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Old 8th July 2019, 07:16 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
You seem to be simultaneously mythologizing rural people and castigating those reading this thread for holding a strawman's negative opinions of rural people.
I'm neither. I spent far too much of my life in rural areas to either mythologize or demonize them.

I'm saying the "Well just learn a new skill and move to the city, easy-peasy" argument falls flat. Mainly in that I'm not buying that the city's labor markets have that kind of carrying capacity, secondarily because nobody has any motivation to actually do that.
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Old 8th July 2019, 07:22 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
He example he's using is African Diamond Mines, but in his "Rules for Rulers" History C.G.P Grey lists one of the rules as "Any place where the wealth is dug out of the ground is a horrible place to live for anyone but the rulers, because a diamond mine can be run with dying slaves and still produce great wealth."

And this, I think, brings us to a large part of the divide.

Rural jobs valued hard work. Urban jobs valued high skill. And this was true even after most rural jobs starting requiring a fair degree of skill. Coal miner or farmer does not mean "dumb."

That's not an easy mentality to change.

Again pointing at the poor dumb hicks might feel good, but where does it get us?

And besides "hard work" is not a value we should just throw to the wayside casually.
Where have I done that? Most of the problems you are pointing out are broad social ones and in no way tied to rural communities. Including "saving" them by making it easier to move out and be more productive elsewhere.

Yes the american dream is dying or dead, but there is nothing uniquely rural about that. They can go to college and get loans that will prevent them from owning a house just like the non elite urban/suburban people.

But making the economy more just won't actually bring jobs to rural areas. I am honestly not sure at all that many of these areas can be economically revitalized. So to save the population in place a universal income would be a solution but that seems pretty politically impossible and raises the question of why should the existence of this community be subsidized instead of having individuals relocate.

So bringing up the death of the american dream and the end of social mobility we are seeing, while important as well are not really addressing the issue this is about.
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Old 8th July 2019, 07:26 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I'm neither. I spent far too much of my life in rural areas to either mythologize or demonize them.

I'm saying the "Well just learn a new skill and move to the city, easy-peasy" argument falls flat. Mainly in that I'm not buying that the city's labor markets have that kind of carrying capacity, secondarily because nobody has any motivation to actually do that.
And the second one is the important one, how should their reluctance to change with the evolving economy be addressed?

Social mobility of course sucks in the US everywhere, we lie to people that a college degree will be the key to a good job and when they rack up debt to get one we blame them for taking on the debt. That is true for all of the US and not something that is different between urban and rural living situations.
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Old 8th July 2019, 07:28 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by ponderingturtle View Post
And the second one is the important one, how should their reluctance to change with the evolving economy be addressed?
You started the thread asking the question so playing "Well yeah but everyone has that problem so why are they special?" card strikes me as a bit disingenuous.

You asked about rural America, not in general job and life mobility.
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Old 8th July 2019, 07:31 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I'm neither. I spent far too much of my life in rural areas to either mythologize or demonize them.

I'm saying the "Well just learn a new skill and move to the city, easy-peasy" argument falls flat. Mainly in that I'm not buying that the city's labor markets have that kind of carrying capacity.
Then I'm not sure what you suggest as an alternative ?

One suggestion is that high tech jobs could be done remotely in rural communities but the issues associated with that such as a lack of infrastructure, skills, political will and critical mass have been outlined. Of course if city job markets don't have sufficient capacity then those jobs won't be available to "export" to rural areas either.

Another suggestion is that existing rural industries could be subsidised and/or made more inefficient so as to employ people uneconomically, but it's not clear to me how deliberate inefficiency helps the wider economy.

I suppose new industries could be promoted and encouraged to establish themselves in areas that they otherwise wouldn't but again it's not clear to me the benefits of doing that vs. allowing businesses to set up where they want.
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Old 8th July 2019, 07:35 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
You started the thread asking the question so playing "Well yeah but everyone has that problem so why are they special?" card strikes me as a bit disingenuous.

You asked about rural America, not in general job and life mobility.
Yes and you only seem to focus on the general job and life mobility issues. Not how to move jobs to the people unwilling to move to the jobs, or provide some kind of subsidy for them. Fixing those issues would not seem to provide jobs in the rural communities, but make it easier to leave them. So this would fit into the the communities can't or shouldn't be saved.
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Old 8th July 2019, 07:38 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
Then I'm not sure what you suggest as an alternative ?

