The era of information the has led, to the creation of the particular image of success, and mass media created an image of a successful and stylish businessman. So, a lot of pethe ople are eager to become a white-collar rather than a farmer. Of course, the created image of “a big man with a big red tractor who grows a thousand acres of corn and votes Republican” is not quite tempting (Astyk & Newton 76).
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Fortunately, this erroneous perception is likely to be forgotten soon since it is becoming obvious that agriculture is playing one of the essential roles in economies, and farmers are those essential figures who move their countries forwarthe d. The recent changes in the world’s largest countries’ economies can be a good illustration of the exclusive role of agriculture, which can enable a sthe tate to play an important role in the world.
The definition of the farmer
To understand the importance of agriculture, it is necessary, in the first place, to understand those people who work in this sphere. It is essential to define who the farmer really is, what he really does for his/her country. Thus, Ligutti regards the farmer as one of the most important occupations since it is the farmer who produces “the essential elements needed by mankind—food, clothing, fuel, shelter” (213). Farmers’ labor cannot be overestimated since all other people depend on the people working in the field greatly.
I second this opinion and I would like to stress that while the problem of overpopulation is becoming frightening farmers’ professionalism and devotion is becoming decisive. Nevertheless, many people (especially youth) do not pay attention to the hard labor of farmers and know quite little about it. At the same time many detest the idea of becoming a farmer since this occupation is associated with dirt and some other non-aesthetic things.
However, they do not know about the beautiful and more important side of this profession. Farmers witness one of the most beautiful processes in the world: they see plants growing and they know how to make them grow faster. These people are lucky to work near the nature, they are not stuffed in cramped offices crowded with plastic facilities. I used to wonder why farmers look healthier than office workers and I found the answer.
First, farmers develop physically (instead of sitting at computers). Secondly, farmers get satisfaction since they always see the results of their work, those important products which other people will certainly appreciate. Fortunately, nowadays more people are aware of the peculiarities of this labor and existing culture of farmers and this enables them to obtain the correct image of this profession.
Manual work vs. white collar work
However, before considering the culture of the farmer, I would like to deal with a hopeful tendency of reevaluation of professional goals which occurs in the United States. Thus, two decades ago people were attracted by the so-called white-collar environment, everyone wanted to work at office using one’s brains rather than hands. However, nowadays many people come to understand the real value of any labor. In this respect, manual labor is being promoted now.
For instance, “the cubicle” work is being criticized since people working in such environments usually do not produce anything and, as a result, they cannot see the outcomes of their work, they cannot be totally satisfied with their jobs and continue asking themselves what is wrong (Crawford 126). On the contrary, people working with their hands explicitly see the result of their work: mechanics can hear roaring engine which they have repaired and farmers can have the wheat they have grown in their hands.
The farmers can see that their work brings bread to the shops and people’s houses, but almost none of managers involved in various spheres (marketing, banking, etc.) can see certain results. Fortunately, people now understand the importance of manual work and start considering numerous issues which can help to promote this kind of labor.
For example, Crawford points out that the system of education contributes to the development of erroneous vision of prestigious works and provides no opportunity for students to develop some skills while working with their hands (4). The discussion of such issues will lead to the positive change in public opinion towards manual work and this will cause the development of such field as agriculture.
The culture of the farmer
Thus, despite the image of Americans as business sharks a lot of Americans are involved in the agriculture. This can be easily explained by the peculiarities of the American’s social culture. According to Rapaille Americans are eager to work hard whatever occupation they choose (113). Moreover, they are preoccupied with the relevance of their job, whether they can be proud of it or not, whether they can self-develop, whether their work is important for the whole society (Rapaille 116).
These two characteristic features can be regarded as essential factors for farmer’s culture. It goes without saying that farmers can fearlessly state that their work is appreciated by all people. So, they can be sure that their work is relevant and worthy which makes them proud of their job. Besides, they can proudly boast with the amount of wheat (or any other culture) which they managed to grow. There is hardly a manager whose results can be comparable to the really valuable outcomes of the farmer’s labor.
Ligutti also states some more points of the farmer’s culture claiming that the farmer is a responsible “caretaker” of the soil he is tilling and should constantly improve his/her skills (213). I completely agree with Ligutti. To my mind, only responsible people can till the earth. Tolstoy symbolically depicted this responsibility in one of his stories and stressed that only honest labor can do good for a person, and irresponsibility makes people to get the only necessary amount of land: “six feet” (Tolstoy).
