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Q: How does the corporatization of farming affect all Americans, not just those living in rural areas?
A: Farmers freely chose to adopt the new mechanical and chemical technologies, many of which were developed through publicly supported research, because they seemed to promise increased profits. [ These technologies invariably promised greater production efficiency, which would reduce cost per unit of production, leaving the farmer with a wider profit margin. Increased efficiency generally meant
that each farmer could produce more than before, in fact, needed to produce more to justify the new technological investment and to realize the full benefit of the new technology. However, the "early adopters" were the only farmers to realize increased profits. As more and more farmers adopted a new technology, a new kind of machine or agri-chemical, total production invariably increased, because each farmer now was compelled to produce more. The new technologies allowed farmers to reduce costs per unit, but only if they produced more units. With increased production, market prices invariably fell, leaving even the innovators no better off than before. The later adopters rarely had a chance to recoup their investment before prices fell and profits were gone. In cases where the government supported commodity prices, land prices rose instead, with the same net effect on profits. Eventually, technological adoption was motivated by survival rather than profits, and those farmers who adopted too late didn't survive. Some farmers had to fail so others could expand-could farm more land or produce more livestock-in order to realize the full benefits of the new technologies. In fact, prices invariably stayed low enough long enough to force enough farmers out of business to accommodate the new industrial technologies. And, after each "technological adjustment" was complete, there was always another round of technology waiting for adoption. Chronic crisis and continuing farm failures have been a necessary consequence of agricultural industrialization. ]
Expert answered|Marvel2|Points 1062|
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Asked 8/8/2013 11:55:03 AM
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