logo

Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





Copyright Notice: We don't think much of copyright, so you can do what you want with the content on this blog. Of course we are hungry for publicity, so we would be pleased if you avoided plagiarism and gave us credit for what we have written. We encourage you not to impose copyright restrictions on your "derivative" works, but we won't try to stop you. For the legally or statist minded, you can consider yourself subject to a Creative Commons Attribution License.


back

The Rise in American Agricultural Productivity

In Against Intellectual Monopoly, Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine point out that the great rise in American agricultural productivity after 1930 took place when patents were not granted on plant life, especially in the case of corn. Corn varieties were patented only starting in 1974, almost half a century after the great ag productivity boom began (pp. 55-56). They state that better hybrid strains were the primary driver in the farm belt's boom.

The economic historian John Gordon Steele points to another factor in what he calls "The High Price of Farm Productivity" (scroll down a bit): Henry Ford's introduction of the Fordson tractor, which by 1922 cost less then a team of good horses. By 1930 the only farmers using horses were the Amish.

In 1900, a third of U.S. cropland was used for fodder crops; by 1930 it was used mainly for making human food. I don't know which affect was more important, but surely they both were influential.

Here is John Gordon Steele's economic history of America, An Empire of Wealth.


Comments


Submit Comment

Blog Post

Name:

Email (optional):

Your Humanity:

Prove you are human by retyping the anti-spam code.
For example if the code is unodosthreefour,
type 1234 in the textbox below.

Anti-spam Code
UnoSevenThreeTwo:


Post



   

Most Recent Comments

James Boyle's new book with his congenial IP views free to download

French firm has patents on using computers to choose medical treatment 1

French firm has patents on using computers to choose medical treatment 1

French firm has patents on using computers to choose medical treatment 1

French firm has patents on using computers to choose medical treatment 1

French firm has patents on using computers to choose medical treatment 1

French firm has patents on using computers to choose medical treatment 1

French firm has patents on using computers to choose medical treatment 1

French firm has patents on using computers to choose medical treatment 1

French firm has patents on using computers to choose medical treatment 1

French firm has patents on using computers to choose medical treatment 1

French firm has patents on using computers to choose medical treatment 1

French firm has patents on using computers to choose medical treatment 1

French firm has patents on using computers to choose medical treatment 1

French firm has patents on using computers to choose medical treatment 1

French firm has patents on using computers to choose medical treatment 1

French firm has patents on using computers to choose medical treatment 1

French firm has patents on using computers to choose medical treatment 1

French firm has patents on using computers to choose medical treatment 1

Copyright batte over 'unauthorized' Catcher in the Rye commentary 1