Rhetoric, reality and righteousness : the ideological debate between the farm organization and the grain trade, 1917-1935
Earl, Paul D.
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This is a study of competing ideologies. More precisely, it is a study which traces the course of the particular ideological debate which took place in Western Canada, ca. 1917 to 1935, between those who believed that wheat was best marketed through the Winnipeg Grain Exchange, and those who thought that this institution should be replaced by a centralized, single desk, selling system. It is, moreover, a study which has a particular focus on the moral dimension to the debate. As we shall see, the attack on the open market was motivated not only by economic considerations, but by ethical - and ultimately religious - ones as well. One cannot understand the debate, nor particularly the fervour wlth which it was pursued, without an understanding of the ethical and religious basis from which the critique of the status quo was mounted.... It is time, therefore, for a more balanced treatment. It Is time for a study of the debate of the 1920's and 30's which recognizes that the untrammelled operation of the open market created serious problems for farmers, but which does not, perforce, assume that all light, truth and purity lay on one side. It is time for a study which provides a sense of proportion about the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments raised 1n the debate, wlthout denying the moral authenticity of the open market on the one hand, or the legitimacy of the farmers' problems on the other. It is time, in short, for a study whose objective is to disentangle the rhetoric of debate from the reality of the market systems which each side sought to defend or to revile, and that is precisely what this study is intended to do....