I got 5 months of free online Python classes from the local government. This was part of some larger state plan to 'revitalize' us as a 'web 2.0' something or other for the 'silicon valley' of the midwest. The whole thing read like snake oil but I learned some pretty good skills in python and a lot more about Linux than I knew before.
Our state has these lofty goals but couldnt attract more than a mega-truck-stop diner in the past 8 years. The reason for this is that unless you have a winning complexion (are white and male) you arent going to have a lot of fun here.
Want birth control? well thats a 2 week waiting period and a mandatory consultation. Did you run out? well you have to renew that script every month. Want it covered by your insurance? tough, legally, our state outlawed that. Need an abortion? book a flight, we require a trans-vaginal ultrasound and a waiting period.
Are you LGBTQ? enjoy our bathroom law. adoption providers can also legally discriminate against you for even asking to adopt. theres also no protections in the workplace, so enjoy being fired for "gay."
Are you a blue-collar minority? Unless you know exactly when and where to go to get a license, then voting is practically impossible. our bowling alleys and food courts/theaters also enforce a dress code thats loosely translated to "no blacks."
However, I do wonder if we are over-conflating "rural" with "conservative." Certainly, they are correlated, but I can imagine it's a lot different to live a rural life in California versus Mississippi.
1. Rural California has way fewer black people.
2. Rural California is more geographically wealth-segregated. (The probability that a larger acreage and higher-owner-income rural property is adjacent to trailers is greater in Mississippi than California.)
In rural Mississippi people pretend their black neighbors don't exist unless they need "help." In rural California people just don't have black neighbors.
In general rural California is probably much more like Mississippi than you'd think.
But it has a large Latino population in an equivalent economic position.
Yeah, sure, your neighbors might be hostile to you, but having the state government behind your back helps immensely.
There's something different about it when it's government sanctioned.
The people who are pushing silicon valley just want the money. They dont understand that its more than money and training.
It never happens.
Nope. Not Ever.
This literally took me less than two minutes to find. I'd imagine longer than it took to intentionally bury one's head in the sand.
At any rate, no, there is not some systemic bias against any class of people in our medical system. ERs take care of anyone, medical insurance or not. Our medical professionals are highly trained, EMTs, paramedics, firefighters, nurses and doctors are by and large good at what they do. The existence of exceptions does not discount the rule.
yes, cishet people experience medical malpractice as well. but individual bad experiences is not the same as systemic discrimination. systematic discrimination against queer and intersex people goes on every day in our medical system, as much as people like to pretend it doesn't.
So, yeah, I used to live there and I'll never go back, let alone attract anyone who tans a little too well.
I lived in that state for 35 years. You’ll be hard-pressed to convince me that Elwood (as one example) welcomes their new dark-skinned neighbors (should they dare move there) with open arms in less than a generation since I last did business there. Which is one of many reasons I have no desire to bring my high-tech skills back home.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing
This propensity to acquiesce is considered radical by conservative communities, who view themselves as being principled.
Birth control? An annual (3 years in Washington) cancer screening and check up for your birth control prescription. Possibly covered by insurance but not REQUIRED. Which is different from OUTLAWED. Not that it matters, my wife's birth control costs $85 every three months and we can pay for it with our HSA. That's hardly emptying anyone's bank account especially when you compare it to the ACA which requires every citizen spend >$100/mo on insurance that does mostly nothing!
Bathroom laws? Oh yeah? Which one! There are none currently in existence. There were certainly more than a few that were considered but only one passed and it was repealed!
LGBTQ restrictions on adoption? Adoption by same-sex couples is legal in all 50 states!
LGBTQ workplace protections? There are certainly protections at the federal level. But yes, you're right. Places like North Carolina do not have any laws on the books which expressly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. But ask yourself, what is the practical effect on LGBTQ people? I would argue there is no effect. You might as well be in California. I have worked at many companies with many LGBTQ people and all of them were safer in their employment than I was! No company wants the backlash that comes from being perceived as anti-LGBTQ. Society has adequately regulated the protection of LGBTQ people where governments have not.
