Poverty and Politics: The Rise and Decline of the Farm Security Administration

By Sidney Baldwin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
THE QUEST FOR EQUILIBRIUM

The nature of finite things as such is to have the seed of passing away as their essential being: the hour of their birth is the hour of their death.

WILHELM FRIEDRICH HEGEL1. Science of Logic

In striving to preserve not mere existence but rather the essence of their agency's institutional life, the leaders of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) were not passive victims of circumstance, nor was their quest for a condition of institutional equilibrium simply adjustment to the events of life. Will W. Alexander, C. B. Baldwin, Robert W. Hudgens, and others were, rather, brokers who, in a highly creative manner, strove to build agreement between the social purposes of the agency and the values, beliefs, interests, and sentiments of those people who possessed effective political power. Their freedom of action in serving that brokership role was not unlimited, however, and they were constrained as well as facilitated by the internal structure and external environment of the FSA.


The FSA and its Constituency

According to the Realpolitik of the 1930's, the capacity of an administrative agency of government to perform its mission and to survive institutionally depended heavily on the kind of symbiotic

____________________
1.
Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel ( Science of Logic, Vol. I), as quoted by Norman O. Brown , Life Against Death ( New York: Random House, 1961), p. 104.

-295-

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