Dateline: 4 February 2014
|A farmer and his son listen to their new radio in the 1920s|
We are advised that the farm needs new machines; the residence must be newly furnished, and with electric lights and water-works, a piano, talking machine and radio, the kitchen must be sanitary, the diet must be varied and caloried and vitamined. The clothing must be as fashionable as in the town; the health regulations for the children must be adopted; the physical scale of living must be as good as that for any other range of people. The youth must join the clubs and go to college.
All this costs money, and in more than geometrical ratio. Yet the productivity of the land is capable of only limited increase. The selling-price of the produce may rise, but the buying-prices of manufactured supplies rise in at least equal ratio. The producing-power of the land cannot extend in proportion to the coveted increase in scale of living; and the farmer finds himself dealing with nature and living against a natural market, whereas many of those with whom he deals or at least whom he emulates live in artificial conditions and increase their income by arbitrary mass-action through organization and “understandings” rather than by the merit or skill or necessity of the service or the labor; and the increased cost of products arising from such unnatural control are charged back to the farmer and other consumers. The very statement of the case shows the money disadvantage under which the farmer works.
—Liberty Hyde Bailey
The Harvest of The Year To The Tiller of The Soil (1927)