Coöperation to reconcile town and country, pp. 51-56
COOPERATION TO RECONCILE TOWN AND COUNTRY: BY THE EDITOR 'IE census bureau tells us that farm lands in the United States have doubled in value during the past ten years. Yet our political economists are still troubled by a vision of bronzed faces turned city- ward-a ceaseless procession, recruited from a m'i- lion farms and pouring its human units into the already congestea centers c, population. And this troubling vision is something more than the "baseless figment of a. dream." Our cities have been developed at the expense of the coun- try until there is no blinking our rural problem, as evidenced not so much by a few farms actually abandoned as by the numberless others which are occupied and worked in a half-hearted and inef- fectual way. It is reflected in every department of the farmer's life. "How can we vitalize the country church ?" is a question which troubles the religious conferences. "What can be done to increase the efficiency and value of the rural school ?" ask the educators. But both of these problems are in a sense secondary. Underlying them is the real rural problem, and when that is solved the answers to the other questions will not be far off. And this main problem, while it has spiritual and psychological bearings of the utmost im portance, is primarily the economic question: "How can the farm be made to pay?" Statistics for the country at large show that the cost of food products is more than doubled in passing from the producer to the consumer. According to the figures published by the National Grange the farmer receives about thirty-five cents of each dollar that is produce earns, while the remaining sixty-five cents are absorbed by the various handlers of his product. "As long as this situation exists," exclaims one indignant commentator, "we are not a civilized people." In a recent address before a farmer's congress in Dallas, Texas, President Yoakum of the Rock Island Railroad system offered slightly different figures, naming forty-six cents out of the dollar as the farmer's share under present conditions. Which- ever figures are correct, it would seem that in common equity they ought at least to be reversed, and that the lion's share of the money paid for farm products ought to go to the farmer rather than to the middlemen and distributors. At any rate, as a consequence of the present system we have on the one hand the farmer complaining of the low prices he receives and on the other the ultimate consumer groaning under the burden of the high prices he has to pay. If by some device the farmer and the consumer could come closer togetherr, so that the farmer could charge twenty-five per cent. more for his 5_ ' .
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