ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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EUROPE-In Favour of Non-Revolution

EUROPE SINCE the Industrial Revolution, European economic development has been singularly lop-sided. While industry has flourished, agriculture has remained firmly rooted in the 18th century, even though the tractor has replaced the farm horse and milking machines the milkmaid. As a result, European planners today find themselves trying to reconcile an industrial sector increasingly dominated by giant production units with an agricultural sector in which the unit of production is the tiny family farm. (Two-thirds of the farms in the Common Market are less than 10 hectares in size.) Not surprisingly, in view of the relative importance of the farming population, agricultural policy has been based on social rather than economic criteria. Faced with a decline in agricultural incomes (in relation to incomes in the manufacturing and service sectors of the economy) governments have resorted to a series of protectionist measures, such as price support programmes, in order to prevent the gap between farm and urban incomes from becoming too great. Higher food prices have inevitably had an unfortunate effect on production costs in industry, even while making it possible for industry to find a growing rural market for its output.

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