ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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From 50 Years Ago: In Favour of Non-Revolution

Vol IV, Nos 1 and 2 JANUARY 1969

Europe

In Favour of Non-Revolution

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… 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 … 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.

This state of affairs was acceptable as long as national markets were protected by relatively high tariff walls; in the changing conditions of today the high cost of agricultural protectionism is proving beyond the means of even the richest European nations.

Updated On : 4th Jan, 2019

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