Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/557

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THE SOIL AS AN ECONOMIC FACTOR.

case be largely an out-of-door life, and attractive to any one who has the least spark of the love of nature in his soul.

It would unquestionably be a most interesting and fruitful line of investigation for the sociologist to study the causes which are apparently diverting men from this most attractive field of labor. There are some popular conceptions upon this subject, we know. It is generally admitted that there is a tendency for men to congregate in the cities or the towns in preference to remaining in the country, and various reasons are assigned for it. We hear much in this connection of the gregarious instinct of man, but this is hardly a sufficient reason. For the entire trend of modern scientific agriculture is towards intensive cultivation, and the gregarious instinct should be sufficiently gratified in populations where this method prevails. On the other hand, it is sometimes held that the chances for development in a social sense are greater in other professions or occupations, such as business life, and these are having their effect upon the youth of the country. This may be true to some extent, for it is as natural for man to prefer fine clothes as it is for birds to prefer fine feathers, and the accepted garb of the farmer is certainly not as attractive to mankind at large as the everyday costume of the physician, clergyman or clerk. But that it can be as potent as it is generally believed scarcely seems probable, unless one is to accept the notion that the farming class, speaking in a broad way, is no more intelligent than the class from which the average servant girl of the city comes.

The opportunities for the development of special lines in agriculture and soil management are certainly as great and should be as attractive as in other professions. There is as great an opportunity for the development of experts in sugar-beet-raising, apple-raising, rose-raising, as for the development of specialists in eye, ear and throat treatment, corporation law or criminal procedure, mechanical engineering or electrical engineering, etc., and with this unusual knowledge and unusual ability along specialized lines will come also the unusual pecuniary emoluments that are found in other professions.

Many problems of a sociological or economic nature suggest themselves in this connection, and it is certainly not from lack of subjects or material that the literature is nearly barren. But the object of this paper is to call attention to this subject, rather than to discuss it, which must be left for abler and better fitted pens. The development of new countries, as influenced by the soils, such as in the case of the westward movement from the tide-water regions of the Atlantic slope, along the limestone belt of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio; the differences which do, and must of necessity, exist between communities practising intensive or extensive methods of cultivation; the land-rich and money-poor man,