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to practically every reform movement initiated. It has been applied to the farm cooperative movement in the same spirit. Many interests and individuals having no knowledge of, or means to acquaint themselves of the facts, have assumed this attitude.
The chief objection urged against socialism is that it destroys private initiative, deprives the community of competition as between individuals and industries and secures profits to be distributed for the common good of all. In other words, the incentive to achieve for self is taken away.
The farm cooperative movement incorporates nothing of this purpose. In fact, it is the exact reverse. Its central purpose is to distribute the earnings or savings it makes through more efficient and direct methods of distribution and marketing on a patronage dividend basis, which is to say that the individuals furnishing the most patronage or business to the cooperative association secure the most in earnings, profits or savings, as one cares to designate them.
It is merely a tool in the hands of the farmers and the producers to shorten the line from the farm to the consumer but, at the same time, preserve the essential features of the service now rendered by our marketing system. It seeks, as a reward for shortening these lines, a part of the savings thus effected; it contemplates no attempt prices—it is merely asking that the gap between the prices paid the producer and those paid by the consumer, be reduced.
It is hoped that this volume will bring something of the magnitude of the farm cooperative movement to the business man, the consumer and to the farmer himself. We have attempted to sketch the causes of unrest which gave birth to the movement, to give a glimpse of the magnitude of the local cooperative movement, and to outline the more recent step taken; namely, the federation movement, much of which is still in the process of formation.
There has been no partizan purpose in the writing of this book. The central purpose has been to present the facts. Any matters of belief occurring to the author have been placed in the last three chapters of the book, relating to the future of the movement. Of course, the reader is at liberty to formulate his own opinions concerning the movement, but we believe that he will be interested, at least, in these pages.
Grateful acknowledgment is made to the many authorities quoted and to the many investigators in the employ of state and nation whose tables, charts and graphs are reprinted herewith.
CHESLA C. SHERLOCK. Des Moines, Iowa.