The Food Problem. Vernon Kellogg , Alonzo E. Taylor

Walton H. Hamilton
1918 Journal of Political Economy  
JOURNAL OF POLITICAL ECONOMY profits of agriculture and commerce diverted the energies of the people from manufactures to those pursuits. After the embargo renewed impetus was given to manufacturing. But it is a mistake to treat the whole period from I790 to i8io as a unit. It is also questionable whether it was necessary to print almost one hundred pages of tables containing the results of the censuses of i8io, i840, i850, and i86o, especially as only slight reference is made to them in the
more » ... e to them in the text. The study is a careful, able, and scholarly piece of work, which supplements admirably the recent History of Manufactures by Victor S. Clark. The further work to be done in this field must now consist of more intensive studies of particular industries, of which there exist already a few excellent ones, or of particular localities and periods. It is to be hoped Professor Tryon may find opportunity to exploit this field still further. It is difficult to think of a contribution to the literature of the war which, if well done, would prove more timely and valuable than a discussion of "the food problem." We all know that food must be saved, but amid the conflicting industrial and military tendencies about us the "what," the "why," and the "how" of saving present to the layman many enigmas. Not all of us as yet realize that saving is a matter of production as well as of consumption, and that our limited agricultural resources must be used in the production of the highest food value. An adequate treatment of the whole matter in its manifold aspects, presenting in general terms a "food policy," should prove valuable to the legislator who must pass upon many questions of food control; to the administrator, who is charged alike with organizing the habits of consumers and of producers of food; to the speaker, who must preach food conservation in the land; to the consumer, whose eternal appetite is at the bottom of the problem; and to the producer, who wishes to turn his labor and the properties of his soil into staple food products with the least waste. Under present conditions a skilful presentation of so complicated a matter would call for congratulation to the authors for an invaluable service rendered the country. On the contrary an inadequate and bungling treatment merits the severest condemnation; for in the current crisis even heroic work, if ill-advised, cannot be excused under the catholic commendation of all things which are well meant.
doi:10.1086/253088 fatcat:3snpcisrnbdoxalu4xmpobmze4