I need help with my econ hw please! This question does not make sense to me!?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (see link above), there were 13.555 million farm workers in 1910, while there were only 2.953 million farm workers in 2000 in the United States. Arsenio declares, “We need higher price supports to protect the farm workers from all losing their jobs!” What happened to all the farm workers? Are they part of unemployment now?

2 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    When there is demand for a good or service, supply of that good or service will meet that level of demand in a free market scenario. When we take the service of farming (to produce food) the same rule applies- a given amount of people will offer their labour as farm workers so as to meet the demand for farm workers. In 1910, there was a huge demand for farm labourers, because it took a lot of labour to produce a comparatively small amount of food. Nowadays, we have machines that take a lot of the work out of producing food, so we need fewer farm workers, i.e. there is a much lower demand for farm labourers, and hence the supply of farm workers will shrink to meet that demand.

    The much higher numbers of farm workers from 1910 are not unemployed (for a start, they'd all probably be dead by now, or at least retired!) rather people have moved away from farming as machines have reduced the need for human labour. People have moved to new areas of work that previous barely existed, if at all, in 1910, such as the computer and financial industries, and research and development.

    Finally, the situation I described in the first paragraph refers to a free market situation; in the question, however, it is not a free market scenario, rather one with high government intervention. Price supports are when a government imposes a minimum price for a good. In this case, the government is setting a minimum price for farm produce because (presumably) the free market price of farm produce would be "too low". By "too low" I mean that prices would be at a level where the government would worry that farmers were not making enough money, which could cause the farmers to quit, and this could hurt everybody because everybody needs food to live. The topic of whether the government should step in in cases like this is the subject of much debate, particularly in the case of farming.

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    4 years ago

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