As for the apparent racism of rural areas. Having grown up with a great many black friends I've:
* Never met a black person who could not get a driver's license.
* Never been exposed to a dress code that prohibited black people.
Look I have my own gripes about rural living (the South specifically). But I won't lie or live in some bizarre universe where the South is hell on earth.
There's a coalition in my state that believes all life is sacred and abortion should be illegal even in cases of incest and rape. God's will and so forth...
We can limit the amount of abortion that occurs, without banning abortion (sex education, birth control, health insurance, family planning, adoption center funding, etc).
And we can limit the negative impacts of gun ownership on society, without gun bans (NICB, mental health funding, red flag laws, standardized licensing, increased funding for already existing laws, significantly increased police accountability, etc) .
But no one wants to talk about these things. Instead, we keep talking about them as wedge issues. Ban Abortion / Abortion is a right. Ban X,Y,Z Guns / Gun Ownership is a right.
If you want a jolly good time, find someone who is adamant on one of those issues, have them give an explanation for a while, then see how far you can get in the other issue before they realize they're using all the same arguments but from the opposite viewpoint.
The idea that the US left does not even want to talk about sex Ed, birth control, health insurance...mental health funding, funding research on the effects of guns, licensing, etc... is so out of whack from reality.
You are basically taking what every one on the US left (almost no one in any sort of governmental power on the US left has proposed a gun ban) is pushing for and complaining that no one wants to talk about it.
It’s remarkable how entrenched the idea that the only problem is that both sides are equally wrong is in the US.
almost no one in any sort of governmental power on the US left has proposed a gun ban
By only asking minorities to prove they are carrying ID. "The law" is what gets enforced, not what it says on the books.
Edit to add: as people are getting all up in arms about rural areas, they should recall that this tactic was broadly applied by the New York City police department too.
>Edit to add: as people are getting all up in arms about rural areas, they should recall that this tactic was broadly applied by the New York City police department too.
"Organized Democracy" by Melanin 9: `youtube-dl -f mp4 'QPls-Gi_4Ig'` speaks to this very much.
> Are you a blue-collar minority? Unless you know exactly when and where to go to get a license, then voting is practically impossible.
How else can you interpret this? Blue-collar minorities are less capable of knowing where/when to get a license than blue-collar whites? Or perhaps the "minority" bit is a red-herring altogether and the salient criterion is "blue-collar"?
For instance, the lack of a street address in North Dakota pretty much only effects those living on an Indian reservation
Say you need a state issue I’d, but then limit access to those ids in specific areas, as Alabama did in 2015.
In Texas, researchers ran an an analysis of where these laws have the most impact and found that the largest contributing factor to predicting disenfranchisement was race.
But your comment wasn't suggesting this. You were suggesting that the law was explicitly discriminatory to require minorities alone to need ID and whites could vote without ID.
"The map above shows how metros across the U.S. score on the Tolerance Index, as updated for The Rise of the Creative Class, Revisited. The chart below shows the top 20 metros. Developed by my Martin Prosperity Institute colleague Kevin Stolarick, it ranks U.S. metros according to three key variables—the share of immigrants or foreign-born residents, the Gay Index (the concentration of gays and lesbians), and the Integration Index, which tracks the level of segregation between ethnic and racial groups."
I am not advocating it in this case, but ultimately you can only have so divergent ideas about life and rights before it comes down to who has the biggest (or the most) effective guns.
The basic reasoning of the article:
...the high-tech industries powering the economy today don’t have much need for the cheap labor that rural communities contributed to America’s industrial past. They mostly need highly educated workers. They find those most easily in big cities, not in small towns.
