Farming

Abandoning Urbanism for Re-ruralization

We’ve been hearing about the problem of urban sprawl here in the US for decades now, especially its affects on the environment and proposed solutions such as mass transit. This would lessen some of the worst environmental impacts of our modern urban lives, but in some ways it may actually induce the problem worse. Because as you spread transit networks out to reach more people and tie outlying areas into the wider network what you are doing is creating more opportunities for what is called by some “real estate development”, either in already populated places or in less densely settled areas.
This either adulterates and debases the beauty and grandeur of our natural sceneries for the benefit of a few, or increases rents and overcrowds areas that are already intensively settled. This is what leads to the strange combination of circumstances that are experienced in southern California, urban sprawl and over mobbing. The simple fact is that there are too many people living in the coastal areas of southern California. It affects our environment, our health and in all candidly our sanity.
Some good meaning folks mention and some delusional legislators ramble on about various proposed solutions to these twin menaces; again mass transit but also restriction driving days and low cost housing projects. All these except the first are little more than band aids that will fail to solve the problems of overcrowding, a rising cost of living and environmental degradation. While as we have discussed the former actually can in the long term build them worse. Especially because when mass transit networks are over expanded and new regions come into settlement the number of people living in these areas who actually end up utilizing mass transit will likely be fewer than those newcomers who will continue to drive.
In the long run our problem isn’t that we don’t have enough mass transit, it’s that we have too many people living in too close proximity to each other; whether in southern California, Houston, Philadelphia or Seattle. Our cities and even our suburbiums are overdeveloped and overcrowded , not just in California but across the country,
Take for example the town of Ellicott, Maryland. Here flooding of the local river, partly due to the soil’s inability to assimilate massive amounts of rainfall, caused creeks of destruction to roll through the town and across our television screens; with many people’s almost entire lives being washed away. This was partly due to the mass concretezation of vast tracts of land around the colonial-era town associated with new home and business building. And who could forget the trauma of the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans. That catastrophe would not have occurred if businesses and people had not been allowed to settle in and “develop” an area of land so clearly fraught with danger, lying as it does below sea level so close to the coast.
Of course, then there are the chronic health risks of living in an overcrowded urban or urbanizing region such as respiratory issues arising from vehicle exhaust as well as cancers and birth defects due to industrial pollutants. Not merely that but a recent study has suggested that these same pollutants are affecting educational performance, lowering both math and speech scores for children living in these over-urbanized regions. A perhaps more immediate threat to the populations of our largest metropolitan regions can be found in the potential for the endemic spread of the new super glitches we’ve heard so much about from doctors and scientists. These being immune to our most advanced pharmacology could, once a severe enough breakout were to occur, easily and quickly spread through our most cramped and medically under served urban centers, with little time for the authorities to act.
Besides the physical and health risks associated with crowding such big groups of humanity together there are also the detrimental social impacts of a life expend jailed within the four walls of modernism. The infertility of the modern office robs human of his birth right, the exhilaration of dominion over nature, the pride of marking the clay with the work of his own two hands. Instead he procures himself frozen in place surrounded by a cadre of gadgets and machines that he is told will solve all his problems, but in reality turn him into little more than a feckless child.
In this devalued world of drudgery mankind becomes isolated and increasingly apathetic. People fill their day with an endless parade of distractions promoted by those who wish to see them remain shackled in oblivion. Among these are the vapid furors of social radicalism taught in many of our universities, the cult of modern celebrity and sexual promiscuity.
Chained to such an existence we are consumed by presumption. Always discovering ourselves in competitor with our neighbors , either to have the latest product or pronounce the latest liberal talking point in order to” keep up with the Joneses “. All this in search of some specious urbanite utopia where we are told enjoyment will abound around every corner and we can be free of many of the negative consequences of our own actions. Of course this world can never genuinely exist and the results are a society depressed, preoccupied with consumption and drowning in debt. Enslaved by both big finance and big tech man knows not where to turn.
The solution best suited to combat these ailments will seem quite radical to some. It is the mass re-ruralization of our society, evacuating big swaths of major cities and resettling those populations in a dispersed way across the countryside to embrace a return to the soil that will help us create a stabler, more sustainable and healthier society. This would clearly be a long and drawn out process, likely taking decades to accomplish and requiring the mobilization of enormous amounts of both material and human resources the likes of which few have ever seen.
