The Exogenous Factors of Rural Reform
In this section we analyze in a deeper way the external factors that have a remarkable incidence in the equilibriums of the agricultural sector.
1. An unbalanced relationship between costs/profits in the agricultural sector due to the elevated cost of productive factors (synthetic products, fuel, machinery, etc.): agriculture is the productive activity with the highest naturality; this is to say that its productive process cannot be detached from the equilibriums of the ecosystem. Insisting on this, as unfortunately happens in western countries, through an agricultural system of an “industrial” type, has led to the indiscriminate use of productive factors that have notably decreased the thermodynamic efficiency of the rural system, with the consequent raising of production costs and the correlated diminution of earnings. The productive processes have to be renaturalized, recovering the productive characteristics inherent in ecosystems – The cost of external productive factors will cost more and more (fuel, synthetic products, etc.) while the earnings, with this model dependent on markets that are more and more global, increasingly fewer. The productive model has to therefore be a more closed system (with smaller entropy) and the use of techniques and production factors as internal as possible (a greater use of rotation, of internal biodiversity, of endogenous energies in the workplace).
2. The elevated distance for the transportation of goods (and of production factors) with an elevated incidence both on costs and on the emission of CO2 (Kyoto protocol): the Kyoto protocol has been ratified by over 160 Countries. This protocol establishes, in a very essential way, that whoever pollutes must pay. In fact, it has met with a lot of resistance and has had a lot of difficulty in its application, especially in commercial exchanges and therefore in the movement and transport of commodities. Every transported commodity corresponds to a share of CO2 emitted. Therefore it would be desirable for a tax to be paid on the distance covered per unit of CO2. This would lead to a concrete realization of zero Km for every commodity and to the realization of thermodynamic systems that are more localised (as are those with greater energetic and economic output), something modern economists do not want (or are not able) to understand. What is the energetic and economic sense (if not for large-scale distribution chains) of (to give an example) transporting identical products to regions where they are already produced?
3. Excessive susceptibility and dependence on market fluctuations: I want to remind everyone that the so-called “markets” should be “places” at the service of humanity, both for the promoters of the Offer and for the supporters of the Demand. In fact, a market without rules creates monopolies (or oligopolies) of power that determine very dangerous repercussions on microeconomic choices. Since from an energetic point of view agricultural activity has to protect the ecosystem (otherwise there will be the consequences that we have observed in the endogenous factors), the market can not interfere (as it does) on the productive choices (specializations, diminution of biodiversity, a dangerous increase of production with the loss of fertility and soil, etc.). It follows that the markets must be regulated in an ecosystemic direction, which means setting rules and not duties. A market without rules destroys productive and social structure for the benefit of big finance.
4. Negative repercussions of large-scale distribution chains on both the returns of businesses and on the presence of local sales points: microeconomics is the norm and the law of nature. It is based on the integrated cooperation of small contributions and organisms. An economy based on great structures is destined to collapse in a short time (the Dinosaurs were the first to become extinct). The indiscriminate (and not always permissible) use of Finance in this sector has created large-scale distribution chains that, by affecting the choices of the producers, have conditioned them to undertake “specialized production “. This “specialized production” (besides degrading the agricultural ecosystem) has interrupted the ability of the producer to be involved in local microeconomics. Let us make an example: it is not conceivable for a producer to sell the whole GSP of a specialized crop on the local market; he has to absolutely resort to big business and therefore to large-scale distribution. We have to understand that the small organism (producer, craftsman, sales point, etc.) is the essence of the Economy of the Universe. Not understanding this (as happens with the great liars present in the economy, in finance and in corrupt politics) is tantamount to the destruction of the social and environmental fabric (as is happening now).
5. Increase in the average age of workers: there was no need of an ISTAT survey to know that the age of operatives in this sector has increased. This phenomenon leads to a series of reflections, as negative as they are scarcely considered. The transfer of knowledge was one of the cornerstones on which agricultural activity was based. The loss of this condition (from generation to generation) interrupts a millennial agricultural culture that can never be replaced by the interests of large-scale systems (the use of pesticides, productive specializations, etc.). A State that regards policies only through financial indexes is a State guilty of genocide. A State that does not favour the presence of young people in agriculture and in crafts through a favourable taxation system and other favourable conditions is a State which is no longer sovereign.
