The industrial revolution caused the Great Depression

The industrial revolution caused the Great Depression.

In working to get a small market farm going, I’ve been thinking a lot about the ag business for the smallholder. What products sell? What are the prices? Where do they sell? What, precisely, is the marketing channel?

I’ve got some answers for these questions. They may be wrong, but I’m working on it, and only experience will show the truth. But, as I think about these questions, over and over again I find the smallholder almost certainly has to sell to foodies, organic food nuts, etc. The prices, the marketing channel, the products, everything will likely have to be directed towards serving this market of very particular grocery shoppers.

This market did not exist on any sort of scale 25 years ago.

I don’t think many smallholders could have made it in 1995. The clientele for their product didn’t exist. That would force the farmer to scale. To create calories in the largest, lowest cost method possible. Hence Farm-Aid.

100 years ago most agriculture was done by the smallholder. Non-farm payrolls were very small because almost everyone in the country was a farmer. There was vast infrastructure to support this. General stores bought produce from their clients. We read in “Ten Acres Enough” by Edmund Morris that railheads and train stations were plentiful, allowing market gardeners to get their product to market quickly and cheaply, delivering vine ripe vegetables and fruit from organic farms to the market in large metro areas within ONE DAY.

I could go on. The nation had run on smallholder farming since 1603. It worked. People owned their own means, raised large families, and were not fat.

At the turn of the 20th century industrialization was on the rise. World War I, the war to end all wars, accelerated the pace of industrialization.

That pace of industrialization was not enough. By the early 1930’s usury, immigration, and industrialization had changed everything. Usury drove land prices up and crashed the stock market. No one talks about this. Immigration held wages down. Did the US ACTUALLY need the “huddled masses?” NO. Still doesn’t.

Finally, industrialization drove prices down and disrupted the old economy. Driving prices down is not an absolute good, especially when 80+% of your nation is self employed, which the small farmer was. (The idea that lower prices benefit the consumer is wrong and dumb as hell. No one except the welfare recipient is only a consumer, everyone else produces SOMETHING, whether it’s a good or service, labor, or child rearing. Low prices HURT THE PRODUCTIVE.)

Industrialization in the period from 1930-39 wasn’t advanced enough to employ all the folks squeezed out of the disrupted smallholder farming sector. They were unemployed.

Folks breaking a bunch of stuff in the Pacific and Europe PLUS deficit spending from the communist FDR government, who was demonstrably communist supporters, allying with the USSR in a war, expanded the industrial sector at long last providing the jobs the unemployed farm workers needed.

I know for a FACT this is what happened to my mother’s family, my wife’s family, and many of my friend’s families. The dust bowl was not a problem here in Eastern Oklahoma. The destroyed farm market was the problem.

We are in the midst of an identical disruption right now. Existing jobs are being destroyed, but the sector that we hope will employ those squeezed workers has not emerged yet……………and probably will not.

Welcome to turd wurld with snow.

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  1. Pingback: More on the Great Depression – ScottHambrick.com

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