One suggestion is that high tech jobs could be done remotely in rural communities but the issues associated with that such as a lack of infrastructure, skills, political will and critical mass have been outlined. Of course if city job markets don't have sufficient capacity then those jobs won't be available to "export" to rural areas either.

Another suggestion is that existing rural industries could be subsidised and/or made more inefficient so as to employ people uneconomically, but it's not clear to me how deliberate inefficiency helps the wider economy.

I suppose new industries could be promoted and encouraged to establish themselves in areas that they otherwise wouldn't but again it's not clear to me the benefits of doing that vs. allowing businesses to set up where they want.
Of course setting up a business in an area where you have to convince your entire workforce to move into the region is likely to not be an easy sell. Any business wants a region that has a workforce suitably trained for them.
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Old 8th July 2019, 07:39 AM   #48
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The family farm isn't dead yet, but it's really hard to compete with big scale farming for tonnage. And he who has that gets prices. Hobby farms seem to crop up in rural areas an small sections but it isn't much of a force except maybe in the organic markets.

The prime area for work at home is in suburbia or small town where infrastructure is more stable and better online stuff like broadband are. I lived in a yuppie paradise five miles out of town growing up and power/ phone outages during storms were frequent.

If a couple buys an old farmette in Backwater, Nebraska they will be spending years remodeling or rebuilding, trying to write the book and hoping seasonal storms don't tear out the power lines again leaving him unable to work. Idyllic country life means all the things in a city a block away are still back in the city.

Then the people. You can take Bill out of the city, but you can't take the city out of Bill. He will try to transform his new place to be more similar to the old including bringing the problems along. If Bill's son liked meth in San Fran he will love the price of it in Nebraska. And he will still do the same things to get it.


My sister sold a house in what had been Mayberry like a decade earlier because an plan to pull kids out of the inner city only really brought the inner city to Mayberry. It's all bank owned rentals anymore.

Any change brings unforeseen consequences. Someone will watch thier dream die as another builds his.

I live in slowly growing urban sprawl on dirt roads and work in the small nearby city. IU get the best of both, mostly. I wish the city was a bit more stocked with chain stores, my wife wishes the ones already here would close.
Takes all kinds.

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Old 8th July 2019, 07:40 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
Then I'm not sure what you suggest as an alternative ?
I don't know if I have one, at least not one that's gonna met the odd "Oh so what's your solution?" criteria discussions have started to operate under lately.

There's discussion to be had between "All is lost nihilism" and having a complete Power Point that lays out a 20 year plan.

Broadly speaking we need to start asking some hard questions.

If we have simply reached the point where we just don't have enough jobs for everybody shuffling the parts around isn't going to help that.

Secondly don't forget the way our election system is set up. If a bunch of these rural populations start fleeing to the cities in search of jobs that's gonna consolidate even more voting and legislative power into the rural areas. You don't like Ohio deciding the election now? Wait until it's one or two counties in Iowa. And no, that's not a strawman or exaggeration. It's a real possibility.
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Old 8th July 2019, 07:41 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by ponderingturtle View Post
Yes and you only seem to focus on the general job and life mobility issues. Not how to move jobs to the people unwilling to move to the jobs, or provide some kind of subsidy for them. Fixing those issues would not seem to provide jobs in the rural communities, but make it easier to leave them. So this would fit into the the communities can't or shouldn't be saved.
Yeah because if you can't afford to move to the city telling the rural people "there's jobs in the city" is just dangling meat out of the reach of a hungry dog.
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Old 8th July 2019, 07:46 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I don't know if I have one, at least not one that's gonna met the odd "Oh so what's your solution?" criteria discussions have started to operate under lately.

There's discussion to be had between "All is lost nihilism" and having a complete Power Point that lays out a 20 year plan.

Broadly speaking we need to start asking some hard questions.

If we have simply reached the point where we just don't have enough jobs for everybody shuffling the parts around isn't going to help that.

