Industrialism and Participatory Politics at the Water Mill

Stacy E. Holden

in The Politics of Food in Modern Morocco

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780813033730
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039398 | DOI:
Industrialism and Participatory Politics at the Water Mill

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Contrary to Western stereotypes, neither ignorance nor lack of capital prevented industrialism in the Arab–Islamic world. Flour was a staple food, so an economic decline, even if caused by a poor harvest, led to a paradoxical increase in demand for this filling starch. To satisfy increased demand for flour, royal officials and private entrepreneurs set up some steam mills. And yet, the sultan and his subjects deliberately blocked full-scale mechanization due to fears of foreign incursion, of the misuse of natural resources, and of the high cost of flour produced by steam mills. This collective check on industrialism highlights the importance of political consensus, even under authoritarian rule. This chapter argues that drought provoked some mechanization of flour production, but the sultan, millers, and struggling consumers together perpetuated a reliance on traditional technology.

Keywords: royal officials; flour; private entrepreneurs; industrialism; drought; mechanization

Chapter.  10226 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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