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Traders, Farmers, and Agricultural Organizations

Traders, Farmers, and Agricultural Organizations

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Excerpt from Traders, Farmers, and Agricultural Organizations: An Inquiry Into an Alleged Conflict of Interest

From the earliest days of the movement which has for its main object the organisation of the agricultural industry in the three-fold directions of economical production, cheaper transport, and better marketing, a more or less keen hostility thereto has been shown on the part of manufacturers, of wholesale agents, and of retail shopkeepers, who have seen in it a source of prejudice to their individual interests for which - perhaps not unnaturally - they have felt a greater degree of concern than they have been able to entertain for the welfare alike of agriculture and of the community in general.

This tendency has been developed in almost every country where the now world-wide movement in question has taken root.

In the United Kingdom such adverse criticism of agricultural organisation is still being indulged in, mainly on the grounds of detriment to the interests of private traders by reason of (1) the competition of the societies; (2) the encouragement given to the movement by railway companies; and (3) the making of grants of public money in support, as is alleged, of societies carrying on such competition with private traders, although, as will be shown later on, the propagandist societies here in question are really educational, and not trading, bodies.

These complaints have a bearing on various problems and considerations which directly concern our present economic and social position, and more especially so as regards our ability to face foreign competition, while, even in respect to the interests of private traders, it will be found that, although these could not, in any circumstances, be allowed to stand in the way of the public good, they are likely to be much less seriously prejudiced - so far as they are based on sound and legitimate business principles - than the alarmists and hostile critics suppose.

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