Technology in Agriculture, and its Application to The Grapes of Wrath
Although technology has become a standard in today's society, it was a major cause of the Great Depression. Before the advent of the tractor, may people made their living as farmers. As seen in The Grapes of Wrath, many of these people lost their occupations and their farms due to industrialization of farming. A tractor did the work of fifteen farming families, so more and more families were put out of business by the owners of these tractors.
John Steinbeck lived with migrant workers such as the Joad family before he wrote The Grapes of Wrath. His fictionalization of a family forced out of the dust bowl accurately shows the effects of technology on the farming family. They were forced out of their home to make way for a large company, as was everyone else in the area. They got word of work in California, so they packed up the family into a big truck and headed West. Most of the work was already taken, and the demand for jobs was so high that it drove the wage down. The Joads had to keep moving.
"Big business" has always been the downfall of the family business. In the 1930s, the tractor allowed smaller groups to produce greater amounts of product, and this overproduction led to price fluctuation over that period. In the case of wheat, the size of bushels shrank and the price of a bushel grew. The smaller producers who could not affort to industrialize had to cope with these lower prices, which drove them out of business. The same principle is in effect in present time; it's almost akin to survival of the fittest. The ones who can adapt to the changing times will survive.
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