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Unformatted text preview: University of California, Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics ARE 150 Fall 2011 Philip Martin Dist 9/29/11 [email protected] Due 10/18/11 Answers to Review Questions 2 Please type or write neatly, and put your discussion section, 4-5 or 5-6, on your answers. Each answer is worth one point. 1. A. Restrictive US immigration laws had little effect on the supply of seasonal workers to CA during the 1920s. US immigration laws enacted in the 1920s aimed to “freeze” the ethnic composition of the US by imposing a quota on each Eastern Hemisphere country that reflected the number of persons from that country in the US in 1890 (later 1910). With migration from Asia largely blocked except for the Philippines (a US territory) and immigration from Europe restricted (and not the source of many seasonal farm workers in any event), California farmers turned to Mexico for workers, even though the WWI Bracero program of 1917-21 had ended. Illegal entry from Mexico was easy (there was no Border Patrol until 1923), and farmers (1) hired Mexicans who arrived and (2) recruited Filipinos for e.g. grape harvesting. Key points— restrictive US immigration laws did not apply to Mexico and Western Hemisphere, and there was no effective way to keep out illegal Mexicans; Filipinos were recruited in a US territory. B. As cars and trucks allowed farm workers to become more mobile in the 1920s, farmers formed organizations to set “standard wages” to discourage workers from migrating from farm to farm to seek “one cent more” in wages. These employer monoposonies helped to discourage worker migration and hold down labor costs as FVH agriculture expanded. Some farmers began to hire workers via FLCs who organized workers into crews and profited from the wedge or difference between what farmers paid to have work done and what was paid to workers. The use of FLCs led to labor disputes, as in the Imperial Valley in the late 1920s when workers went on strike to protest a farmer requirement that all workers must be hired via FLCs who charged workers. 2. A. During the 1930s, (1) there were numerous strikes, peaking in 1933, that required government intervention to resolve (answers can but do not have to mention that some strikes were due to government polices that raised farm prices in 1933, but many farmers did not raise wages despite higher prices), (2) the activities of communists in 1933-34 to help farm workers win wage increases led to fears that dis-satisfied farm workers could support communism, (3) public unease with the “unfairness” of federal farm policies that helped farmers while federal labor policies excluded protections for farm workers, and (4) the very visible poverty of white Midwestern farm families who lived in labor camps in California—most Okies and Arkies arrived between 1935 and 1939....
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