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Britain's agricultural depression

2018-11-20 来源: 51due教员组 类别: Essay范文

下面为大家整理一篇优秀的essay代写范文- Britain's agricultural depression,供大家参考学习,这篇论文讨论了英国的农业大萧条。19世纪末的英国农业大萧条,主要是因为该时期严重反常的持续性旱涝天气,以及英国谷物法的废除和自由贸易政策的实施,同时,英国国内农业比较价值的下跌,促使大量农业或乡村地区的人口转移至非农产业或城镇地区,给农场主们的生产活动造成了很大的困难,进一步加剧了该时期农业的萧条程度。

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Since the 1870s, the United Kingdom has suffered extreme weather, resulting in a severe crop failure. For example, the British government's annual statistical report on grain output in 1879 showed that, for all the regions surveyed at the time, no statistics on wheat output were higher than the average for that year, while there were only two cases of barley, six cases of peas, and only oats, which were not generally poor. Not only that, but the quality of the grain is not up to scratch. A survey by the Richmond commission found that many farmers were only able to use the grain they produced to feed their animals. Livestock farming also faces serious difficulties. In 1880, for example, the grass-growing season coincided with a spring drought and the harvest with a rainy season, resulting in livestock farmers losing weight due to lack of feed and poor quality livestock. As John Calvertt of Oxfordshire describes it, "the country is currently in the worst of times as we know it, and bad weather has devastated British farmers and agriculture." Based on the above series of similar historical facts, the committee concluded in its 1882 report that "all the evidence we have investigated shows that the depression was mainly the result of a series of adverse weather effects."

To sum up, bad weather was an important cause of the great depression. Bad weather is one of the biggest complaints for farmers who depend on farming for their livelihood, as years of bad weather can leave them with no harvest and no livestock. When the weather is bad, the recession will pass quickly when the weather is good, as many thought. For example, when the climate began to improve in the early summer of 1880, it was said that "the agricultural outlook will improve The agricultural difficulties will pass, and the "good season" will come. However, the British agricultural situation did not develop as these people expected, because bad weather was not the only cause of the agricultural depression.

In addition to the bad weather, there was a sharp downward trend in agricultural prices in Britain at that time. Between 1873 and 1894, the price of produce in Britain generally fell by about a third, but some prices fell by much more than that. Robert Giffen, who has estimated changes in grain prices in lincolnshire during this period, notes that grain prices in 1894 were about 66.46% lower than in 1874. Statistics from other farm accounts show that between 1873 and 1894 the prices of British cereals such as wheat, barley and oats fell by 74.4%, 72% and 50.3%, respectively. Between 1874 and 1891, the output value of meat and milk products decreased by 23.47% and 33% respectively.

Based on similar historical facts, an investigation by the royal commission on the great depression of agriculture in 1897 concluded that the great depression was mainly caused by a severe drop in agricultural prices. However, the serious decline in agricultural prices, as an intuitive factor, its hidden deeper reasons need to be studied carefully. According to the effect of the law of value, when the output of agricultural products is reduced, the price of agricultural products will be increased accordingly, thus, farmers can make up for part of the loss from the rise of their prices. But during the depression, when Britain's output fell sharply, prices did not rise. Why? When we look at world markets, it is not hard to see the real cause of this anomaly, starting with the abolition of the corn laws and the implementation of free trade policies.

The abolition of the corn laws led directly to the influx of foreign produce into the British agricultural market. For example, on the eve of the repeal of the corn laws, wheat imports were about 7-8 per cent of the total wheat consumption in England and wales, but rose to a fifth shortly after the repeal, and to a fourth by the 1850s and 40 per cent by the 1960s. In terms of volume, wheat imports were slightly less than 0.5 million tons in the first half of the 1840s, and slightly more than 0.5 million tons in the second half, rising to about 0.8 million tons in the 1950s. Since the 1960s, imported grain has further eroded Britain's domestic agricultural market. For example, the average volume of grain imports reached 1.5 million tons in the 1960s, 2 or 2.5 million tons in the 1970s and 3 million tons in the 1980s. Despite the rise in grain imports and their share, the rapid expansion of the population during this period led to a huge demand that far exceeded the UK's largest domestic output of agricultural products. Objectively, Britain imported only a quarter of its grain and 14 per cent of its meat by about 1870.

However, the abolition of grain law is an important prerequisite for the implementation of free trade policy. Together with the free trade policy, it ensures the integration of the UK's agricultural market with the world. As a result, the price changes of British domestic agricultural products begin to be affected by the changes in the international and domestic agricultural markets. Based on this, j. r. Wordie believed that the free trade policy adopted in the 1950s and 1960s made British agriculture highly susceptible to foreign competition, which was an important factor contributing to the great depression of agriculture in the late 19th century. Indeed, the abolishment of the grain law and the implementation of the free trade policy gradually broke the closed domestic market space of the rule of value of British agricultural products.