In a report published in November, Mark Muro, William Galston and Clara Hendrickson of the Brookings Institution laid out a portfolio of ideas to rescue the substantial swathe of the country that they identify as “left behind.” They identify critical shortages bedeviling declining communities: workers with digital skills, broadband connections, capital. And they have plans to address them: I.T. training and education initiatives, regulatory changes to boost lending to small businesses, incentives to invest in broadband.
...the authors concede that they may not be up to the task. “I don’t know if these ideas are going to work,” Mr. Galston acknowledged when I pressed him on the issue. “But it is worth making the effort.”
The article is essentially laying out the idea of encouraging the tech sector to develop in rural communities and says it might work, but notes that even proponents aren't certain. The pressure of agglomeration is high in the tech industry, and that concentrates jobs in big cities.
If there was a serious offer from some company where for the same amount of rent in SF, I could have a mortgage on literal acres of land, thats attractive.
Less attractive is the crumbling infrastructure, opioid wildfires, actual wildfires, and aggressively conservative culture.
Gotta try something though, right?
I remember when one of the consequences of Alabama's 2011 immigration laws was them ticketing or arresting two automobile executives. (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/dec/02/alabama-car-bo...) I thought at the time that was a (sarcasm) great promotion to international corporations of the benefits of putting an office in Alabama.
As an atheist I certainly wouldn't move into any very religious area, which unfortunately is a fair bit of rural places. (For examples why, see: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/05/24/atheists-in-the-bib...)
Poland was the great innovator of Western science when Kopernicus looked at the stars, but Poland was remarkably tolerant at that time. Have you read "Poland Was Shockingly Liberal During The 1400s"?
They said they want diversity for their children. That has nothing to do with how your environment impacted you. People are allowed to have preferences so long as in the process of acting on them, they don't trample on others' rights.
There isn't an objective reality. Depending on what you personally value, diversity could be a cost, benefit, or neutral for your children. You may not even know the results until much later, and even then it will be hard to discern the causal factors, though you may try to posit them.
It could also just come down to "I like living in a diverse environment because it's more interesting for me, and I'm only going to live once".
An objective reality with child-rearing? Apart from obvious things like not ignoring or abusing a child, there isn't one in my experience, but as they say ... whatever works for you.
> the policies/circumstances, such as being raised in a diverse environment, being allowed to watch TV, studying a lot, always wearing black socks etc. will or will not have impact (positive or negative) on those goals.
At best, perhaps raising kids in diverse environments allows them to be resilient in diverse environments as adults. At worst, it could cause them to harbor resentments against others nearby who are different than them.
You can find kind, responsible, emotionally stable adults who were raised in both diverse and non-diverse environments. And you can find the opposite in both types of environments.
What’s the nuanced case for why Americans shouldn’t care that much about “diversity”?
I think any kind of tribalism-oriented bias or skepticism about “the other” is probably something we’re all oriented towards from an evolutionary standpoint. And so getting over that takes “brainwashing”, just like many, many other positive things in society. The concept of equal rights didn’t fall from the sky: we invented it because we thought it’d work better for everyone in the long run. And we have to constantly be reinforcing it or it falls apart.
Regarding the brainwashing - wouldn’t it be enough to explain to children that racism is just an unscientific, morally abhorrent belief? Why is there a need to push the idea that diversity is beneficial? It’s an unjustified belief which leads to comical conclusions, ex. that a two-person team, consisting of a black and a white mathematician! will be better than a team of two black or two white mathematicians.
It feels to me that whoever pushed this agenda went too far.
People can feel the weakness in the “diversity is obviously good” claim, which makes them suspicious and sceptical of the whole idea.
I’m skeptical of your assessment that Polish people just aren’t racist at all, and I disagree with your splitting hairs between racism and xenophobia.
But beyond that, I’m baffled as to how you don’t see that in a discussion of the benefits of living in a diverse culture, xenophobia based on ethnicity being linked to a religion and then unfairly conflated with terrorism to justify mistreatment is the exact kind of problem I’m concerned with.
