Previously discussed the mind-boggling improvement in productivity in egg production.
I’m a city boy and don’t understand farms. However, I have one last comparison.
When my dad was a boy, his dad and mom ran a 360 acre farm with help from my dad and seven siblings along with some occasional hired hands. Adjust that count anyway you wish for the lower number of hours the kids worked and their lower productivity, but that’s still 10 people to work a 360 acre farm. (Update 5/4/19: I’m a bit fuzzy on the size of the farm. Not sure if it was 360 acres or 80.)
I have a cousin whose husband and son run a farm today. My cousin works full-time in an office so she can’t do a lot to help out with running the farm. They run 1,200 acres. Just the two of them.
How’s that for an increase in productivity from when the grandparents of my cousin and me were working the farm?
Oh. One more part of the story.
Those two guys? They each have another job. So there are two people running a 1200 acre farm in their spare time.
I don’t know how to calculate that increase in productivity. Going from 10 people full-time (except for when the kids were in school) on a 360 acre farm to two people on a 1200 acre farm in their spare time.
Took a really wild shot at guessing the improvement and have something in the range of a twenty-fold increase. Maybe thirty-fold. Twenty times more productive since the Depression. Wow.
That productivity increase is why we have seen a 5 or 10 or 15 fold increase in our standard of living in the last 100 years.
As I’ve said before, I can’t think of a better time to be alive.