Visalia Times-Delta columnist joins in the Red Bating fad as though that will solve anything
Farmers have no monopoly on honesty, because that character trait is rooted in the country’s founding principles. But those roots have grown strong and deep in agriculture. Farmers are wondering why honesty doesn’t have a higher priority among political representatives.
If Marxism is a politician’s ultimate destination, he or she ought to be forthright enough to say so. Don’t count on it; saying and doing what is expedient instead makes them more electable.
Many politicians are taking large numbers of people with them to their secret collectivist destinations. Very few farmers want to go there.
Geez “marxism”, “communism”, “socialism” – is red-baiting in the red states and counties going to be the rule of the day for a while? I am sure that is a great tactic to get your own people elected and listened to.
If farmers are such great capitalists and free marketeers, how about they look at the industry structure that they have wrought over the last 100 or so years since this land was settled? If they are so transparent, how about they share what they have learned?
The problem is that farmers have dug themselves a hole at the bottom of a heap of a distribution channel, and a complex supply chain, and as such they have no (or limited) economic leverage.
Take a look at the recent raisin price it was announced that farmers will get for their crop this year – divide the dollars by ton to get a price per ounce, then go to your favorite retailer to see what the retail price per ounce is. The difference is what the market perceives as the value added in all of the steps of the supply chain beyond the farmer. It is a lot – what is the farmer doing to capture that value for himself or herself?
The same is true of any crop.
Similarly, take a look at the risk of the capital the farmer invests in his or her crop. Are the returns earned a fair return for the risk? Has the risk changed? Most likely they have.
But the same local red-baiters are also the anti-scientists who refuse to acknowledge climactic shifts. Now are upset at political shifts too, they are not likely to find a solution in economics, science, or business and finance. They are quick to see and seek the hand of God in all their local political endeavors, when there is an opportunity to restrict someone else’s rights. It is more than a little bit surprising that they don’t see the Hand of Providence in their own fate.
However despite the prevalent “know-nothing” political approach prevailing in the Valley, there are in fact various techniques available to them to restructure the capitalization of their industry, so that the farmers receive what they perceive as the true value they provide from the end user (if in fact they don’t already get it).
These techniques DO NOT include calling people Marxists or Communists when they are representing their own interests in a free market. Quite the opposite – doing so merely tags those who those claims as fools not capable of understanding their own situation, let alone innovating their way out of it.
They DO involve a careful and honest assessment of the situation and how it came to be. In the past, the Valley has been represented successfully from a farmer’s point of view with regards to water – they were given everything they asked for: Witness former Senator Sheridan Downey’s book of character assassination documenting his plan for the water projects that now run low and dry called “They Would Rule The Valley”.
Yes, this is the most productive farming area in the country, perhaps even the world. But it does not live in economic isolation – there are limits to the resources available to make things grow, and increased efficiency can’t go on forever , in this or any other field of human endeavor.
It may very well be that without innovation in industry structure and capitalization, that growth and efficiency have peaked, and that water is not really the limiting issue at all.
So when I see folks calling “commie” or “marxist” as is increasingly frequent locally and in the media, I expect a recognition that these are economic terms being tossed around. If the speaker does not want to be ridiculed for using words as epithets without even knowing what they mean, then I would expect a serious analysis of the industry structure to follow.
Yet somehow it never does.
But why would that be a surprise from anyone in a region that, according to a recent Congressional Report, compares unfavorably in just about every regard with our other poorest region of the country, Appalachia?