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Galpin, Charles J.; Cox, Alonzo B. (ed.) / Rural, social and economic problems of the United States
Bulletin No. 3 (June 1919)

Introduction,   pp. 1-3 PDF (869.6 KB)

Page 2

No. 111-2
ers. Unquestionably the farm labor problem as a whole is put in
the shade somewhat on the social side by the fact that as yet the
families of farm owners and operators in the United States are
themselves in need of better housing facilities and better vocational
America is on the point of socializing its thought in regard to
rural life and land policies. The farmer is taking a step or two in
this direction. Statesmen are thinking of farming in relation to
national policy and human welfare. The strategic thing just now
and in the years immediately ahead of us is a wise leadership in
rural economic and social thought.  Disaster may easily come
through a narrow, sectional, partisan, or exploitative leadership.
Casual thinking must be replaced by painstaking investigation.
The economic issues of the time may be classified as follows:
first, those which require little if any group attention, such as the
question of farm efficiency, or the choice of crops. Second, matters
requiring the attention of substantially all farmers, or possibly of
all citizens. The solution of these questions is to be looked for in
legislation such as the passage of a tariff on sugar, or corn. Third,
the question arising in connection with problems which pertain
to specific business undertakings. These as a rule center about
marketing, credit, tenancy, or farm labor.
We have made a start toward solving these problems, but it is
only a start. Even the best method of solution is by no means de-
termined upon in every case, if indeed it is in any case. The first
thing needed is a clear comprehension of the situation. When that
is gained a long step will have been taken toward a remedy. They
will have to be taken up one at a time, some by states, some by the
national government, more by the interested parties independently
of politics or government.
The country life movement, as a whole, it should further be re-
called, has reached the point where it seems desirable, for research
purposes, to select from the mass of rural issues in any particular
section of the United States, a few problems that are fundamental
to the main line of rural progress. These few issues, once selected,
might well be standardized in detail by some central cooperative re-
search bureau. Following this, certain uniform methods of study
might be formulated. A wide employment of such standard prob-
lems and methods would eventually lead to a public policy of large
rural improvement.
As a stimulating influence upon such selection, the following
catalogue of rural issues in the United States seems calculated to be
highly suggestive. There will, it is hoped, come to the minds of
investigators, as they read these lists, other issues not stated therein,
and it is probable that question marks will be placed by them after

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