Rosmann, an Iowa farmer, is a psychologist and one of the nation’s leading farmer behavioral health experts. He often answers phone calls from those in crisis. And for 40 years, he has worked to understand why farmers take their lives at such alarming rates – currently, higher rates than any other occupation in the United States.
That industries decline in importance is simply a truth about our universe. As productivity rises we need fewer people to perform that task. Thus some of them must leave said production. We’re simply not going to get the world getting richer without this happening.
This doesn’t mean that it’s easy of course. People tend not to change their lives until forced to do so. And that forcing will indeed often enough include a great deal of economic pain.
There is no specific solution to this. There’s a general one, sure. The process of transition from one mode of life to another could be made easier. I’ve a great affinity for the Danish view of these things. Good unemployment pay, good training opportunities. Losing a job really isn’t all that much of a stress or a strain. Obviously, losing a business will still be stressful but it’s still not an economic wipe out.
The other part of the system is that after some period of time (maybe 2 years for Denmark?) support ceases to near nothing. Labour is made liquid – not perhaps le mot juste as it’s a bit close to Soylent – which is economically efficient. The Danish unions simply don’t whine and strike and obstruct about job losses as a result.
There’s thus a general solution available, a support net for those who must transition. But there isn’t a specific one for farmers nor any other particular industry or line of work. Simply because we do want sectors where productivity is rising fast to have fewer people doing the stuff, assuming that there’s a limit to the demand or the actual product itself. That’s rather what economic advance is.