The Ownership Society
This is the patent age of new inventions
for killing bodies, and for saving souls,
All propagated with the best intentions.
America's heartland is not so much a place as it is an idea. It's an image that runs deep in the nation's psyche. The visual stereotype that goes with it is a cloudless blue sky, a bright red barn, and amber waves of grain. Sometimes there's an old tractor puttering through the fields. The emotion this image evokes is admiration for the independent farmer and respect for America's rural communities. Just cue up a few chords of fiddle music and you have a theme used by every politician who ever ran for national office. It's a staple image used by agribusiness in its advertising as well. It can be found all over the grocery store, especially on boxes of cereal, put there to suggest that the food you're buying comes from a farm rather than from a factory.
The reality is that the life of the farmer today is all but forgotten. Farmers have been living under harsh economic conditions for the past three decades, a chronic crisis of falling incomes and rising costs. The pain of these challenges was documented by Joel Dyer in his book Harvest of Rage. He explained how the financial losses for farm families were so unbearable that suicide