The United Country is a country endowed with abundant natural resources, amongst which are enormous amounts of arable land and forests. Cultivated acreage stimulates up only about 10% of land in our country, with less then 25% of this being used to grow food. Whereas urban and suburban areas take up only about 3 %. If we take into consideration arable lands left fallow or being used for other purposes there is clearly enough land to accommodate the surplus populations of our towns and suburbiums. Of course this may entail the movement of substantial population groups out of certain states and into others as the quality and quantity of arable land varies in different regions of the country.
These movements could be best accomplished or at least facilitated through a combination of tax policy and financial incentives. The first step in this direction would be to discourage urban living, primarily through the creation of two parallel taxation regimes. With the basic tax structure for revenue collecting from people maintained basically in tact in rural areas, but at lower levels, while both income and property taxes would in the main rise over time in all non-rural districts. This will create the initial pushing factor that will propel a voluntary move away from the cities. This general policy will also apply to all companies and corporations involved in non-agricultural sectors of the economy, with the exception of those involved in the defense industry. Whereby many will help to undue the damage they have done to the people, most especially fiscal, technology and importation oriented businesses.
These levies will be used to fund a program of agrarian incentives used to promote the re-establishment of the small to mid-sized family farm as the cornerstone of American society, acting as the concomitant pull factor to the above mentioned urban and suburban disincentives. Among the former will be subsidies for the purchase of tools, livestock and grain furnishes that will accompany the initial resettlement of populations.
To facilitate the creation of new small to mid-sized family farms a regime of lower property and sales tax rates will be instituted for small rural landholders and laborers, accompanied by intermittent multi-year tax holidays on both revenue sources for family farmers. Any fiscal deficits incurred by the state in furtherance of these policies will initially be made up for by an increase in both corporate and property taxes for industrial scale agribusiness and ranching.
To assistance those farmers who are already established an initial cancellation of indebtedness will also be instituted for household landholders of longstanding who posses land below a certain acreage threshold, with distinct qualifications established for the same purpose in regards to small and mid-sized livestock breeders. Additionally as protection against future fiscal predations all family farms and ranchs will be classed among a new category of business known as a hereditary enterprise, which will halt the practice of farm foreclosures by putting in place a moratorium on attempts to mortgage or sell any piece of a family farm. To ensure the continuity of these systemic reforms the holders of hereditary enterprises will be required to pass their property down to their eldest son upon retirement or after passing on.
These reforms would go a long way to addressing the grave imbalances caused by the so-called industrial revolution. The mechanization of farming being the main culprit in disrupting traditional ruralism. With the advent of the cotton gin( 1793) and especially mechanical harvesters and threshers( 1834) big landowners were in some ways able to cut their personnel and force all but the most fierce of their subsistence neighbors off their land. While the urban tycoons who came to prominence near the same time exploited the new technologies of mechanized weaving and other once artisanal trades to destroy the cottage industries of the villages and small towns. This gave these former merchants ineffable power over their sometime former partners.
This swelled the ranks of the rural unemployed, forced into to swarm the cities in search of wage employment. Due to overcrowding and the increase in food costs that followed these changes people actually had a lower standard of living then before. You might ask yourself, use the logic of the industrial marketeer ‘ But wouldn’t the efficiencies caused by mechanization lead to lower prices ?’ The answer is no, since once industrial farmers bought these foreclosed lands they turned their attention to increasing their own gains instead of continuing to use these lands for the common good . They did this by taking them out of cultivation and converting them to animal pasturage. This raised the prices of staple goods while lowering the price of many of the luxury foods craved by their urban counterparts, many of which were still out of reach of the average person. Of course mechanization also lead to an increase in slavery across the Americas due to the new ease of growing cotton.
The plight of the surviving small farmer did not end when he adapted himself to the exigencies of the modernizing world. Rather he has been slowly ground under foot by the radical economic and biological convulsions of what has been praised in liberal history books and international business circles as the” green revolution .” A sorry manipulation and homogenization of nature that serves to enrich industrial agribusiness at the expense of farmers as well as the general public.
