The Landscape of Rural Poverty: Corn Bread and Creek Water

The Landscape of Rural Poverty: Corn Bread and Creek Water

The Landscape of Rural Poverty: Corn Bread and Creek Water

The Landscape of Rural Poverty: Corn Bread and Creek Water

Excerpt

A FAMOUS economist was speaking to a businessman's club on the subject of farm buying power. He dwelt long and earnestly upon the fact that the farm mind is hard to understand, especially hard for the townsman of commerce or profession to understand. The audience agreed in sympathetic gravity. Present were 116 townsmen. Of these 96 had been born and raised on farms.

This paradoxical episode illustrates a current dilemma. Sons and daughters of a farming race, shareholders in a government of agrarian origin, members of churches and cities which have risen largely from agrarian roots, we are only beginning to realize that the United States is now out of step with the deliberate saunter of rural life.

During the past fifteen years, American farm areas have been targets for a colossal bombardment of nonrural doctrines. Tens of thousands of presses have busied themselves grinding out exhortations that the farmer buy more and meet the bill with increased production of crops. Torrents of industrial expansiveness undertook to change the farmer from his bucolic place as producer of crops to the prized show pen of blue-ribbon consumer. High-pressure salesmanship undertook to crowd the farm with every imaginable commercial gadget, from lightning rods to automatic pancake mixers mounted on casters. It was only with farm co-operation that the United States, with perhaps 6 per cent of the world's population, managed for a time to consume 50 per cent of the world's total of manufactured goods.

Yet the agrarian goose, with all the other requisitions on its golden eggs, was expected to yield to the city not only its productive . . .

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