Diversity doesn’t just mean racial diversity, though it appears that Polish people aren’t as comfortable with that either as you’d like to believe.
wouldn’t it be enough to explain to children that racism is just an unscientific, morally abhorrent belief
If history is any guide, no.
Your example about the mathematicians makes me wonder if we’re even talking about the same thing. I don’t want my daughter seeing women mathematicians because I want her to believe their presence will make any team that they’re a part of better (even if true). I want her to see women who are mathematicians so she internalizes the idea that it’s a viable option. The “just tell her it is, even if the world around her tells her the opposite every day” is a recipe for failure. I want her to see it.
The US is not mono-racial by any measure, and has a long and troubled history with race relations.
So even taking the questionable argument that Poland isn't "very racist" at face value, it's wouldn't be applicable to the US anyway.
How do you know if you are successfully doing that, if they (or you) never encounter someone of another race?
Well it certainly has impacted some Poles, considering they can't help but chant 'monkey' when they see a black person
But all of this exists outside of rural areas, and in fact in many areas close to metro hubs. Just because you're in a more urban environment does not guarantee you to have this utopian neighborhood.
You pay a lot for that cheap house in the end.
Within a half mile of where I work, I know of more than 30 companies that I can easily hop to. Within a half mile of the CTA train system, there's more than 100 companies that I can hop to. If I extend my search into the nearby suburbs which are well served by Metra, we're now talking about 200-300 companies. Sure, most are small, but a significant number of them aren't.
I live in a city because I like living in a city, and then secondarily also because there's good jobs here.
That said, I don't really disagree with your basic point. To see plays, orchestra, etc. you need to be at least within an hour or so of either a city or a university town.
And they don't head to Chicago either.
Rural colleges (even good ones) that are too far away from a city or a metropolitan area rarely have strong diversified economies because talent just doesn't want to live there. If they did, these places wouldn't remain small.
Ann Arbor does reasonably well, but it is close to Detroit (which despite most people's mental images of blight, has a very large suburban population that isn't too different from that of other cities in America). Pittsburgh does reasonably well because it is itself a city.
Off the top of my head I can think of many small college towns with good tech programs that have not managed to develop a strong diversified/tech economy:
* Ithaca, NY
* Providence, RI
* West Lafayette, IN
* Charlottesville, VA
Madison WI does ok for some reason (it's a really idyllic place to live as a student), but even then outside of Epic and a few large employers, it's not really a talent magnet.
Historically, the very concept of a university in medieval times arose due to urbanization. Outside of a few exceptions like Oxford/Cambridge, situating universities in rural settings is actually not the default idea. Thomas Jefferson famously despised city life and placed UVa in rural Charlottesville, and other colleges in America followed suit. But most European universities are usually located in cities or towns, and instead of sprawling bucolic campuses, they are spread out all over a city.
> The pressure of agglomeration is high in the tech industry
Which is for nothing. Old school business ideas and stubbornness is the only reason this is true. Keep your gaudy glass building in the hot new section of downtown if you wish, but let your workers choose where they live and work from.
On top of that, it's much easier to attract top talent from other countries to cities with at least workable mass transit systems.
In moving to Chicago from a large town, my quality of life easily doubled overnight. Grocery shopping is now only an extra 3 minutes out of my way on the way home from the train station instead of an extra 25 minutes out of my way. I don't need to maintain two cars for my wife and I because honestly, we barely drive because there is no need. I'm starting to consider just getting rid of my car entirely. If I want to go and see Broadway plays, I no longer have to travel over an hour by car, hunt for parking, and then walk 5-10 more minutes. If I want to eat out, there's over 100 restaurants just in my ward.
It's just a better life overall.
(Subsequently, if their life continues to get worse, well, I suspect more tendencies towards authoritarianism.)
This is where I sense the tension. At least in the US, the political system seems to want to maintain people in rural areas, but the economic system doesn't. And I'm not sure a politician running on a platform of "we're gonna get you out of dodge" is going to be very popular.
