Download Oriental Despotism: A Comparative Study of Total Power by Karl A. Wittfogel PDF

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By Karl A. Wittfogel

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But th e bulkiness of all except the smallest sources of water supply creates a technical task which is solved either by mass labor or not at all. D. M U S T T H E H YD RA U L I C P O T E N T IA L B E ACTUALIZED? 1 . A N ' O P E N H I S T O R I C A L S I T U A T I O N- B U T R E C O G N I ZA B LE P ATT E R N S O F R E S P O N S E T HE stimulating contradiction inherent in a potentially hydraulic landscape is manifest. Such a landscape has an insufficient rainfall or none at all; but it possesses other accessible sources of water supply.

Naturally the question of inland navigation did not arise everywhere. Existing rivers and streams might be suitable for irrigation, but not for shipping (Pueblos, Chagga, H ighland Peru) ; or the ocean might prove an ideal means of transportation (Hawaii, Coastal Peru). In certain localities inland navigation was satisfactorily served by man­ managed rivers (Egypt , India) and lakes (Mexico) plus whatever ir­ rigation canals were large enough to accommodate boats (Meso­ potamia). But when supplementary V,latercourses were not only possible but desirable, the organizers of agrohydraulic works had little difficulty in utilizing their cooperative "apparatus" to make them available.

And since the remains point to relations between Hohokam and Meso-America, he believes that " the same factor may underlie the cultural develop­ ment in certain areas of western Meso-America during this period" (Armillas, 1948: i Oi). D. ). Palerm has stated that this climatic change may have caused "the emergence or extension of irrigation " in Meso-America (1955: 35). Increasing aridity could explain the appearance of concentrated populations and the spread of monumental building in Meso-America.

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