The Capital Strip Mine

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“It is harder to ignore the enormous increase in indebtedness and overhead that has accompanied the enlargement of farm technology. Mr Billard quotes an Iowa banker: “In 1920 … $5,000 was a big loan, and people hesitated to borrow. Now a $40,000 loan is commonplace, and having mortgage after mortgage is an accepted thing. I occasionally wonder whether the average farmer will ever get out of debt.” …

… The Iowa banker’s statement, doubtful as it may seem out of context, is made in praise of credit. Nowhere is there a question of the advisability of basing so large on enterprise on credit, or of the influence of routine indebtedness on a people’s character. Nowhere is there a suspicion that there might be any worth in the old rural values of solvency and thrift.”

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