Secondly don't forget the way our election system is set up. If a bunch of these rural populations start fleeing to the cities in search of jobs that's gonna consolidate even more voting and legislative power into the rural areas. You don't like Ohio deciding the election now? Wait until it's one or two counties in Iowa. And no, that's not a strawman or exaggeration. It's a real possibility.
Don't worry about the last bit: rural healthcare is not sustainable without some degree of government subsidy. As certain states reject government funding out of principle their rural hospitals and clinics go under. The population, which would literally rather die than accept "socialism", is doing exactly that. Eventually the surviving rural population will be naturally selected to accept economic reality.
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Old 8th July 2019, 07:46 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Yeah because if you can't afford to move to the city telling the rural people "there's jobs in the city" is just dangling meat out of the reach of a hungry dog.
So how do we make relocating more affordable? What are the barriers that are preventing them from going to the city? And this is of course an argument that we can't or shouldn't revitalize rural america.
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Old 8th July 2019, 07:50 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Don't worry about the last bit: rural healthcare is not sustainable without some degree of government subsidy. As certain states reject government funding out of principle their rural hospitals and clinics go under. The population, which would literally rather die than accept "socialism", is doing exactly that. Eventually the surviving rural population will be naturally selected to accept economic reality.
I think the highlighted changes the overall practically of that more you'd think.

People can be stubborn and will do a lot of damage to themselves to stay that way.
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Old 8th July 2019, 07:52 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I think the highlighted changes the overall practically of that more you'd think.

People can be stubborn and will do a lot of damage to themselves to stay that way.
I take the long view. Everybody dies eventually.
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Old 8th July 2019, 07:57 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I don't know if I have one, at least not one that's gonna met the odd "Oh so what's your solution?" criteria discussions have started to operate under lately.

There's discussion to be had between "All is lost nihilism" and having a complete Power Point that lays out a 20 year plan.

Broadly speaking we need to start asking some hard questions.

If we have simply reached the point where we just don't have enough jobs for everybody shuffling the parts around isn't going to help that.


Secondly don't forget the way our election system is set up. If a bunch of these rural populations start fleeing to the cities in search of jobs that's gonna consolidate even more voting and legislative power into the rural areas. You don't like Ohio deciding the election now? Wait until it's one or two counties in Iowa. And no, that's not a strawman or exaggeration. It's a real possibility.
The issue being discussed isn't that there are insufficient jobs in the economy as a whole but that there are imbalances between job supply and demand. In some places there is excess demand, in others excess supply.
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Old 8th July 2019, 08:18 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I don't know if I have one, at least not one that's gonna met the odd "Oh so what's your solution?" criteria discussions have started to operate under lately.

There's discussion to be had between "All is lost nihilism" and having a complete Power Point that lays out a 20 year plan.

Broadly speaking we need to start asking some hard questions.

If we have simply reached the point where we just don't have enough jobs for everybody shuffling the parts around isn't going to help that.

Secondly don't forget the way our election system is set up. If a bunch of these rural populations start fleeing to the cities in search of jobs that's gonna consolidate even more voting and legislative power into the rural areas. You don't like Ohio deciding the election now? Wait until it's one or two counties in Iowa. And no, that's not a strawman or exaggeration. It's a real possibility.
The majority of people in Iowa already live in urban areas....64% of them.
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Old 8th July 2019, 09:30 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
It doesn't seem to be heading that way, at least in the United States.

There are hundreds, thousands of communities which are doing rather nicely. Some are magacities, others are smaller communities built around a single tourist attraction, agricultural and/or artisanal product, and all sizes in-between.
I'm not aware of any magacities; urban areas tend to vote Democrat. Can you name one?
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Old 8th July 2019, 09:33 AM   #58
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The better public transport and roads, the larger the halo effect of cities, which in turn helps to keep communities even further away alive.

But the general trend is towards Cities, if for no other reason than that it is more ecological to have people live closer together.
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Old 8th July 2019, 10:48 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by Cabbage View Post
I'm not aware of any magacities; urban areas tend to vote Democrat. Can you name one?
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Old 8th July 2019, 10:50 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
Only you seem to be doing this.

