GEOG_130 (6/12)

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GEOG 130
Nicole C.List

GEOG 130 (6/12) 7. Production of corn belt by ‘organic composition of capital’ via consolidation of means of production, subsidies for farmers keeping prices artificially high & constant surpluses/ overproduction. During New Deal era, Secretary of Agriculture Butz influence organic composition of capital in the US corn belt by Farm Belt Subsidy (favouring larger farms over smaller ones (no water subsidies for smaller farms)) & “Green Power” Export Strategy (selling grain overseas) = pushing out smaller producers = integration into bigger corporate farms. CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) during New Deal 8. Transformations in chicken industry comparable to “just-in-time” industries by moving cost of production to farmers (emphasis on buying inputs from corporations). Production contracts w/ growers, inability to keep up with corporate production, consolidation of land by corporations → Boyd & Watts: farmers in small farms unable to keep up with pace of industry → switched sectors (tobacco to chicken farming) = highly exploitable & corporations able to force farmers into buying their inputs = vertical integration w/o land concentration. Agrarian Romanticism Agricultural Crisis as a Crisis of Culture (Berry) ● Food as cultural product → thinking about problems as technological innovation ● Moral critique: problem of technology replacing knowledge or power of corporations? ● Tool (technology) becomes goal itself when too reliant upon it The Country and the City (Williams) ● Agrarian ideal rested upon ○ “Good old days” or rural virtues of past, sentimental, highly unlocalized accounts ● Recurring contrast, definition by contrast ● Repeating ideas, associations throughout history ● Perceived continuity of ideal of country despite real variation ● The Country vs. The City ○ Natural vs. achieved ○ Peace, innocence, virtue vs. learning, light ○ Backwardness, ignorance vs. noise, worliness, ambition (built/achieved through effort) ○ The (ever-receding) past vs. the (ever-unrealizable) future - progress, improvement ○ Politics (anti-modern) vs. politics (modern utopian) ○ Nostalgic, romantic vs. technocratic, capitalist ○ Agrarian/peasant vs. Marxist The Agrarian Ideal ● Large landowners (luxurious/speculative) - Yeoman farmers (small owners) - Landless poor (wretched/idle) ● Ideals: private property, individual liberty, comfort ● New position threatened once achieved ● Using ideal past to critique present ○ Not actual past ○ Yeomen looking to the past believing things could be better ● Anxieties of the Middle ○ Resents both the wealthy elite and the desperate masses ○ Seeks to defend its middle ground against both ○ Suspects that loss is imminent, threatening descent (threaten by large landowners from city [enclosure movements or “get big or let go”]/industrialization or fear of becoming landless poor by falling out of state) ○ Large landowners idle, don’t work with their hands, achieved land through suspect ways ○ Don’t want landless poor among ideal The Agrarian Ideal: Rational and Romantic Agrarianism ● Two Varieties of Agrarianism ○ Rational Agrarianism: emphasis the tangible contributions or agricultural and rural people to a nation’s economic and political well-being ■ Jeffersonian agrarian ideal: farmers as economic benefit to country ■ Farm Bill: need farming in the US (but distinction between people and corporations being helped) ○ Romantic Agrarianism: emphasis the moral, emotional, and spiritual benefits agriculture and rural life convey to the individual ■ Nostalgic ■ Anti-modern ■ Anti-urban ■ Anti-industrial ■ Precursors ● Back-to-the-land movement ● Country life movement ■ Ecological Crisis as a Crisis of Character ● Specialization alienates people from their own productivity and thus from themselves and the world (anti-industrial, anti-modern) ● Cultural: movement from the farm to the city involves simplification of mind/character (spatial division of labour) (anti-urbanism) ● Past, agrarian society was not perfect but good qualities (nostalgic) ● Forcible displacement of millions of people, businesses as totalitarian (anti-industrial, moral, anti-urban) → romanticism/ scientific agrarianism intertwined (necessary to help all people) ● Competent farmer is his own boss, response to nature, not for market (anti-industrial, anti-modern, obligation = moral/nostalgic, personal process) vs. hearing orders from factory owners/ industrial farms (sense of independence) ● Estrangement of consumer/producer = eat/produces worse (nostalgic) b/c wasteful, inputs > production; productivity comes at price ● Ecological Crisis as a Crisis of Character (Modern conservationist Movements) ○ Modern environmentalism rests upon a split between culture & nature ○ Rather than protect wilderness, should integrate activities w/ nature; conservationist = land not as independent ○ Land use most widespread & need of consideration is that of agriculture ● Agrarian Romanticism & Farm Labour ○ Super Bowl Ad ○ Exemplified romantic agrarian ideals, difficulties of farmers ○ Use of God made it apolitical = made it more a question
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