small tractor
Small tractor spraying the chemicals on the field, aerial view
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Wealth & Poverty Review Small is Beautiful, ‘cept when it isn’t

Originally published at Indivisible Review

My friend Jordan Ballor has a great piece about conservative fusionism, and in particular, the tensions between market oriented and communitarian oriented conservatives. He focuses on the special case of Rod Dreher, Crunchy Con author who recently moved to a small town in Louisiana. Jordan drives home the point I also make briefly in Money, Greed, and God: a global economy and reasonably free economy make it possible for people to pursue the small farming, slow food lifestyle, if they want to do so. But that very lifestyle depends on the prosperity of the global market to make it tolerable. Virtually no one gives up running water, electricity, Internet access, modern medicine, etc. And virtually no one who pursues a neo-agrarian lifestyle in 21st century America actually has to survive exclusively on the income generated from their little slice of heaven. Theirs is a qualitatively different existence that a medieval serf, whose life, contrary to the nostalgic stereotypes, tended to be nasty, brutish, and short.

So, by all means, enjoy a localvore, agrarian lifestyle if you want to. Just remember that it’s enjoyable in large part because of economic policies that allow the vast majority of people to do otherwise.

Jay W. Richards

Senior Fellow at Discovery, Senior Research Fellow at Heritage Foundation
Jay W. Richards, Ph.D., is the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, and the Executive Editor of The Stream. Richards is author or editor of more than a dozen books, including the New York Times bestsellers Infiltrated (2013) and Indivisible (2012); The Human Advantage; Money, Greed, and God, winner of a 2010 Templeton Enterprise Award; The Hobbit Party with Jonathan Witt; and Eat, Fast, Feast. His most recent book, with Douglas Axe and William Briggs, is The Price of Panic: How the Tyranny of Experts Turned a Pandemic Into a Catastrophe.