I'm also not sure where you get the idea that urban jobs don't require hard work (unless your definition of hard work is purely physically hard work - in which case I'd argue that most rural jobs these days don't require too much hard work). It seems to play to outdated notions of "worthy" work (farming, heavy industry) and unworthy work (anything office based).
Thank you. That attitude really pisses me off. We can't make derogatory comments about all those heroic country folk, but they can attack city people with impunity. And that's just as much of the latter as there is of the former.
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Old 8th July 2019, 08:06 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by Cabbage View Post
I'm not aware of any magacities; urban areas tend to vote Democrat. Can you name one?


I believe that the only "Magacity" in the top 30 is only so-called because they break DFW (a true megacity) into two, and one section is marginally GOP. Other than that, you have to get down to #31 in top metro areas by population before you get to one that voted Trump in '16... Oklahoma City.
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Old 8th July 2019, 10:06 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by Foolmewunz View Post


I believe that the only "Magacity" in the top 30 is only so-called because they break DFW (a true megacity) into two, and one section is marginally GOP. Other than that, you have to get down to #31 in top metro areas by population before you get to one that voted Trump in '16... Oklahoma City.

Good to know. Thanks!
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Old 8th July 2019, 10:31 PM   #63
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A thing needs to be addressed. Hillary proposed a plan to provide assistance to rural communities with aims to both retrain the population where they currently reside as well as provide help in relocating those that wanted to move to cities. They resoundingly rejected this idea in favor of whatever....Trump was supposed to do.


So, basic problem, how are we going to help these rural areas if they hate the help that is needed? If they keep voting in favor of...I dunno...magic, what are we to do when rural America retains outsized political influence and can kill any practical proposals to help them?
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Old 8th July 2019, 11:20 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by Foolmewunz View Post


I believe that the only "Magacity" in the top 30 is only so-called because they break DFW (a true megacity) into two, and one section is marginally GOP. Other than that, you have to get down to #31 in top metro areas by population before you get to one that voted Trump in '16... Oklahoma City.
The Phoenix Metro area voted Trump by about 3.4 percentage points.
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Old 9th July 2019, 03:16 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by Travis View Post
A thing needs to be addressed. Hillary proposed a plan to provide assistance to rural communities with aims to both retrain the population where they currently reside as well as provide help in relocating those that wanted to move to cities. They resoundingly rejected this idea in favor of whatever....Trump was supposed to do.


So, basic problem, how are we going to help these rural areas if they hate the help that is needed? If they keep voting in favor of...I dunno...magic, what are we to do when rural America retains outsized political influence and can kill any practical proposals to help them?
It is just easier to give people someone to blame than get them to change.
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Old 9th July 2019, 04:01 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
The Phoenix Metro area voted Trump by about 3.4 percentage points.
Yeah, I missed that. So two out of the top 30. The GOP has gone positively cosmopolitan!
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Old 9th July 2019, 06:11 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by carrps View Post
Thank you. That attitude really pisses me off. We can't make derogatory comments about all those heroic country folk, but they can attack city people with impunity. And that's just as much of the latter as there is of the former.

I once read a science fiction novel by a very right-wing author. The rural farmers were universally good, decent, hard-working salt of the (not) Earth who were responsible for keeping the planet alive. All of the people in the cities were lazy, ignorant, greedy parasites living on government handouts, taking everything from the farmers.
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Old 9th July 2019, 06:24 AM   #68
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Perhaps the solution for rural America is what has happened to many down at heel parts of towns and cities, gentrification. It's already happened in parts of the country, many rural towns and villages have been taken over by hipsters, retirees, lifestyle seekers and the like.

That said, gentrification isn't guaranteed, gentrification tends to happen to areas that have something specific to offer, whether it's proximity to a source of employment, entertainment or specific resources. What works for Queens, Taos or Aspen won't work for a small unattractive town on the Oklahoma panhandle.

Gentrification can also be a double-edged sword. The new money may be a shot in the arm for the local economy, but equally, existing residents may find themselves being priced out and eventually cleansed.

