University of California

Major economic forces affecting agriculture with particular reference to California


S. V. Ciriacy-Wantrup

Author Affiliations

S. V. Ciriacy-Wantrup was Professor of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural Economist in the Experiment Station and on the Giannini Foundation.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 18(1):1-76. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v18n01p001. December 1947.

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Abstract does not appear. First page follows.

1. Introduction

It is commonly emphasized that the economic position of California agriculture is subject to special factors that do not operate, or operate to a much smaller extent, in other parts of the nation. Special conditions in climate, soils, topography, economic location, and history, and, accordingly, in types of products, yields, prices, and organization, put farming in California in a class by itself if compared with that in other states. Still, for California agriculture as a whole, as well as for its individual branches, changes in economic position are influenced greatly by major economic forces affecting farmers regardless of type of product and location. This study is concerned with such forces.

In order to explain the nature and significance of major economic forces, it appears best to analyze their operation in the past. On such a basis, obviously, no hard-and-fast forecasts about the future can be made. One may attempt, however, to help the reader recognize the direction and strength of present tendencies and appraise public economic policies designed to cope with them.

For this attempt it is useful to start the analysis before the first world war. Statistical data for individual states are rather unsatisfactory in volume and reliability before 1910. On the other hand, economic tendencies visible after World War II have important characteristics in common with those that were created through World War I. Although it cannot be expected that history will repeat itself, it is highly instructive to observe how the economic forces in which we are interested have operated during and after a major war.

In the historical analysis, conditions in California agriculture will be compared, as far as available data permit, with conditions in the United States excluding California.

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Ciriacy-Wantrup S. 1947. Major economic forces affecting agriculture with particular reference to California. Hilgardia 18(1):1-76. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v18n01p001
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