Advocating for moving people out of rural areas seems like political suicide. I can't find anyone pushing for this idea.
Your point about politicians stands. That's a great assessment of the tension between the two worldviews.
They say that, but if you write them a cheque, they'll cash it.
It's the things that come along with wealth that they may disagree with, but certainly not the wealth itself.
No doubt, there are pockets (even in Canada#) that refuse government welfare programs like health insurance because they feel that they shouldn't be dependent on others like that, but it's much less than 1%.
# Some of our old-order Mennonites refuse to get a government health card.
Not 100% true. I grew up in farm country and there were lots of people (my parents included) who refused on principles to participate in federal CRP programs which would have essentially provided government checks for doing nothing.
That's why all the great scientists are working in the Fintech industry. (No, they are not)
At the federal level there is a bias toward rural states mostly because of how the senate works. At the state level pretty much every state is ruled by a couple counties that have the biggest cities in the state in them and everyone else is along for the ride.
I personally think this is pretty well balanced but would prefer for there to be far less federal authority (so it matters much less who controls each branch of the federal government) and far more (like 100 or so) states so that both groups can do what they want, in their own state, without much federal interference (and without fighting as much over everything) but that will never happen because the cities depend on the rural areas for resources and the rural areas depend on the cities for money so states will never split (and even if that were solved you'd never be able to divide states in a way that wasn't gerry-mandered to hell and back which would defeat the point).
"Even states that had constitutions requiring equal population districts were ignoring them. Florida, Georgia and New Mexico gave small counties 100 times the voting power of the most populous ones. Decades ago in California, Amador County (population 14,294) had the same representation in the state’s Senate as Los Angeles County (with a population over six million)."
The reason for the above is that there are so little population ( less than 650,000 )in the whole state.
These 7 states each have TWO senators.
The reason for this is this is how the country was formed giving 2 senators to each state in the constitution. These 14 senators are always Republican and see their weight on 100 seat Senate.
so two reasons why US cannot reflect the wishes of the majority of the voters.
1/ fourteen senators from 7 states ( with a population less than 650,000) elect the same Republican senators for decades ( think about their influence on judicial judge selection and every other decision senate make)
2/ as you mentioned, state-level gerrymandered ( in bigger population states) electing more House reps of Republicans even though their vote share is less than 50%
California with 40 Milion population 2 senators, to 2 senators for these 600,000 population for each of these 7 states.
And how many of those two CA senators are GOP? Guess those 7 states are more diverse than CA.
I'm not saying what you've said isn't true. I'm saying it doesn't matter in practice.
Gerrymandered or not if the cities want something they get it. The only time rural areas get a real say is if the cities are split on an issue or if the suburban areas split disagree with the cities. NY, MA and VT are good examples.
The economic system is short sighted, and doesn't always have to drive politics - this may be a recent phenomena.
You can just search "thomas jefferson agrarian quotes" and get tons of pro-ag, anti-city statements from him, such as:
“Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bonds. As long, therefore, as they can find employment in this line, I would not convert them into mariners, artisans, or anything else.” –Thomas Jefferson to John Jay, 1785.
Well, sorta. The feds still own 30-85% of each Western state:
Now the economic inputs are highly skilled workers and the connections between them.
Instead of trying to shore up the weaknesses of rural communities how can they play to their strengths? A small community and lifestyle has lots of benefits over living in the city but you have to value both working in tech (remotely) _and_ what a small community has to offer.
The only solution I can think of is incentivizing remote work so people don't have to be concentrated in cities. You might not even have to incentivize it because it's a tremendous advantage as a tech company to be able to recruit from any where in the country where lots of talented people don't want to move for family reasons or don't want to live in a city
With that said, it may be worth considering that there is some subtlety here. It's surprisingly difficult to integrate remote workers into a company that has and uses offices. A lot of communication is lost when people aren't regularly sharing the same physical spaces, and cultural practices and technologies to date are mostly limited to mitigating this loss slightly. There's a drop in productivity, and it appears to be (in general, at scale, individuals can and do vary wildly) inevitable. Building a small company entirely from exceptional individuals is workable, but as a model it can't scale.
