[OPE-L:5813] Re: socialism and the small farmer

From: charlie (charles1848@value.net)
Date: Wed Jun 06 2001 - 23:35:44 EDT

Paul, as I recall, you are devoting your campaign to longterm
education, not to winning office in 2001. Could you derive the
basic remedy for small farmers from your conception of socialism?
I presume you can, but there is one problem: many small
proprietors want to keep their businesses and yet enjoy a social
arrangement that assures them prosperity, too. Socialists
typically elaborate their vision to meet this desire, for
example, by some form of production cooperative, guaranteed state
offers of voluntary contracts to buy output, etc.

One cause of the unequal exchange for the agricultural sector is
that labor does not freely redistribute out of it.
Technologically, the day of family farming has largely passed,
but farmers do not want to exit the sector because a whole way of
life, communities, and other good considerations are at stake. At
the same time, the supplier industries (farm machinery, seed,
fertilizer) and the buyer industries (food processors,
wholesalers, and retailers) are more concentrated than farming.
In addition, some crops display a wide spectrum of
productiveness: there are both a few large producers and many
small ones, and the latter are much less productive per hour. And
still further, falling costs of air and sea freight have
subjected agriculture to international trade and the inequalities
among countries (here in California, long a major grape land,
most of the grapes in the stores come from Chile.)

When you verify the figure on the effective hourly remuneration
for small farmers, you might look at their numbers, too, since
the cost of programs for them is a product of the two.

Charles Andrews
Web site for my book From Capitalism to Equality is at

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