Monday, May 24, 2010

Devolution of the Economy

Interesting article in the L.A. Times about the devolution of our economy.

Basically, as more and more people lose their jobs, because their jobs are "permanently outsourced", more and more people filter down into the agricultural economy, growing crops for food and extra cash. At the Arizona Victory Garden, I do this with corn and watermelons (and might be trying it with pumpkins this fall as well). I like the corn and watermelons as multi=-purpose crops: if I don't eat them or sell them, the chickens love them, so it can't go wrong.

Public policy for this kind of thing can change over time. In the Depression of the 1890s, the unemployed were encouraged to turn empty city plots into productive gardens for sale in local markets. The Europeans still advocate this practice, going under the name of Community Gardens.

In the Depression of the 1930s, the unemployed were not encouraged to market their food, due to the deliterious effect upon crop prices. In short, government wanted to support farm prices, and farmers incomes, at that time.

Yeah, keeping the price of food high during a Depression, brilliant! Never underestimate the power of government to screw things up. As if our generation needs to be told that lesson...