Setting the Stage | 11

teractions among the Eurasian cultures, sea level rise cut all but the most tenuous links with North America until European exploration and colonialism began in the 15th century. The subsequent migrations into North America were essentially economic, involving well over 12 million people from Europe (Gibson and Lennon, 1999) and an es­timated 500,000 slaves imported from Africa (US Census Bureau, 2002). As the United States grew in area and eco­nomic power, the indigenous peoples were greatly reduced in numbers and largely displaced by the end of the 19th cen­tury. Indigenous food systems based largely, but not entirely, on hunter-gathering were replaced by arable agriculture and extensive grazing. Simultaneously, Russia expanded its po­litical control from eastern Europe to the whole of mainland north Asia and Alaska (sold to the US in 1867). At the turn of the century, the global economy of the region was politi­cally and economically dominated by NAE major powers linked by trade and diplomacy. However, the Russian Rev­olution, the economic and agricultural depressions of the 1920s and 1930s and World War II polarized the region into the largely communist eastern Europe and USSR and the largely democratic and capitalist western Europe and North America. This polarization, along with variable access to all forms of capital (human, social, financial, physical and nat­ural) drove widely varying attitudes about the importance of agricultural development, agrifood self-sufficiency, trade, subsidies for multifunctional agriculture and AKST in the different subregions of NAE in the following decades. After 1945

Post-war economic recovery in western Europe was rapid, despite the loss of cheap raw materials and captive mar­kets as Britain, the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Por­tugal decolonized from around the world. Comprehensive welfare systems were developed, drawing on lessons from the depression in the interwar years. Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany estab­lished the European Economic Community in 1958. Den­mark, Ireland and the UK joined in 1973 (a referendum in Norway rejected membership), with Greenland withdraw­ing in 1985. Greece, Spain and Portugal joined in the 1980s, by which time they were governed by democracies. Further expansion took place in 1994, leaving only the neutral Swit­zerland, Norway and Iceland as major western European countries outside what had become the European Union (EU). The early focus of the European Economic Communi­ty was on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and com­mon policies for coal and steel. Over time, a much wider range of common policies was developed, addressing do­mains including culture, consumer affairs, competition, the environment, energy, transport and trade.

    After liberation from Nazi occupation, countries in central and eastern Europe found themselves strongly influ­enced politically and economically by the Soviet Union. In response to the establishment of NATO in 1949, the Soviet Union and its allies set up the Warsaw Pact in 1955. Cre­ation of the Berlin Wall marked the final division of the com­munist East (including Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania) and capitalist West by the "iron curtain." Despite also being communist, Yugoslavia was never part of the Eastern Bloc, and Albania broke away in the 1960s,


aligning instead with China. In eastern Europe, private en­terprises were mostly taken over by the state, as was agri­cultural and forest land, except in Poland and Yugoslavia. The Communist Party controlled production through rigid Five-Year Plans for required outputs by sector and by com­modity. These were not uniform, nor did they provide con­sistent benefits. Hungary introduced limited market mecha­nisms, and relaxed controls on compulsory deliveries and land ownership. By the mid-1960s Hungary was relatively prosperous, as was Yugoslavia, where private ownership of land and enterprises was maintained along with freedom of international trade and travel. Elsewhere, Five-Year Plans gave the illusion of continuing quantitative success even when growth rates slowed and targets failed to be met.

     By the 1980s it was obvious that the Soviet Union was lagging economically behind the West. Uncontrolled mili­tary spending (consuming over 30% of the Soviet GDP) and diminishing domestic economic returns could not be main­tained politically or economically (Davies, 1996). Commu­nist regimes started to lose power; in 1989 the Berlin Wall came down and in 1990 East Germany committed to unity with the West, while the communist federal government of Yugoslavia gave way to largely nationalist democracies in the constituent republics. A wave of establishment of inde­pendent states followed: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia, Slovenia,  Croatia,  Bosnia-Herzegovina,  Macedonia.  The Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991. While most of these transformations were peaceful, many thousands of Bosnians, Croats, Serbs and Albanians were killed during the wars of 1991-2001, and disputes continue in the Caucasus. Overall, NAE has enjoyed relative peace and stability over the last half-century, compared with other sub-global regions.

     The basic choice facing post-Communist governments was either to attempt a quick transformation from subsi­dized socialist economies into market-driven capitalism or to proceed cautiously, disposing of problematic sectors of the economy while preserving for as long as possible cheap rents, guaranteed jobs and free social services. Poland, Hun­gary and the Czech Republic already enjoyed relatively high standards of living (with average monthly wages approach­ing $400 in the late 1990s) and familiarity with western life­styles. These countries adopted the first approach and were among the ten countries joining the EU in 2004; Bulgaria and Romania followed in 2007. By contrast, Ukraine (with monthly wages around $80 in the late 1980s) was reluctant to liberalize domestic markets or reduce the state's share in the economy and delayed change (Judt, 2005). Further east, attempts to reform the inefficient and militarized economies of the former USSR caused sharp rises in unemployment and destitution.

     Foreign investment into Canada doubled during 1945-55, and discoveries of oil, gas, iron ore and other raw mate­rials helped to expand industrial production (Sautter, 2000). The US economy was much larger, producing half of the world's goods by the 1950s. Standards of living soared; and new, consumer-based lifestyles evolved, increasingly reliant on cars. By contrast, 39.5 million people in the US lived below the poverty line, with African Americans, American Indians and farming households particularly affected. Ra­cial segregation led to the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 60s, to be followed by campaigns promoting peace,