Since the war, the purchasing power of corn has fallen 25 percent. In terms of 1913 dollars, corn now is worth only 75 percent as much as it was before the war.
A farmer who sells a load of corn today gets about as much money for it as he used to, it is true; but that money will not buy as much of other goods as it would before the war. The price of corn has gone up since the war, but the prices of other things have gone up more than the price of corn; they have gone up 25 percent more. In actual fact, corn now is worth only 75 percent as much as it was before the war. Figure 1 shows the situation in terms of 1913 dollars.
This chart shows that previous to the war the purchasing power of corn had been rising steadily for many years. The population of the United States was growing rapidly, and the livestock industry was expanding in response to the constantly growing demand for food. This in turn resulted in a continual increase in the demand for corn and other feed grains. Settlers poured into the Middlewest, but the demand for corn increased faster than the supply. The trend of corn purchasing power rose steadily from the time of the Civil War to the end of the recent World War, at the rate of about 1/2 cent per bushel per year.
Shepherd, G. S.
"The trend of corn prices,"
Bulletin: Vol. 24
, Article 1.
Available at: https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/bulletin/vol24/iss284/1