Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 63.djvu/262

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is illustrated by the fact that the aims, purposes, labors and discussions of the great farmers' organizations like the Grange are social in character, having to do with questions that are political, economic, sociological.

When, however, we turn to those public educational agencies that are intended to assist in the solution of the farm problem, we discover that they are giving slight attention to the social side of the question. An examination of the catalogues of the agricultural colleges, whether separate institutions or colleges of state universities, reveals the fact that, beyond elementary work in economics, in civics, and occasionally in sociology, little opportunity is given students to study the farm question from its social standpoint. With a few exceptions, these institutions offer no courses whatever in rural social problems, and even in these exceptional cases the work offered is hardly commensurate with the importance of the subject. Nearly all our other colleges and universities are subject to the same comment. The average student of problems in economics and sociology and education gains no conception whatever of the importance and character of the rural phases of our industrial and social life.

It may be urged in explanation of this state of affairs that the liberal study of the social sciences, and especially any large attention to the practical problems of economics and sociology, in our colleges and universities is a comparatively recent thing. This is true and is a good excuse. But it does not offer a reason why the social phases of agriculture should be longer neglected. The purpose of this article is less to criticize than to describe a situation and to urge the timeliness of the large development, in the near future, of rural social science.

At the outset the queries may arise. What is meant by rural social science? And, What is there to be investigated and taught under such a head? The answer to the first query has already been intimated. Rural social science is the application of the principles of the social sciences, especially of economics and sociology, to the problems that confront the American farmer. The reply to the second query is not designed as an outline of all the courses that may be offered, but merely as a concrete illustration of work that could be followed by investigators and teachers, and by them indefinitely expanded.

Taking first those subjects that have an economic bearing, we may suggest agricultural geography: the relation of soil and climate to agriculture, agricultural resources, the natural and actual distribution of crop-growing, relation of science to agriculture, etc.—The farmer's market: including, besides a general discussion of the subject, a consideration of the special features of the local market, the domestic market and the foreign market. Also, a brief discussion of special influences affecting the farmer's market, such as the tariff, export duties, bounties, dealings in 'futures,' crises, the development of manu-