American Agriculture, 1899-1939: A Study of Output, Employment and Productivity

American Agriculture, 1899-1939: A Study of Output, Employment and Productivity

American Agriculture, 1899-1939: A Study of Output, Employment and Productivity

American Agriculture, 1899-1939: A Study of Output, Employment and Productivity

Excerpt

As its subtitle indicates, this book deals with certain aspects only, albeit important aspects, of agricultural development since the end of the last century. The limitations upon its scope are deliberate and require brief explanation.

Farming is much more than just another industrial segment; it has indeed been called a way of life. It is one of the oldest, and still one of the most important, ways of getting a living. Throughout the ages it has been the subject of an extensive literature: writers have treated it from every point of view. It has a sociological interest which is barely touched on in this volume. Changes in the farmer's standard of living, or in his cultural attainments, his reactions to governmental incentives, the changing fortunes of different farming areas, problems of migration and the farm-city interchange-- all these lie outside the scope of a volume such as the present and will be mentioned only incidentally. Questions of a more strictly commercial nature, such as the marketing methods pursued by the farmer, and the processes of price formation in the case of farm products, also remain undiscussed. These restrictions are necessary limitations, for without them it would be impossible, within the compass of a single volume, to accord adequate treatment to our chosen topics--output, employment and productivity.

The structure of the book is briefly as follows. Part One, consisting of Chapter 1, describes some peculiarities of agricultural enterprise and furnishes a definition of agricultural output. Chapters 2 to 4, in Part Two, provide an extended discussion of the size and composition of farm output. The factors which have influenced this size and composition from . . .

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