At that time, under the international free trade market environment of the United Kingdom, the domestic agricultural production in the United Kingdom fell while the supply of agricultural products around the world kept increasing. The worldwide appeared during the period of new agricultural production base, such as the ancient India, Australia, North America and other regions, together with the application of the advanced means of transportation such as steamer, greatly reduces the cost of transportation, making a large amount of cheap foreign agricultural products into the UK on a large scale of domestic agricultural products market, with the conditions of the agricultural product supply, thereby inhibiting the British agriculture prices due to bad weather, domestic animal plague may produce the effect of rising trend. Statistics show that by the late 1870s, foreign agricultural products had begun to flood Britain's domestic market. For example, in the case of wheat, about a quarter of the supply of wheat was imported from foreign countries in 1850, up to 50% from 1873 to 1875. In 1879, wheat was imported as much as 59.5 million hectolitres. Although these imports made up for the shortage of Britain's wheat production, they also made it impossible for Britain's wheat to get corresponding compensation through a certain degree of price rise due to the failure of its domestic crop, which obviously affected the original price fluctuation rule of Britain's domestic wheat. Sir James Caird, who compiled data on the output of wheat during the depression of 1853, 1855, 1859, 1860 and 1861, pointed out that during the five years, the average yield of wheat was 24 bushels per acre, and the price was 61 shillings 6 pence. He then drew on data from 1873, 1875, 1876, 1877 and 1879 to show that during the same period of recession, the average yield of wheat was 19 bushels per acre and the price was 49 shillings 10 pence. By comparison, the average wheat yield per acre during the second recession was not only five bushels lower than the previous period, but also 11 shillings and 3 pence lower.

In conclusion, the abolition of grain law and the implementation of free trade policy led to the failure of British agriculture in the late 19th century. The price of British agricultural products was affected by the worldwide price regulation, and the price competition of foreign agricultural products made the price decline instead of rise, and the depression degree was even worse. At this point, the discussion is only about the development of the agricultural sector itself. What would it be like to put it in the context of Britain's overall national economy, including non-farm industries? Did the growth of non-farm industries and the overall national economy in the UK also have an impact on the recession? The answer is yes, and only by placing it within the overall framework of national economic development can we better understand the real causes of this agricultural crisis. As such, the decline in the comparative value of domestic agriculture was another important factor in the crisis.

In this regard, the comparative value of agriculture only refers to the value of agriculture compared with other industries in terms of the employment of labor force and the proportion of contribution to the national economy. During this period, the UK's agricultural sector's ability to absorb Labour and its contribution to the national economy has been declining. By the mid-18th century, about 60 or 70 per cent of the population was either directly or indirectly land related. But by 1856, the proportion of Labour and capital in the UK's agricultural sector in the economy as a whole had fallen to 29.6 per cent and 19.1 per cent. By 1871 it had fallen further to 15 per cent and 14 per cent, and by 1937 it had fallen to 5.3 per cent and 5.7 per cent. The period was a period of rapid social transformation in Britain, from a rural society to an urban society.

With the expansion of industrialization and urbanization, the growing of the factory, workshop, coal mines, and many other than agriculture or rural areas easier ways to generate revenue, unavoidably will induce a large number of agricultural workers pouring in urban areas or in other industries, resulting in the agricultural and rural population is shrinking. For example, in 1861, the urban population and rural population in the UK were about 12,696,520 and 7,369,704 respectively, which rose to 14,929,283 and 7,782,983 respectively in 1871. Obviously, the urban population in the UK grew faster than the rural population, and the proportion of rural population has been far exceeded.

The sharp decline in Britain's agricultural population was also an indisputable fact of the period. And this trend was even more significant during the agricultural depression in the late 19th century, which had a great impact on the business of tenancy farmers and even the development of agriculture. At the time, one person said, "the biggest threat to farmers was not foreign competition or falling agricultural prices, but the difficulty of finding enough labor to meet the needs of farming." A survey of the decline of the British agricultural population during this period showed that the number of agricultural workers in Britain was about 983,919 in 1881, which fell to 866,543 in 1891, and to 689,292 in 1901, which fell by 11,376 in 1881-1891 and 177,251 in 1891-1901, respectively. Moreover, there was a persistent upward trend in the wages of agricultural workers. The average weekly wage for farm workers increased by 11.8% between 1871 and 1881 and by 1.3% between 1881 and 1891, according to a report by Wilson Fox on the state of farm workers at the royal statistical society. In addition, the anti-resistance and political awareness of agricultural workers also increased significantly during this period. Since the 1860 s, agricultural workers have more economic freedom, and relationship with tenancy farmers began to gradually turned into a pure relationship between "money", but the outbreak of the great depression of the late 1870 s agriculture, and makes the relationship between the worse, agricultural workers against resistance increased, at the same time, the agricultural workers during the period of political consciousness is also significantly enhanced, the establishment of the agricultural workers is a proof of that. All in all, during this period of rapid decline in the number of agricultural workers, rising wages, increasing resistance and political awareness, it was difficult for tenancy farmers to obtain a suitable and sufficient labor force to meet the production needs of the farm.

It can be seen from this study that the great agricultural depression in Britain in the late 1870s was caused by various factors. In terms of obvious and immediate factors, the severe persistent drought and flood during this period was a major cause of the outbreak, which caused a sharp decline in domestic agricultural production during this period. In addition, unlike previous agricultural production declines, when prices rose correspondingly, there was also a sharp decline in British agricultural prices during the agricultural depression. It will be found that this "anomaly" was caused by the integration of the UK domestic agricultural market and the world agricultural market caused by the abolition of the British grain law and the implementation of the free trade policy in the mid-19th century. In addition, it was the British national economy overall development situation is concerned, there is a problem of agricultural comparative price fall, the factors causing the large amount of labor from agriculture or rural areas move to other non-agricultural industries and urban areas of practice, the overall condition of the agricultural workers at that time, great changes have taken place in the number of not only fell sharply, at the same time, their wages have also risen sharply, and the resistance and political awareness is also growing, as a result, to tenancy farmers farm production activities caused great difficulties, which further exacerbated the degree of agricultural depression during this period.

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