Saturday, October 27, 2012

"Henry and the Great Society'

I recently read "Henry and the Great Society" finally. Shame on me for not reading this sooner. It is the pacifist, agrarian version of "Fight Club" (the book, not the movie).

Here is a PDF copy that I found on the web (it is a religious site, but the story is not. Of course, it was written as a propaganda piece by someone.... if you can call truth and accuracy "propaganda") I have the book itself, and it is worth the investment to have this in hard copy.

I can't encourage you enough to take the time t0 read the first 86 pages of this book - the Story of Henry - the exhortations after page 86 may or may not be your cup of tea. The writing is not particularly clever, as the story is written to make a point to even the simplest of literary minds, and yet I cannot recommend it highly enough. Easily one of the most important books I have ever read.


DaShui said...

Oddly, another ex wallstreeter has thevsame idea today:

tweell said...

Sorry, but no sale here. That rendition of the Golden Age of small farming America is missing the downside (which it claims never happened, at least to Henry). For a more balanced look, I'd recommend "The First Four Years" by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

It wasn't the Agrarian pitch that I found appealing - it was the numbers. The way that each step in brings you closer to slavery and ruin.

The book is the early rendition of Fight Club and likely among J.H. Kuntsler's more important influences.

I loved it.

tweell said...

Ok, but that is equally contrived. Let's say that Henry managed to resist the siren call of progress, and (even harder) kept his family as well. The large corporate farms still outproduce Henry, dropping the price of food. Henry can feed his family on what he grows, but is dependent on the outside for kerosene, clothes, etc., and his income steadily shrinks. Taxes climb, and poor Henry loses his land to FDR.

Henry is doomed, no matter which way he goes.

The Amish must have figured this out and so went with smaller farms for subsistence only, while putting their excess labor into such things as furniture and luxury foods.

The only way out I see for Henry is to embrace technology and specialize in something that can be done in that space. My grandfather took his 'extra' farm acreage and went into flower production, selling bulbs and cut flowers to nurseries and florists.

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