Seeds of Wealth
As early as Shakespeare's time, timber quantities in England had become deficient, promoting the use of coal and leading to the industrial revolution. Conversely, the abundance of timber and excellent growing conditions for tobacco in the United States led to great wealth and power for the young nation. The cultivation of the rubber tree and its importance in modern society helped to create the nations of Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. And good wine, Hobhouse observes, makes people wealthy as well as mellow and wise.
These four plants enormously increased the wealth of those who dealt with them, created new industries, shaped destinies, and changed the course of history.
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