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Part 1: Towards the 21st Century
Chapter 1: Changes in Human Society
(2) Growth in Human Activities

Food production is strongly linked to change in population during the 20th century. Total world production of the three major grains (wheat, rice and corn) has increased dramatically from around 1950 ( Fig. 2 ).

Fig. 2: Trends in World Production of Three Major Grains

The dramatic development in agricultural technology has contributed to this expansion in food production.

In addition, mankind has expanded production activities and developed mining and manufacturing. The production of raw materials to support mining and manufacturing has also increased dramatically from around 1950.

This expansion in mining and manufacturing activities has increased mankind's energy consumption. From the beginning of the 20th century, energy consumption for mining, manufacturing and transporting has increased dramatically, and the consumption of fossil fuels responsible for that increase has grown rapidly from around the middle of the 20th century ( Fig. 3 ).

Fig. 3: Trends in World Fossil Fuel Consumption

Such an expansion of the activities of mankind promoted economic development. Total Gross World Production, converted into 1990 dollars, is considered to increase from approximately 2 trillion dollars at the beginning of the 20th century to its current level of 30 trillion dollars ( Fig. 4 ). Growth has been particularly marked in the second half of the 20th century.

Fig. 4: Trends in World Gross Product

In this way, as the growth in human activities in the 20th century is characterized by mass production, the affluence in goods is considered to be equivalent to the affluence of society.

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