Right now the major incentive is that remote workers can be paid the local-to-them pay rate. This is a problem, as it rarely matches the model of remote work that smaller towns and would-be remote workers have in mind.
There's also some major wins that individuals gain by congregating in urban areas with their industry. It's harder to replace these with remote work, as much of it depends on concentration enabling serendipity.
Again, you're completely right. Remote work could definitely help! There might be some subtleties worth considering is all.
From what I have seen, for most people it means Netflix, and it has had very little impact upon NZ software development (certainly not a billion dollars worth).
Truely rural areas don't get fibre (too expensive per household) and often have no ADSL either (more than 5km from exchange).
Exactly, they're called "economic clusters" for a reason. It's like these municipalities are merely play-acting.
100 years ago there was a ton of industry: paper mills, textile mills, marble and limestone quarries. These were supported by a train that ran through town to transports goods to and from Boston, and the town sprouted up organically around these industries.
One by one, they all faded away but when I was little the town still had much of the residual glory: a downtown full of shops, a mahogany-lined library and school, plus a big new mall 15 minutes away. Then as I grew up all the things started to go away. The two drive-in theaters, the entire downtown shopping area, the malls. All of it bottomed out when the Walmart came to town (familiar story...)
But now there is a bit of a revival around art, nature and tourism, which they have been pushing my entire life. The old train tracks are now a walking/bicycle path. The old textile mill is a modern art museum. The shell of its former existence gives the town a very unique character now. But there is a big disconnect between people who grew up there and the tourist mindset, and it's interesting to be able to see and understand both sides of it. The people that are moving there or want to visit there have a COMPLETELY different mindset than the people who do live there, even most the people trying to drum up the tourism.
Most small towns aren't going to revive via tourism, of course, but I think the bigger problem is every small town is trying to find some big "thing" to come save them. A new plant, a new business hub of some sort. Instead they should be focusing on their strengths, such as they exist: cheap housing, open spaces, access to nature, no commuting traffic. Cut out red tape and let people redefine these town husks like hermit crabs changing shells. I think the best approach is to focus on local community elements that are attractive to people who can work remotely. It's got to be success by a thousand cuts, because most of these communities have no chance at a real influx of business.
I have found a new place where the topography essentially places a hard limit on growth and provides me with immediate access to all the things I love to do outdoors. While this makes me part of the problem I know what I want my town/city to be.
So my point is I agree that there is no one solution but rather a holistic approach of building up your best features to appeal to many is the only way for these towns to prosper in the future.
The town I grew up in was ~3k people, and was the biggest in the county. The biggest city in the area was 30k. You had to drive at least an hour and a half to find anything bigger.
The place I live now has a population ~60k, and seems quite big to me. But to a lot of people that is still just a little spot in the middle of nowhere.
You present a solid blueprint for even smaller communities to start to attract remote workers.
Schools -- We're trying to provide the highest possible quality education for our daughter, which means living in the best public school district we can find or within range of the best private school we can afford. And while I'm sure there are exceptions, this means living in a city.
Jobs -- Even though in theory I could work remotely, my wife (a lawyer) couldn't. Wherever we live has to be able to provide employment opportunities for two disparate professions.
Arts/Culture/Etc... -- I take my daughter to the Thinkery (a neat kid's museum here in Austin) monthly. She takes ballet and swim lessons, perhaps music lessons soon. It's important for our family to be in proximity to a vibrant art/music scene.
None of this is meant to denigrate small towns or rural areas, and perhaps there are some areas that provide the above (I'd be curious to hear about them if there were, actually...) I merely mention this to indicate how difficult the project is.
