why. “In fact if you diversify yournacreage and set aside maybe four acresnfor blueberries you’ll make enough onnthat four to subsidize the cow andnwheat operation that you’re runningnon the other four hundred acres thatnyou might have.” Have West Texasnfarmers with square miles of wheatnbeen going broke? “Now they arenproducing sprouts on an area about thensize of a kitchen table” — and makingnmoney.nThe old diagnosis attributed thenSouth’s economic ills to its semicolonialneconomy which produced rawnmaterials, imported finished goods, andnlost money on the exchange. HenrynGrady used to tell about a Georgianfuneral, pointing out where the casketnwas made, where the Bible was printed,nwhere the shroud was woven, andnso forth — and concluding that allnGeorgia provided was the body and thenhole in the ground. Hightower arguesnthat this is still too much the case whennit comes to foodstuffs. Forget thenSunbelt: “We have grown the rawncommodities and shipped them to Chicagonand Philadelphia and Los Angelesnwhere they chop it up, put it in anbox, freeze it, and sell it back to us at anhundred times what we sold it tonthem.”nJust so^—until recently Texas wheatnfarmers sold their wheat to mills innKansas for a nickel a pound. “In Kansasnthey were making Texas wheat intonplain old white flour in barrels andnselling it back to hotels and bakers innAmarillo for twenty-eight cents anpound.” What could be done? GetnTexans into the milling business, obviously.nNow the first flour milled in thenpanhandle in a generation is producednin Dawn, Texas — “300,000 poundsnof flour a day. That’ll make a prettyngood biscuit.”nJust a drop in the bucket, you say?n”We’re not talking about a science fairnproject; this is a real enterprise that willnput $10 million a year into Dawn andnin its first year of operation will createnfourteen jobs right there. Now thatndoesn’t solve Texas’ unemploymentnproblem but it takes care of it in Dawnnpretty well.” You say this is an oldfashioned,nBand-Aid approach to economicndistress? Well, what’s wrongnwith that? “Instead of worrying aboutnthe global situation, let’s worry aboutnwhere our people live. A little bit herenand a littie bit there will add up.”nConsider the crawfish industry. GulfnCoast rice farmers have begun to raisenthose little suckers because “all you donis put a little bad hay out there in thatnrice paddy and throw some crawfish innand come back later with some nets.”nThey sell them to Louisiana packingnplants at 75 cents a pound. Good deal,nright? But wait a minute: the packingnplants have been selling deheaded,ndeveined frozen crawfish to Houstonnrestaurants at $7.50 a pound, wholesale.nHere’s Hightower: “Now maybenwe’re not too bright in Texas, but wencan dehead crawfish. We’re about to benin the crawfish processing business innPort Arthur.”nThe man says so many good things.nFor instance: “You aren’t putting peoplenin business to fail. You have to worknon the market development so whatnthey produce actually has a market,npreferably one that is already establishednand signed for before you build anprocessing facility.”nHe sums up his basic strategy: “Ifnyou have lemons, make lemonade.”nAnd he waxes evangelical about extendingnthis principle beyond agriculture.n”We can have a decentralizedneconomy that’s environmentallynsound, that generates wealth at a localnlevel, that has not only jobs but goodpayingnjobs that are upwardly mobile,nthat allows a local, diversified, abundantnmanagement opportunity for littlenpeople to be involved. It doesn’t havento be owned by some conglomerate.nWe can do this ourselves and ournpeople can be the managers and thenowners.”nYou don’t have to be a left-winger tonlike the sound of that. In fact, manynleft-wingers wouldn’t. This messagenplainly isn’t for doctrinaire socialists, ornfor the cryptosocialists who wantnWashington to rare back and impose annational industrial policy. But it soundsngood to me. I can’t say whethernHightower’s program makes economicnsense or not, but these are themes thatncan get people excited, and they appealnto wholesome impulses, native andnfine. I’m not floating a Hightower-for-nPresident trial balloon — Texas Commissionernof Agriculture sounds justnabout right—but I’m glad he’s talking.nIf you’re suspicious (and you probablynshould be), you might note thatnHightower isn’t entirely clear about thenrole of government in all this. He saysnonly that the state should be a “catalyst,”none that “work[s] with local folksnto create a pool of capital so they haventhe financing to do what they arenwanting to do in an enterprise thatnmakes economic sense.”nNow, if that means subsidizing marginalnenterprises with governmentngrants or below-market loans, to hellnwith it. We’ve already got an examplenof how that works, in the Farmers’nHome Administration. But if it meansnworking with entrepreneurs to developnbusiness plans, helping them throughnbureaucratic red tape, and puttingnthem in touch with hardheaded andnbeady-eyed investors — well, then itnseems to me that only rigorous libertariansnor Wall Street lackeys could object.n”Wall Street lackeys.” Read enoughnof this stuff and you start talking thatnway, too. But, of course, so did thenauthors of I’ll Take My Stand.nJohn Shelton Reed writes from ChapelnHill, North Carolina, and describesnhis views as crypto-semi-neo-Agrarian.nLetter From thenHeartlandnby Jane GreernBroncos 2, NOW 0nnnIt was hard times down at the Bismarcknchapter of the National Organizationnfor Women. The girls were tired ofnplaying “Old Maid” and “Hangman”nall day, and to some of them even thenprospect of a date with a fascist warmongernexecutive was beginning to lookngood. Something had to be done, andnfast.nSo the chapter leaders were gratefulnto learn that Jim Gatlin of Morrison,nColorado, had placed an ad in a Denvernnewspaper offering to trade his wife,nSharon, for a Super Bowl ticket. (ThenLord, She will provide.)n”Bounder! Cad! Nazi!” they mustnhave murmured happily among themselvesnwhen that familiar, gratifying littlentingle told them they had fallen intonMeaningful Work. “A wife is not anpersonal possession. A wife is a womannwho is unlucky enough to be married,nyou imperialist swine,” they must havenAUGUST 1988 / 47n