The same is also true if government money is ploughed into an area. Some people will do very nicely but most people won't benefit from the inflow of money and may find themselves unable to afford local goods and services.
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Old 9th July 2019, 06:34 AM   #69
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What, exactly, besides votes does Rural America offer the rest of the country?
It is receiving far more tax money than it pays, way, way more per captia, and it requires a disproportionate amount of infrastructure spending to keep connected.
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Old 9th July 2019, 06:34 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
Perhaps the solution for rural America is what has happened to many down at heel parts of towns and cities, gentrification. It's already happened in parts of the country, many rural towns and villages have been taken over by hipsters, retirees, lifestyle seekers and the like.
Sure rural is quite diverse. My parents moved to Rural Massachusets in the Berkshires. You get a sharp divide there between local locals and the traditional boston summer homes. So you have lots of stuff to cater to those people and reasonably sized towns with in a half hours drive.

This is a different rural than you get in say Texas, North Dakota or the Upper Peninsula of michigan.

Quote:
Gentrification can also be a double-edged sword. The new money may be a shot in the arm for the local economy, but equally, existing residents may find themselves being priced out and eventually cleansed.
I will ask about that, but it does not seem to be happening as much where my parents are, as there is still lots of space for farms, sugar bushes and such. But there is a huge gap between those employed locally and those whose money comes from outside the community.

Quote:
The same is also true if government money is ploughed into an area. Some people will do very nicely but most people won't benefit from the inflow of money and may find themselves unable to afford local goods and services.
https://www.iberkshires.com/story/58...rum-Topic.html

One thing that is an issue is certainly rental housing, if you can make more money renting your space to 3 people for one month each over the season than you can to a local for 12 months a year it becomes hard for people to find places to live that are not owned. But the problems with gentrification are not as bad as more dense areas.
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Old 9th July 2019, 06:36 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
What, exactly, besides votes does Rural America offer the rest of the country?
It is receiving far more tax money than it pays, way, way more per captia, and it requires a disproportionate amount of infrastructure spending to keep connected.
Food and resources, those are not going away and are solid, but of course they require less manpower than they did a generation ago to work the same area.

They are necessary and unavoidable but those parts of them are not enough to support many of the current populations living in the locations.
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Old 9th July 2019, 06:41 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
What, exactly, besides votes does Rural America offer the rest of the country?
Crystal methamphetamine.
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Old 9th July 2019, 06:42 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Crystal methamphetamine.
Naa, all the good stuff now comes in from mexico. It is really hurting the mom and pop meth cookers.
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Old 9th July 2019, 06:48 AM   #74
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Originally Posted by ponderingturtle View Post
I will ask about that, but it does not seem to be happening as much where my parents are, as there is still lots of space for farms, sugar bushes and such. But there is a huge gap between those employed locally and those whose money comes from outside the community.
True that

Where I come from in the North of England, there are a lot of villages where many (most) houses are owned as holiday homes which are used for maybe 20-30 days a year. A drop in the number of people actually living in a village reduces the need for local jobs and as a consequence local shops, pubs and restaurants are struggling to keep afloat whilst at the same time, properties are being priced well out of most locals' budget.

I suppose I'm guilty of much the same thing myself. Don Towers was converted from a local cottage just under 20 years ago. The cottage was pretty ramshackle but was a cheap rent. It was bought and completely rebuilt by a property developer (part of one wall was retained for planning reasons, but in effect the house is a 4/5 bed new build) and priced out of the reach of all but the wealthiest locals (but well within the budget of someone selling a 2 bed flat in Bristol, 20 miles away). At least we live here full time so there is some 365 days a year benefit to the local economy.
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Old 9th July 2019, 06:57 AM   #75
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
True that

Where I come from in the North of England, there are a lot of villages where many (most) houses are owned as holiday homes which are used for maybe 20-30 days a year. A drop in the number of people actually living in a village reduces the need for local jobs and as a consequence local shops, pubs and restaurants are struggling to keep afloat whilst at the same time, properties are being priced well out of most locals' budget.

I suppose I'm guilty of much the same thing myself. Don Towers was converted from a local cottage just under 20 years ago. The cottage was pretty ramshackle but was a cheap rent. It was bought and completely rebuilt by a property developer (part of one wall was retained for planning reasons, but in effect the house is a 4/5 bed new build) and priced out of the reach of all but the wealthiest locals (but well within the budget of someone selling a 2 bed flat in Bristol, 20 miles away). At least we live here full time so there is some 365 days a year benefit to the local economy.
Yea that housing price issue is complex, it certainly helps support home value, as there are areas that you can buy a house for much much less than the cost of building one, but with inexpensive land the cost is limited by the cost of building a new property. And it does provide work for local contractors.

