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Economics Lessons from Agriculture

“Apply yourself both now and in the next life. Without effort, you cannot be prosperous. Though the land be good, you cannot have an abundant crop without cultivation.” Plato

Since ancient times, people have understood that wild trees and wild vines don’t produce good fruit. With pruning and cultivation though, nature is tamed and becomes productive. Nature supplies the raw materials, but human interaction shapes those raw materials into the products we need and use every day.

So what do these lessons from agriculture have to teach us about economics and the social nature of people?

The Good Society

In episode two of The Good Society, a short (and free!) film series, a peach farmer and a winemaker take us on journey through orchards and vineyards to explore the cooperative nature of work and trade. Through their stories, we learn that no person is sufficient unto himself or herself. When we work together, divide tasks by our own gifts and talents, and engage in trade, we become part of an interconnected social “network” so much larger than ourselves. This principle can be summed up as the mutual benefit of trade, one of the lessons embedded in The Good Society.

Watch The Good Society

Teaching the complexities of economics doesn’t have to be a headache. With beautiful production values and thoughtful stories, The Good Society series and its accompanying study guide present an elegant way to deeply engage students around the concepts of business, economics, entrepreneurship, and global trade.

For over 28 years, the Acton Institute has worked to connect economic freedom, free enterprise, and entrepreneurship with a vibrant Judeo-Christian moral culture. Through a wide range of research publications, visual media, and educational conferences, Acton reaches millions each year with its trademark synthesis of faith and freedom.

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