Rebuttal of the Populist complaints
J. Laurence Laughlin, "Causes of Agricultural
Unrest," Atlantic Monthly
Of course, the farmer who has overtraded, or expanded his operation beyond his means, in a time of commercial depression is affected just as anyone else is in like conditions.
The simple fact that we produce more wheat than we consume, and that, consequently, the price of the whole crop is determined, not by the markets within this country, but by the world-markets, is sufficient to put wheat, as regards its price, in a different class from those articles whose markets are local. . . . And it need not be said that many wheat-growing farmers make little or no allowance for events beyond their limited range of local information. . . .
The sudden enlargement of the supply without any corresponding increase of demand produced that alarming fall in the price of wheat which has been made the farmer's excuse for thinking that silver is the magic panacea for all his ills. . . .
Feeling the coils of some mysterious power about them, the farmers, in all honesty, have attributed their misfortunes to the "constriction" in prices, caused, as they think, not by an increased production of wheat throughout the world, but by the "scarcity of gold!"