Why are we scared of farmers?
It is widely accepted that education and medicine are part of the commons. We (or our representatives) are responsible for making decisions about these institutions, as we know they exist to serve us. Teachers, doctors and nurses have expertise that most of us greatly respect, but they do not have the freedom to run their services as they wish. The rules are tight and our vigilance is keen. It is different with farmers. Maybe this is because farmers own their land. This means their rights and freedom are always part of any conversation about their land. The farmer’s personal gain is seen as central to farming itself, in a way that the doctor’s or teacher’s personal gain is not. Yes, it is good if teachers get satisfaction from their work, but this is first and foremost because it makes them better teachers. Farmers on the other hand, have a right to satisfaction because of the entitlement that comes with ownership, and we must fight to put boundaries on their activities in order to protect the land as a whole. The emphasis, therefore, is totally reversed. Yet land is an even more ancient and fundamental commons than hospitals and schools. The latter, after all, are the products of people and are secondary gifts, not the fundamental gift on which the whole system is based.
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