Individual Freedom and the Economic Organization of Agriculture

Individual Freedom and the Economic Organization of Agriculture

Individual Freedom and the Economic Organization of Agriculture

Individual Freedom and the Economic Organization of Agriculture

Excerpt

Among the host of books, bulletins, and articles that have been published on the subject of agricultural policy in the United States, few have dealt specifically with the vital issue of individual freedom. Insofar as the abstract concepts of freedom, liberty, and justice have entered into literature of farm policy they have taken two forms. One is to treat of group relationships en masse, and these have usually been confined to material matters. Examples are parity prices and income, which are dollar ratios between farm and nonfarm parts of the economy; measures of the quantity and quality of food consumed by the consuming population; and others of like nature. The second form of reference to such cherished values as freedom and justice is little more than an invocation. One farm group defends its particularly chosen stand in the name of freedom, liberty, and justice, whereas another counters that those unchallengeable principles require a wholly different kind of farm policy. This is not to dispute the relevance of the principles or disparage invoking them. At the beginning of Chapter 2, policy pronouncements of national farm groups are quoted respectfully. But if concepts of such profound significance are to be instrumental in making policy, they ought to yield less divergent policy positions. A scholarly study of the issues involved could be expected to clarify if not to reconcile popular pronouncements.

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