Many rural areas in Vermont (particularly in the Northeast Kingdom) will give you a school voucher to use at any school you want (public or private) because there isn't a local public. As a consequence, there are some really good private schools up there. The public schools are good too. It has actually created somewhat of a culture of upper class people moving there.
Depends on the Vermonters you ask. I take it you weren't canvassing a trailer park.
A lot of people will give you some wise ass answer that people from MA and NY made their money in NYC or Boston and once they had a family to raise or when they were ready to retire they realized had to move to a state that hadn't been turned to crap by the people in NYC or Boston.
Considering the political difference between NY/MA and (a good chunk of) people in rural areas of VT (or any other state in northern New England) you can see why they might say something like this.
I can live anywhere in the country. I'm not tied to Houston, TX where I live I just haven't been motivated to move since I travel to fun places so much anyway.
I flat out do not understand the strategies of these cities who are trying to become tech hubs. I also don't understand the "economic development" consultants that advise them. You want remote workers? That's a strategy, but you have to work at it. You want tech companies to move there? You have to work hard at it. The best kept secret about business in Texas is how our previous Governor got on a plane with pitch deck in hand and worked hard to lure businesses to Texas. This even included ad campaigns in other states.
The mentality of most city councils, economic development committees, and governors seems to treat "building a tech sector" as some kind of magic requiring a secret incantation.
It's sales, beat the bricks.
The known-good approach, of spending decades building educational, financial, cultural, and business conditions that enable tech hubs is difficult and slow and expensive. Cities are looking for ways to shortcut this that are palatable to voters who often don't really see a need to change things.
I think you've hit on it: a lot of people and places see tech businesses as something not significantly different from a car plant.
I think it's probably easier just to promote remote work.
If your goal is to make rural people (historically a very hard group for governments to control, everywhere, not just in the US) more dependent on and controllable by the state then it works great.
(Yes, I know I'm just stirring the pot by saying this)
I know many rural Americans like to imagine they're still living on the lawless frontier uncorrupted by civilization and Federalism, but.... it's not actually true that they're less dependent on the state than "city folk." Hell, in many cases rural areas are more dependent on the state.
And ironically, it's that pastoral, romantic delusion of the statelessness of rural America that leads to the very same populist ideology that makes them easier to control. Like believing a billionaire globalist with a history of exploiting low wage employees and a loose relationship with the truth is an honest, God-fearing hard working friend of the common man.
I'd like to see you back up this claim, but either way dependence on "the state" isn't really what matters.
What matters is the interdependence between the two locales. Cities are almost entirely dependent on rural areas for their food. Rural areas could continue to exist without cities; the reverse is not true.
Cities are also more fragile than rural areas. Say something catastrophic were to happen to some region of the US, something that wiped out communications infrastructure, electricity generation, supply routes (roads, rail), etc. The cities in this region would be foodless within a few days. Depending on the city, there would be either no running water or dirty running water. Even if martial law were quickly instituted, violence and starvation would result.
Contrast this to the rural areas. Food would certainly be an issue, but it is more likely that the population is either (a) near agricultural infrastructure or (b) prepared to fish/hunt/forage. It helps that there are less mouths to feed.
Furthermore, most people are on wells and/or septic tanks, which barring damage gives them a much longer timeline before water/sanitation becomes an issue. Again, it helps that there is a lower density of people needing drinking water and sanitation.
I guess my ultimate point is that strategically, it is the rural areas holding the cards. Would they be poorer without the cities? Absolutely. Could they survive? They did for generations.
As far as hunting and fishing goes, few people living in rural areas would be capable of living entirely off the land for an extended period of time, so the premise that they would be able to survive a disaster more or less unscathed while the city dwellers starve is just really not true, at least not as true as Americans would like to believe.
One problem rural areas do have is lack of disaster preparedness funds. I live in Texas, and I've seen what happens when disasters hit rural areas. The same people who complain about Washington and city dwellers wind up in tent cities being tended to by the Red Cross and FEMA.
