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Respectable LivesSocial Standing in Rural New Zealand$
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Elvin Hatch

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780520074729

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520074729.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

The Criterion of Wealth Among Farmers

The Criterion of Wealth Among Farmers

(p.91) Chapter Five The Criterion of Wealth Among Farmers
Respectable Lives

Elvin Hatch

University of California Press

This chapter addresses how local farm families judge who is wealthier than whom. The beginning phase of the farm's developmental cycle is marked by constant struggle to meet the mortgage payment, and this has a significant effect on a young family's lives. The income tax system effectively reduces the range of differences in spendable income among community members. In South Downs, the landholder's wealth is not assessed in terms of the size of the farm or the number of sheep it carries. The farmers in South Downs assume that the hierarchy of wealth in the district is natural, in that it reflects certain objective economic constraints or factors that they all face. The spirit of capitalism more accurately describes the California case than that of South Downs. The analysis of this chapter reveals an important principle, that is, the naturalization of the criterion of wealth in local thought.

Keywords:   farm families, wealth, developmental cycle, income tax, South Downs, capitalism, California, naturalization

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