japan? Macfarlane notes that in the 17th century, Japan had large cities, high literacy rates and even a futures market. However, Japan decided against a work-based revolution, by giving up labor-saving devices even animals, to avoid putting people out of work. Astonishingly, the nation that we now think
Image of page 132
Image of page 133

You've reached the end of your free preview.

Want to read all 214 pages?

  • One '17
  • English-language films, 2004 albums

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture