Corn & The Advantage of Backwardness

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Machu Picchu, Maize and the Advantage of Backwardness
June 30, 2011 by Andean Air Mail & PERUVIAN TIMES
By Nicholas Asheshov
Special for the Machu Picchu Centennial –

Maize

Machu Picchu and the Inca Empire were the creation of an import from Central America, maize, and a dramatic climate shift that turned the Andean highlands from inhospitable wet-and-cold to pleasant, as it is today, dry-and-warm.

For more than half a millenium before this shift the high Andes had been miserable.  With the new dry-and-warm, starting around 1000 AD, a backwoods tribe, the Incas, put together the new climate and technology breakthroughs and by 1500AD had produced the world’s most go-ahead empire, heavily populated and larger, richer, healthier and better organized than Ming Dynasty China and the Ottoman Empire, its nearest contemporaries. Read the rest of this story…

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