This began with the introduction of new chemical fertilizers and pesticides that were touted as increasing crop yields and helping to solve the world’s food crisis. And to a certain extent these technologies did help society to move towards these goals. But again the unforeseen consequences of these developments have in many ways undermined their scanty benefits. From the higher rate of miscarriages and birth defect among agricultural workers to the likely carcinogenic nature of some of the most famous of these products, some of which can be found in our homes, the long-term health affects of exposure to these substances can be highly detrimental.
Later came GMOs( genetically modified crops and livestock) which were meant to be in many cases resistant to disease, drought and/ or pests. The health affects of these products are unclear while separately the dominance they and their inventors exercise over the agricultural market has led to a serious lack of diversity and security in our food supply. Societally we’ve become so dependent on the production of such a limited number of assortments of foodstuffs that any future unanticipated outbreak of disease, for which no provision was induced in the genetic makeup of these products, could wipe out vast amounts of our grain and animal stocks. Leaving us again vulnerable to food shortages and famine in the long run.
And just as with the advent of mechanization such technologies have had a ruinous affect on most small farmers. Again it is the large agribusinesses that are best able to afford the expense involved in implementing these technologies, whether it be purchasing seeds engineered to produce greater yields of grain or cows imbued with hormones to produce larger quantities of milk. They are then able to flood the market with their render, lowering costs for all such goods and destroy any earning that the small farmer may have hoped to gain.
Not only does the family farmer fall a prey to his larger challengers due to these technologies, but he is also at times victimized by the large multinationals who develop them. In a step apparently aimed at the eventual total monetization of nature some of these companies have sought and received intellectual property rights over the seeds they have engineered. This allows for litigation against any farmer who has seeds from a GMO crop on a neighbor’s property blown onto his own and unwittingly lets it grow there. This is yet another substantial fiscal hurtle put in the way of the small family farmer by the power of international business interests. This will again ruin many small farmers and devote agribusiness access to even more devalued foreclosed lands.
Besides crippling the small family farmer these industrial agri-interests likewise don’t necessarily put the interests of the American people first. Instead some concentrate on cultivating large cash crops for sale in foreign marketplaces; focusing on satiating outside demand at a profit instead of working to feed the masses of Americans who struggle to afforded nutritious and healthy meals. While those focused on domestic markets often sell their produce to the large commercial purveyors of street foods that are lolling our youth into a fat saturated state of sloven indolence.
Work must thus be undertaken to undo the great harm caused by the unbarred metastasization of these industrial agri- and ranching interests and restore our society to the purity and beauty it once personified. As such the lands so brazenly occupied by these liberal marketeers over about two centuries should be returned to the people. The most effective way to accomplish this would be through a staggered process of land expropriation that would insure these firms’ mammoth domains is split and parceled out as private property to the influx of new rural residents that would coincide with the implementation of the the aforementioned re-ruralizing policies.
However to avoid the perils of Marxism it may be necessary to recognize that some of these interests may have attained material improvements in the condition of these lands and to provide them with some kind of basic compensation. Those corporations best suited to the task will thus be reformed under statute into bureaux with the right to re-educate the new rural populations in the practices of agriculture and livestock rearing, funded and strictly supervised by the state. The rest, being unfit for this purpose, will be dissolved and their assets seized.
In this vision of agrarian reform the nationalization of the farm credit system would also be necessary so as to take it out of the hands of its current masters, agribusiness profiteers. Nominally under the authority of the independent federal Farm Credit Administration this group functions as a agriculture Federal Reserve; owned by its members and controlling the financing of all rural commercial initiatives in the country with limited independent oversight. Indeed half of the FCA’s board is appointed by this hall group.
In contrast what we need is an agricultural subsistence regime under the direct authority of the state through this same agency, with the recipients of such government largess unable to appoint their own overseers. As part of this general reform the system’s “Federal” Land Banks and Intermediate Credit Banks along with their respective districts should be kept in place. With these bodies helping to facilitate the purchase of further real property and farming implements once the initial bouts of re-ruralization have been completed. Meanwhile the system’s District Banks for Cooperatives would eventually be meander down in as much as when nation aid for family farmers becomes sufficiently plentiful agricultural cooperatives will become obsolete.
