Economies of Scale

Amish farms give the lie direct to that false god of “agribusiness”:  the so-called economy of scale.  The small farm is not an anachronism, is not unproductive, is not unprofitable.  Among the Amish it is still thriving, and is the economic foundation of what John A. Hostetler rightly calls “a healthy culture.”  Though they do not produce the “record breaking yields” so touted by the “agribusiness” establishment, these farms are nevertheless rightly productive.  And if they are not likely to make their owners rich (never an Amish goal), they can certainly be said to be sufficiently profitable.  The economy of scale has helped corporations and banks, not farmers and farm communities. It has been an economy of dispossession and waste–plutocratic, if not in aim, then certainly in result.

Wendell Berry (1981)

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