Tuesday, August 09, 2011

How'd That Work Out for the Rural Areas: FDR in 1933

Matt Yglesias quotes from FDR's inaugural, in the context of whether Obama is a good leader, but I'm interested in this one sentence:
Hand in hand with this we must frankly recognize the overbalance of population in our industrial centers and, by engaging on a national scale in a redistribution, endeavor to provide a better use of the land for those best fitted for the land.
That belief has a long history, and it carries on today, when some in the food movement argue for revivifying rural areas. The New Deal tried, they even had a Resettlement Administration, bits and pieces of which ended up in the Farmers Home Administration and now FSA, but it didn't work as they thought it should.  I think the bottom line is: most rural areas (measured in area) in which farming is the main occupation will continue to lose population for the foreseeable future. I note today there's a Mid-Atlantic exposition/conference on precision agriculture coming up; it's the first one.  If they can do precision agriculture in this area, that further cuts the need for labor and increases the need for capital, all of which means a further expansion of the size of farms and a further cut in farm population.

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