[LMB] OT: Content Analysis (was Re: "The Warrior's Apprentice" - book talk, now OT:)

Christopher Gwyn cdgwyn at gmail.com
Wed Aug 29 05:04:39 BST 2007

On 8/28/07, Thomas Vinson <t.vinson at sbcglobal.net> wrote:
> Christopher Gwyn brings us up to date on his thesis:
>> (I'm doing a content analysis of federal farm legislation
>> over the last 150 years, attempting to demonstrate that
>> agricultural sustainability has not been a legislative priority.)
> Well, duh!
> Although I suppose actually _demonstrating_ anything based
> on the text of the legislation would be non-trivial.

           The intent of legislation can be hard to discern without
the transcripts of speeches and committee meetings.  Demonstrating
that an intent is not present in the text is somewhat easier.  I'm
coding each clause in specific acts for the presence of
characteristics whose presence or absence affects the probability that
sustainable farming decisions are being  (or can be) made.  So far it
looks like the presence of parts of the acts that support sustainable
decisions being made are there for other reasons or accidental.  (The
point of bothering to do this is to underscore that legislation
matters, and in particular the details of the legislation
matter...there is surprisingly little literature in the Resource
Management field that addresses legislation....it is interesting that
such an innately political field tries so hard to be apolitical.)

> (whose brother went through kindergarten being surnamed
> "Benson", after the then US Secretary of Agriculture)

           Ezra Taft Benson.  The agriculture secretary before him,
Charles Franklin Brannan, suggested that instead of the price support
system that they had (which was doing little to support the incomes of
family farms) that instead the Federal Government should guarantee a
farmer's income, while letting free market forces determine the prices
of commodities.  His system would have paid a livable income for
production of a certain amount of a crop, with no additional support
for producing more.  The way for a farmer to increase profits in such
a situation is to reduce inputs, which is quite different from the
systems we have today.  Farming would probably be much more diverse in
this country if Brannan's plan had been adopted.  Oh well.


*** Christopher Gwyn
*** cdgwyn at gmail.com

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