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Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Vol. III. The Process of Capitalist Production as a Whole; Marx, Karl
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Part I, Chapter 5

"Parmentier proved that the art of grinding grain was very materially improved in France in recent times, for instance since the time of Louis XIV, so that the new mills, compared to the old, can make as high as twice as much bread from the same amount of grain. In fact, the annual consumption of an inhabitant of Paris was at first placed at 4 setiers of grain, then at 3, finally at 2, while nowadays it is only 1½ setier, or about 342 lbs. per capita....In the Perche, in which I lived for a long time, the crude mills of granite and trap rock have been rebuilt according to the rules of advanced mechanics as understood for the last 30 years. They have been provided with good mill stones from La Ferté, the grain has been ground twice, the milling sack has been given a circular motion, and the output of flour has increased by one-sixth for the same amount of grain. I can easily explain the enormous discrepancy between the daily consumption of grain among the Romans and among us. It is due simply to the imperfect method of milling and bread making. In this connection I must explain a peculiar fact mentioned by Pliny, XVIII, c. 20, 2:...'The flour was sold in Rome, according to quality, at 40, 48, or 96 as per modius.' These prices, so high in proportion to the contemporaneous prices of grain, are due to the imperfect state of the mills of that period, and the resulting heavy cost of milling." (Dureau de la Malle, Economie Politique des Romains. Paris, 1840, I, page 280.)