Though 20 miles is well in my mind as commuter distance(my commute is 45 miles) so I that kind of spilling over of people moving out a bit further to get a cheaper home is a given, and not what I would think of as applying to real rural areas, that is more suburbs and exurbs as I think of it.

Real rural is when you need a 20+ mile drive to get to the closest grocery store.

Edit to add- Having lots of summer/weekend homes is mixed for a local economy, it adds a lot to the local tax base while not putting many demands on it, so it makes it easy to have good school budgets in america for example. And they don't get to vote in local elections and such. This makes it very different here at least from the kind of gentrification you get in cities.
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Old 9th July 2019, 08:59 AM   #76
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What rural areas need are local jobs. What local jobs need is local businesses. What local businesses need is local infrastructure. What local infrastructure needs is jail time for executives at global corporations paid to build out local infrastructure who fail to do so.
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Old 9th July 2019, 09:33 AM   #77
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It's kind of an interesting question.

I'm not a free market worshipper, but this is a case where we should let the free market do most of the work. I don't think that we should do anything as a nation specifically in an attempt to revitalize rural America. If rural America isn't particularly "vital", it's because there are no jobs there, i.e. there is no way for people who live there to meaningfully contribute to the economy.

The decline of rural America has come about due to economic reasons. Once upon a time, it took an awful lot of people to grow food, so "rural" consisted of farmers, and the nearby villages that provided services to farmers. As farming became more mechanized, fewer people worked farms, but there grew up an awful lot of light manufacturing facilities. In the small town I grew up in, we had a chair factory, and a glove factory, and two printing facilities, and a small electronics assembly factory. None of them ever had 200 employees, but together they made up the support of that economy. Now, most of those jobs were taken by overseas cheap labor or by robots, so there's not much left for people who live there. There's an awful lot of welfare that goes into that community now. I don't see how those trends can be reversed, and I don't see how any government program could do it.


The only thing I think ought to be done is make sure, through subsidies if necessary, that they have modern internet and cell phone access, similar to the rural electrification program of a bygone era. I think, though, that that problem has mostly already been solved. In my home town, it just isn't a problem. Maybe in North Dakota it is, and if so, that should be fixed. Other than that, let the economic trends dictate where people live.


And letting some of those towns simply disappear and turn into wildlife habitat doesn't seem like it would be a truly awful thing.
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Old 9th July 2019, 09:43 AM   #78
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Rural America could benefit massively from a Carbon Credit system.
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Old 9th July 2019, 09:48 AM   #79
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I think there's one thing that government can, and should, do to help small town and rural America. It has to do with schools. One thing that keeps people away from the small towns is fear that the small town schools aren't very good, so that if they live in a small town, their kids won't get a good education.

The degree of the problem is greatly exaggerated. For the most part, I wouldn't trade my small town high school for the suburban school my kids went to. However, the remoteness and small class size make some courses harder to offer. Distance learning and virtual classrooms could be used to make that happen for small towns, so that if a small town only has two high school students capable of studying calculus, those two could be part of an online class, consolidated via the internet, with exams and such proctored by local teachers.

Having good education available is a huge, huge, factor in making small towns less desirable to young families.
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Old 9th July 2019, 09:53 AM   #80
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
I think there's one thing that government can, and should, do to help small town and rural America. It has to do with schools. One thing that keeps people away from the small towns is fear that the small town schools aren't very good, so that if they live in a small town, their kids won't get a good education.

The degree of the problem is greatly exaggerated. For the most part, I wouldn't trade my small town high school for the suburban school my kids went to. However, the remoteness and small class size make some courses harder to offer. Distance learning and virtual classrooms could be used to make that happen for small towns, so that if a small town only has two high school students capable of studying calculus, those two could be part of an online class, consolidated via the internet, with exams and such proctored by local teachers.

Having good education available is a huge, huge, factor in making small towns less desirable to young families.
Not permissible. Government interference in education is socialism. The Dept of Education should be abolished.

...is the response you'd get. No proposal to revitalize the rurals will be acceptable by them if it involves using the government to manage anything. See: healthcare.
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