By all means, farmers should develop various techniques to improve their work. Many economists stress the necessity to acquire the “requisite skills” (Fang 924). This necessity also exists in agriculture. So, the farmer is a responsible person, who is not afraid of hard work and is eager to self-develop constantly. Fortunately, almost every American can be characterized like this which is promising for the development of this field of economy.
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The importance of agriculture for the overall economy of a country
At this point, it is necessary to consider the major points which prove the importance of agriculture as a part of the economy. First of all, it is possible to provide two examples: two countries where agriculture plays opposite roles.
Thus, Sweden is a “highly industrialized” country where agriculture employs “less than 2% of the labor force” (ECONOMY “Background Notes on Countries of the World: Sweden”). This makes the country quite a dependant on the world prices for agricultural goods which cannot lead to stability. It is not good for the country’s economy.
On the contrary, Dominica is an agricultural country since this sector employs about one-third of the entire labor force (ECONOMY “Background Notes on Countries of the World: Dominica”). However, such distribution of work force is not that good as well, since the country is dependent on the environment. Thus, natural disasters or such negative influences as droughts, erosion, pests, etc. can cause significant damage to the economy of the country and the wellbeing of its citizens.
The importance of agriculture can also be illustrated by the recent changes in the world. Reportedly, Russia is losing its position as one of the greatest suppliers of wheat and “demand for wheat from the U.S continues to rise” (Polansek). Apart from losing an image of the world supplier, Russia has faced many hardships, since its citizens have already witnessed the rise of prices for food (Polansek).
Besides, the lack of wheat influences other sectors not only producing food but making “rations for livestock, which could increase demand for crops such as corn” (Kilman et al.). Thus, when some problems emerge in the agricultural sector of the economy, the entire country faces a lot of difficulties. Of course, reasonable agricultural policies can never become a source of hardships for the country but instead can be good for the economy of the state.
For example, Lahart depicted the latest tendency that professions are vanishing in the United States (A15). The recession has caused a considerable rate of unemployment since the need in some professions decreased dramatically: for example, in November “there were 23% fewer people working at directory and mailing list publishers, and 46% fewer at photofinishing establishments” (Lahart A15).
However, the agricultural sector can provide a lot of jobs even (or especially) in the time of recession. It is necessary to stress that only reasonable policy in the agricultural sector can be good for a state.
Agriculture plays one of the essential roles in the economy of any country. Reasonable agricultural policies will lead to stability and economic independence of the country moreover since agriculture is one of the sectors of the economy it can influence positively the development of the state and become substantial support for other sectors. Of course, it is a great responsibility to be one of the major supporters of the country’s wellbeing, so people working in agriculture should follow the farmer’s culture.
This culture includes the basic principles of Americans: to work hard, to achieve results, to be responsible and contribute to the development of the country. Unfortunately, the image of a farmer working hard for little money is still present. So, it is necessary to educate people and show that the work of the farmer is prestigious since it is the farmer who produces essential products for the rest of the population of the country.
Fortunately, now people start appreciating the labor of the farmer since many scholars point out that agriculture plays an important role in the economy of the country. I believe that it is a good sign since people start understanding what the real values are.
Astyk, Sharon and Aaron Newton. A Nation of Farmers: Defeating the Food Crisis on American Soil. Gabriola Island, Canada: New Society Publishers, 2009.
Crawford, Matthew B. Shop Class As Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work. New York: Penguin Press, 2009.
“ECONOMY.” Background Notes on Countries of the World: Dominica (2007): 4. Business Source Complete. EBSCO. Web.
“ECONOMY.” Background Notes on Countries of the World: Sweden (2004): 6-7. Business Source Complete. EBSCO. Web.
Fang, Hanming. “Social Culture and Economic Performance.” American Economic Review 91.4 (2001): 924. Business Source Complete. EBSCO. Web.
Kilman, Scott, Ilan Brat, and Liam Pleven. “World Is Reliant on the U.S. for Its Wheat.”Wall Street Journal (2010): n. pag. Web.
Lahart, Justin. “Even in a Recovery, Some Job Won’t Return.”Wall Street Journal (2010): A15. Web.
Ligutti, L.G. “A Christian Policy for Agriculture.” American Journal of Economics & Sociology 15.2 (1956): 213-214. Business Source Complete. EBSCO. Web.
Polansek, Tom. “Russia’s Woes Push Up Wheat.” Wall Street Journal (2010): n. pag. Web.
Rapaille, Clotaire. The Culture Code. New York, New York, U.S.A: Broadway Books, 2006. 113-29. eBook.
Tolstoy, Leo. How Much Land Does a Man Need? The University of Adelaide, 2 2010. Web.