I'm reading a book called "This Realm of England". Yeah, another history book. This one covers England from 1399 to 1688. The old cycle I refer to happened in England during the 1500s, when raising sheep for wool production became profitable. All these people with land that had previously been used for growing food switched to using the land for running sheep. At the same time, silver from Spain's colony of Bolivia was flooding into Europe.
"Despite the false simplicity of economic determinism, the fact remains that a growing population, inflated prices, and an insatiable demand for wool reversed the social and economic cycle prevailing before 1460. They transformed the fifteenth-century pattern of land plenty, labor shortage and high wages into land hunger, labor surplus and rising rents. Behind changing economic design loomed the millions of sheep, which outnumbered humans by three to one." (pg 68)
Sheep... ethanol... silver... oil...
anyway I just thought that was interesting and wanted to share it with the class. :)