Segment 8 suggests American farms are "the breadbasket of the world." Are they as productive as
they might be; and why, or why not?
There's no point in trying to gild the lily. No other country can do better!
Not at all. For generations, at least since huge tracts of land were reclaimed from the wilderness by owner-farmers, the motivation has been right, which is why they are so very productive. But today and for many years, farmers have been paid not to produce certain foodstuffs (see the marvellous satire published by rense.com) and given guaranteed prices for others. This is a far cry from free, risk-taking enterprise.
They are not. The 20th Century saw two disturbing trends: increasing manipulation by the Federal Government, and consolidation of family farms
into huge corporate units. Efficiencies of scale may have been produced by the latter, but
individual motivation is weaker.