Eat It, Brad DeLong*IOZ is articulate on a subject near and dear to me:
Every farmer I've known, and there are a lot of them in Western PA, has loved farming and sacrificed greatly in order to keep farming despite the best efforts of state-subsidized industrial agriculture to deprive them of their vocation. The idea that families gave up their farms because "manual agricultural labor sucks" is laughable. The fact that your evidence of this is dubious publicity stunt designed to highlight the no-duh truth that people habituated to a certain level of income will refuse to work rather than accept work paying them too far below their accustomed wage is indicative that you don't know what the fuck you're talking about. The whole sordid history of neoliberal intervention in the "developing world" is the decimation of subsistence economies, in which peoples produce locally most of what they need (subsistence doesn't necessitate "poverty," except to Nice Liberals and World Bank officials), via economic, environmental, and actual warfare, and the subsequent forced replacement of self-provision with economies of consumtion, in which people leave "manual agricultural work" for the sweat shop and the rural farm for the urban slum. The idea that you chalk these things up to individual choice rather than appreciating how they are necessitated by political and economic context only displays that it is you who holds the romantic notions, and the fact that any fifth-grader with a half-read copy of his Steinbeck can see the glaring flaws at the heart of the notion that agriculture stinks and it's great to get people off the farm and on the road ought to embarrass you.
*By Brad DeLong I do mean the personally decent but ideologically execrable blogger/economist/free trade-enthusiast. But I also use "Brad DeLong" as an ankle-biting (at least to him, I hope) synecdoche to personify the type of cultural elitist Democrat whose "libertarianism with a human face" political economy, ethnocentrism (hypocritical at that: they love to accuse non-fans of their preferred policies of bigotry to the third worlders those policies make miserable but allegedly more wealthy), relative wealth (by which I mean personal insulation to the economic stresses their preferred policies have put on their less-fortunate countrymen) and total intolerance of anyone to their political left has, due to this type's total hegemony among the Democratic Party, utterly destroyed its ability to pursue the populist agenda needed to restore this country.
Why does the Democratic Party in general and the Obama Administration in particular suck? "Brad DeLong"!
Why has "social democracy" been so dumbed-down that it now means little more policy-wise than a progressive income tax and increased education spending? "Brad DeLong"!
Why does America not make anything any more? "Brad DeLong"!
How did the terms "leftist" and "liberal" get so diluted that they now mean, basically, "anyone who isn't a bigot -- at least, based on gender, ethnicity, race, or sexual orientation; beating up the lower classes is okey-dokey -- and who also agrees with the no-duh fact that Donald Luskin and Jonah Goldberg are stupid fucking idiots"? "Brad DeLong"!
Why does the Democratic elite constantly kick the Democratic base in the teeth? "Brad DeLong"! Why does it politically kiss the collective ass of the Wealthy Criminal Class at every opportunity? "Brad DeLong"! Why does it constantly search for a "good faith" opponent on the right with whom it can compromise -- or to whom it can cave -- but at the same time demonize, stonewall, or betray everyone to its left? "Brad DeLong"!
Why are desperate immigrants from Latin America pouring into our country? What happened to their countries' economies? "Brad DeLong"!
Why are western companies moving their manufacturing base to China where goods are made in working conditions somewhere between those of 19th century Dickensian squalor, the Gulag, and some Nineteen Eighty-Four nightmare? "Brad DeLong"! Have you seen the pollution in China? What kind of ecocidal nutbag would want to help export our basest model of production and consumption, the most wasteful on Earth, to a country of two billion people? "Brad DeLong"!
Why is 2010 gonna be a disaster for the Democrats? "Brad DeLong"! Why is the Tea Party able to gain the sympathy of so many economically-shafted Americans whose welfare it obviously will not improve? "Brad DeLong"!