Some aspects of the relationship between agriculture and the national economy : with special reference to labour
The interdependence of industry and agriculture in a modern economy is everywhere freely acknowledged, but New Zealand probably provides one of the most dramatic illustrations of the complementary nature of this relationship. In addition to the dependence of agriculture on manufacturing which is normal in advanced countries, many of New Zealand’s manufacturing industries are indirectly dependent on agriculture for their raw materials. Most raw materials have to be imported, and as agricultural products make up ninety per cent of the goods exported in exchange, a high level of agricultural production is essential if manufacturing output is to be maintained or increased. In view of this, a study of some aspects of the relationship between agriculture and industry in New Zealand is likely to prove of the greatest interest. It is intended in this present study to examine particularly those aspects concerned with labour enquiring into the size of the agricultural labour force in relation to the total labour force, and examining the relative incomes of agricultural and non-agricultural sections of the community. The work of Fisher, Clark, Ojala and others has shown that in those countries now considered economically advanced economic progress has been associated with a relative decline in the proportion of the labour force employed in agriculture, and a relative decline also in the importance of agriculture in the economy, measured in terms of the proportion of national income produced by agriculture. This work, and the discussion which arose from it, will be studied in a review of the literature in Chapter. I, while a quantitative study of New Zealand population and labour statistics will be carried out in Chapter III. The income generated by New Zealand agriculture will be compared with the national income in Chapter IV, in an attempt to discover whether economic progress in New Zealand has been associated with any change in the relative contribution of agriculture to the community’s total economic welfare. It has been shown by Bellerby and his co-workers that agricultural incomes have, in most of the countries studied, shown a long term tendency to be at a level far below non-agricultural incomes, although New Zealand is mentioned as an exception in the respect. This work will be considered in the review of literature, and in Chapter V the New Zealand data in this field will be examined. In Chapter VI an attempt will be made to draw the data together to see how the New Zealand results compare with those obtained by Clark, Bellerby and the others, and how they fit in with the general conclusions reached by these workers. Some suggestions for further work in this field in New Zealand will also be offered.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordsagricultural sector; national economy; labour distribution; economic welfare; relative incomes; agricultural labour; agriculture's contribution; agricultural industry; economic aspects
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