The process for reaching credit under these new conditions will be simplified by the removal of the requirement to buy stock in any number of Land Bank or Production Credit associations in order to receive a loan. The previous system’s practice of awarding control of said organizations to their biggest stockholders( i.e. biggest debtors) will come to an end. This approach marginalized small farmers and empowered those with the excess capital required to purchase influence in non-governmental organizations, that is the liberal marketeers who direct industrial agribusiness. These alterations will thus watch the shuttering of said associations and an end to their control not only over the financing of all agricultural enterprises in the country, but additionally the erasure of their erstwhile authority over America’s wider agricultural policy.
As greater numbers of people become increasingly self sufficient in terms of food production the marketing and business services cooperatives that function as extensions of the Banks for Farm Cooperative will also be phased out. This because large scale merchandising of foodstuffs will become redundant except for governmental intents. These include provisioning for the armed forces and the creation of food stockpiles for emergency intents. These necessities are well known and have no need to be marketed to in the present coarse fashion.
At the moment much of the financial support garnered for the functioning of these various bodies is acquired through the drift of securitized debt instruments to the public. However, as the entirety of this mechanism will be brought under the direct auspices of the central government this practice too will come to an end. In place of such revenue sources the system will receive support directly from the state. Whereas the people are now held liable for any losses incurred by the decisions of the merchant-chieftains who lead these groups without any real authority over them, under this revitalization of ruralism the country will be at once both accountable for such failures and capable of guiding policy in a manner more conducive to the true flowering and sustainability of the rural economy.
With such financing and governance issues resolved this new agricultural aide regime will be free to grant farmers who are struggling the assistance they actually need. Operating loans will regularly be renewed, unless there is some grave, permitting farmers to plan for the long term and no longer live in fear of farm bankruptcy. Loans will never more be granted which expose the small family farmer to the vagaries of financial markets, with adjustable rate financing eliminated and all loans awarded at below market rates in order to give those who work with their hands and actually create the leeway they need to survive. While smaller farmers who incorrectly followed the instance of the liberal marketeers and actively engaged in class of production dependent on large mass markets, such as dairy and soy farming, will receive special incentives to diversify away from said practices. That said the accompanying margin-protection insurance programs that went along with such will also be dismantled. In order to guarantee strict oversight of these agencies and further the goal of restoring our society to its former strength a dramatic transformation of the kind and usage of national government will be required. Proportions of what are now federal departments will be eliminated while their remainders in some cases will have to be conglomerated to facilitate a better co-ordination of the processes necessary to see this great goal through. For example, the creation of a Department for Housing and Re-ruralization comprised of element from the former departments of agriculture, housing and urban issues and education as well as the EPA. To accomplish this we will need the work of a strong unflinching government, perhaps much mightier than anything our current system is capable of producing. Our federalist government with its constant modifications of rule by misguided and selfish cliques could be expected never accomplish a social transformation as grand as the one been discussed. Both its inability to develop and implement long range schemes and in many respects its beholdeness to international business interests indicate a change in the structure and makeup of our government will be required to see these changes set in motion. What we need is a form of government free of the corrosive social tendencies that accompanied the’ modernization’ and mechanization of society.
In short what we need is a monarchy; a government unafraid to take the reins and guide society in a direction all too often ignored and looked down upon by those who have told us they have all the answers. These people have failed to secure the true well being of our people in many ways. Whether in terms of employment, where just as with the introduction of mechanization we are suffering from mass joblessness( at about 28% according to the government’s own figures ), or as regards our health, bombarded as we are with the harmful chemical cocktails that swirl about us both in our rural and non-rural settings.
Escaping from the toxic mileau manipulated into existence over the past few centuries will be a daunting long term process. It will take generations to complete and entail in many ways a complete reconsideration of how our society is organized and run. The challenge is great but even greater is the will to see the wrongs of the past undone, This is a struggle in which we can not fail. And indeed once we marshal all the resources of society to our side there can be no doubt that we will together restore society to its true equilibrium, where human is again free from the drudgeries and corruptions of modernism just as God aimed.

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