Monthly Archives: March 2014

No country for farm men- US-Mex farmer shrinkage


There is an Aztec saying among the women.

Here, in this world, we travel by a very narrow, steep, and dangerous road, which is as a lofty mountain ridge, on whose top passes a narrow path; on either side is a great gulf without bottom, and, if you deviate from the path, you will fall into it.”

–Americas/ Genesis– ¬†A long time ago, many native Americans¬†opted for a sedentary, agricultural lifestyle.¬† Complex civilizations soon followed. Too many to list here, as a matter of fact. The greatest and most fearsome ones being the Aztecs, Mayans and Incans–all of whom consolidated and centralized¬†their power from weaker, but not necessarily smaller, groups.

There was a catalyst for all this.

A crop endemic to a valley south of Mexico City. It would quickly gain widespread worship and adoration, quickly becoming assimilated into whichever culture it was grown in. The most produced food in the world, surpassing both rice and wheat.


Its existence is a godsend. With it, great cities could not just sustain themselves, but flourish and prosper. Still, ancient agriculture was a difficult process, requiring a great share of workers to tend the land.

Let’s skip to today, after most of these peoples were either eliminated, assimilated, or subjugated into the modern age.

Today, 0.7 percent (CIA Fact book) of the US labor force is involved in agriculture. Compared to around 65% (World Bank) for Africa  and 13% (CIA world fact book) for Mexico. Granted, our sheer number has also massively increased. The widespread use of monoculture (see agriculture), has caused a greater presence of urbanization.

Mexico, land of the sombrero and tequila, has a long history of exporting its rural agricultural laborers (nowadays coming from the impoverished south) for low-wage jobs to the United States. But even as Mexico exports, it continually imports Guatemalan seasonal laborers to work their farms.

However, even these workers are becoming something of a minority. Although the workforce employed in agriculture in Mexico and Central America is high relative to the United States, it’s¬†falling¬†like a waterfall. Why? Monoculture (see agriculture) has considerably maximized crop output, essentially shrugging off any huge demand of day laborers.

Yet¬†as young people in these countries obtain high levels of education, they increasingly seek employment opportunities beyond domestic agricultural work, migrating away from rural areas, and leaving farm jobs for employment in the service sector. Mexico and its middle class¬†is shifting gears, coming to resemble its northern workforce. And considering the predicted economic rise of Mexico in the coming years, this won’t likely change for a while.

Mexico recently usurped the United States to become the most obese nation in the world.


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