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The Agricultural Crisis by Wendell Berry

The Agricultural Crisis by Wendell Berry

In this novel by Wendell Berry, Berry’s describes in his thesis that modern culture is destroying the agricultural culture. He feels that technology is seen as the easy way to produce food faster and more efficiently. With this modern way of farming comes the idea that hard work is not needed to make a living. The goal is comfort and leisure. Berry feels that this is the reason for the deterioration of the agricultural culture. He believes that hard work and pride in workmanship is more important than material goods and money. This was by no means a perfect society. The people had often been violent wand wasteful in the use of land of each other. Its present ills have already taken root in it. Even with these faults, this society appreciated the hard work of farming compared to the easy way of living today.

One point of Berry’s argument is that he believes that the land is falling more and more into the hands of speculators and professional people from the cities, who inspite of all the scientific agricultural miracles still have more money than farmers. Big technology and large economics has caused more abandonment of land in the country than ever before. Many of the great farmers are clearly becoming different because they lack then manpower and money to maintain properly. The number of part time farmers and ex-farmers increases every year due to the problems with money and resources. Our harvests depend more and more on the labor of elderly people and young children. The farm people are becoming less dependent on their own produce and more from what they are buying. A lot of them are worried more about their money so they overwork themselves more than before. The ideal of hard wor...

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...survival, then the relationships within it must, in recognition of their independence, be mainly cooperative rather than competitive. A people cannot live long at each other’s expenses or at the expense of their cultural birthright. The relationships in the universe are thus not competitive but interdependent.

Berry does prove his thesis by showing that modernization has a hand in the destruction in the farming culture. He stated that as the society’s technology improves their way of life we seem to forget the significance of the common knowledge about the land. Also he looks down of the competition within the culture who are competing with one another. He despises the fact that some small farmer cannot compete with the bigger farms because small farms lack money, resources and manpower to keep up. All of this replaces the distraction of the farming culture today.

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