Denmark's Example

July 4, 1986

Report Outline
Intangibles and Economics
Smallness and Creativity
The Inclusive Society

Intangibles and Economics

Like a two-man team in a tug of war with nature, the farmer and his friend strained at ropes knotted around the hooves of a calf reluctant to enter the world. The world into which it was being dragged from its mother's womb was not the same as the world in which farmers since the beginning of farming have been midwives to domestic animals. The dairy cattle in Sven age Nielsen's barn could not eat the green grass growing outdoors because an accident at a nuclear reactor 1,000 miles away had sprayed into the atmosphere radioactive particles that had come to earth in Denmark's fields.

Thus modern technology in a distant superpower shaped the daily life of a family farmer in a small nation. The meltdown at the Soviet nuclear reactor at Chernobyl in late April was not the only alien determinant of Sven Aage's farm routines. He had abandoned dairy farming for five years in response to the agricultural support policies of the 12-nation European Economic Community, which also set a quota for the amount of milk his new herd could produce.

The EEC and the Soviet Union each have populations more than 50 times Denmark's 5.1 million, and yet Sven Aage enjoys in his small nation forms of power that might be the envy of citizens in larger societies. The Danish family farmer is protected from takeover by either large agribusinesses or absentee owners because Danish law restricts ownership to resident, working farmers.

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