6. Jobs in the industry are not very attractive, leading to a diminution of workers: This aspect is correlated to the previous one and cannot be “steered” by irresponsible Governments that find in the free market the solution for a more fluid economy. In reality, the contrary is true, that is, economies that are founded on certain rules are more solid. The law of supply and demand is the basis of capitalism, but the lack of rules creates imbalance between the strongest and the weakest. The law must be sustained but controlled. Believing that agricultural activity is the place where only agricultural products are supplied has a discursive effect on the market and on the distribution of the profits. The work of farmers produces goods of an alternative type that should be remunerated in a different way. Without this new concept and the revaluation of the law of supply and demand by the community, this sector cannot be attractive and, without this, the consequences will be more and more serious.
7. Excessive bureaucratic and normative pressure: nature regulates itself. Therefore, we have to redefine a business parameter and dimension that emulates nature. This conformation is possible both from a technical point of view and a scientific one. Therefore, if we individualize a business that has these characteristics it should not be subject to any bureaucratic or authoritative system. The productive cycle itself becomes a system of guarantees and safety. The agricultural entrepreneur, freed from the burden and the time consumption of bureaucracy, is pushed to enter a new productive dimension and be more attentive to production.
8. Inadequate application of sanitary and quality concepts in the rural sector: as said in the previous point – nature regulates itself. The sanitary concepts and those of suitable quality imported from the industrial system cannot be applied sic et simpliciter to businesses involving nature. These principles must be rewritten using parameters that are simple and ecosystemically logical. If the entrepreneur does not force any of the natural factors, he himself being aligned with nature, he should not be subject to any bureaucratic system that gives authorisations or controls quality.
9. Inappropriate fiscal pressure: taxation regards money due to the State under public law. The taxes due from agriculture should be revaluated according to the benefits it gives to the sovereign people. An activity that respects and protects the environment creates some public benefits and the producer of these public benefits must be compensated in some way. An agricultural producer that runs a farm under “natural” conditions must be adequately compensated and this means that the rules on how these businesses are taxed must be rewritten…
10. Difficulty in the access to Credit at favourable rates: natural yield is different from a lot of “human” production; the use of banking credit must be aligned to this concept and the only Institute that can give appropriate bank guarantees for the patrimony created and defended by agriculture is the State itself. Therefore the State, which represents the sovereignty of the rights of the whole of society, is the only Institution that lays the bases for guaranteeing access to credit, on condition that the agricultural entrepreneurs follow ecosustainable processes.
11. A distortional effect on agricultural and food production and markets because of the use of public financing: the use of finance external to agricultural systems has a notable distortional effect on a series of equilibriums. External capital alters the profitability of the natural process (which is agriculture) and this distortion has repercussions on competition, both of an ecological nature and of a social one. The only use that finance should have should be that of improving the ecosystems of the farms – this is the only finance allowed, as it brings about a natural rebalancing of processes.
12. Excessive fragmentation and business pulverization: The norms of public and private law (inheritance) must be rethought. Agricultural businesses, being the smallest cell that guarantees ecological and economic sustainability, cannot be “dismembered” by external factors. Private Law and in many aspects, Public Law, must be rewritten.
13. Soil erosion due to urbanisation: The norms and laws that have regulated the urban sector till now have almost totally neglected the territory they perturb. Only in recent years have some norms partially corrected the situation. The road is still long and the rural territory cannot be corroded anymore by irresponsible and illogical policies. Norms must be made that reward those town administrations that take back urban territory and return it to rural nature.
The reflections of this contribution are neither proposals of law nor further suggestions for bureaucratic and legislative follies. These suggestions are the basis for a new way of reasoning on the role of human work and on man’s relationship with the territory. These reflections must give rise to a new way of reasoning on the concepts of work, nature and economy.