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The Farmer in New Zealand

5. The Farmer and the World

5. The Farmer and the World

This chapter is weighted with American experience because the United States provides the most conspicuous page 152and melancholy example of farming in decay—farming, that is, tied to the cash nexus and the accountancy version of success so despised by the Englishman, Lord Northbourne, in his Look to the Land (London, 1940). Americans too have repudiated the base suggestion that farming should, like other businesses, pay its way, financially rather than spiritually. Typical of them is Ralph Borsodi, author of Prosperity and Security (New York, 1938), and collaborator with O. E. Baker and M. L. Wilson in the symposium, Agriculture in Modern Life (New York, 1939). Another American, Russell Lord, has discussed the havoc caused by erosion and the technique of soil conservation in Behold Our Land (Boston, 1938), while in The Agrarian Revival (New York, 1939) he considers both the social and economic plight of the American farmer. Christy Borth's Pioneers of Plenty (Indianapolis, 1939) will possibly do a disservice to the chemurgy he is so infatuated with, though no doubt he and his publishers have correctly taken the pulse of the American reader. In spite of the 'believe it or not: truth is stranger than fiction' tone of his book, the developments he describes are too important to be ignored.

W. T. Doig's Standards of Life of New Zealand Dairy-farmers (Wellington, 1940) embodies the fruits of an extremely interesting attempt to assess the standards of living of the New Zealand dairy farmer. H. C. D. Somerset's excellent Littledene (Wellington, 1938) is concerned with the cultural standards and opportunities of people in the country.