Saturday, July 02, 2005

A non-economist muses on a headline: "Grains, Soybeans Advance."

Fancy Robot imagines the article following that headline:

WASHINGTON--In a marriage of convenience, barley, oats and quinoa from across the country joined scores of the nation's soybeans Sunday and marched toward Washington, demanding that the FDA put a stop to the low-carb craze. "Think of your arteries!" shouted a protester who called himself Amarenth. Another named Millet grumbled about his placement alongside the wheat flakes, invoking his superior digestive properties, but marched nonetheless. The grains and soybeans were flanked by rows of cattle, lending security and moral weight to the proceedings.

The link includes the less interesting actual article as well, with Fancy Robot's own editorial comment: "Economics sucks the fun out of everything." Well, as an agricultural economist who reads with interest and sympathy what non-economists think of us, I've heard worse. Here is Wendell Berry's truly profound essay, "What are people for?":
It is apparently easy to say that there are too many farmers, if one is not a farmer. This is not a pronouncement often heard in farm communities. Nor have farmers yet been informed of a dangerous surplus of population in the "agribusiness" professions or among the middlemen of the food system. No agricultural economist has yet perceived that there are too many agricultural economists.

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