See how well agricultural communities do without farm subsidies, housing loans or food stamps. Without the state keeping them alive, a lot of them would simply die out.
And this is my ultimate point - most Americans who live in rural areas are little less domesticated than their urban counterparts.
Why do you feel the need to shut down entire communities?
Do we subsidize their lives as some have suggested with UBI? Do we try to revitalize industries that failed? As someone who lives in a small town, what do you think would help those towns and their residents?
We are trying to solve regional issues from a national perspective. Local government and issues needs to become more important. Locals need to solve local issue. People in Portland, OR aren't going to to solve issues in Mandeville, LA.
I have no quarrel with small towns per se. Some host substantial mining or logging or manufacturing operations. Some provide services for large surrounding agrarian areas. Others are bedroom communities for city workers who trade a commute for cheaper living arrangements. These are all fine. These towns have solid economic reasons for existing, and are therefore viable. No problem. But others are not so fortunate.
More to the point, how do you avoid putting the people you displaced from their homes on a high-rent, low-wage treadmill?
Sure lots of these small towns don't need as MUCH centralization as they have but they still need services because there are still people and things to do out in those places.
Now, given modern transportation and things like Amazon, the density in outlying areas may not be as needed. Driving through rural missouri, you see a lot of very tiny dead towns at crossroads, where there used to be a general store, etc, and these died in the 30s. Then you have slightly bigger towns that are dying now. These towns were starting to die in the 90s. In the 60s it took around 8 hours to get from St. Louis to the arkansas border (except along 55). When I was a kid in the 80s it took 4-5 hours. Now it takes 3:30. Because of this you don't need as many of these services as local, but that doesn't mean you don't need them.
Also driving through rural missouri you see things you wouldn't expect. My cousin owns a VERY profitable organic chicken ranch about 2 hours outside of St. Louis, near Owensville. Going further south you find all of a sudden where like 80% of the oak for charcoal and wine / burbon barrels come from. It's completely unreasonable for these folks to commute from St. Louis. It's also completely tenable for them to live in a house in the middle of no where and make plenty of money for that life style.
What seems to be happening is that much of the rural area is becoming LESS dense as you need only basic services and health care, gas food, etc.
There's also other things that need lots of space that you can easily do in rural areas that you can't do other places. If I was to switch to running a textile mill, or a machine shop, and did it in Seattle (where I live now), or St. Louis (where I used to live), I'd have to plunk down 2-5 million on a warehouse. If I did this in Wenatchee area or Owensville, the land is like $200k, and I just build the building and put that other 1-2 million into better tooling and employees, and the effective minimum wage (what people actually need to live), is a lot lower out there because everything is cheaper. Which means product is cheaper.
Also, I don't see why remote workers can't live in small towns. They offer a certain quality of life many desire.
But at an enormous cost to the environment, tax base, and economic resilience of society.
It's legitimate for people in the cities to ask whether they want to keep subsidizing this lifestyle, and whether a better kind of arrangement of land use can be achieved.
The article provides several examples showing that those industries continue to operate in small towns, but that they require very little labor anymore, due to mechanization and automation.
The majority of the financial gains for these industries go to the capital owners (including all of us who can afford to save for retirement), not to the local labor pool. The labor pool doesn't have leverage to change that, because they often have few other options for work in their area.
The remote workers transplanted from cities aren't going to meaningfully increase employment in the old sectors. They will just enjoy the cheap housing and lower cost for low-skilled services.
Local low-skilled labor won't be able to suddenly shift to high-skilled remote IT work, and the sectors are too different to have an effect on the others' labor rates.
At best, the remote IT workers' discretionary local spending might prop up a few small service businesses, like restaurants, but the remote workers are likely to keep most of their capital in the same non-local financial instruments that their equivalents in cities do. And who could blame them for doing so?
That said, just because food and lumber has to be grown somewhere doesn't mean it has to be grown in American small towns and rural communities. My wheat and rice can come from Mexico and Thailand and my beef from Argentina.
There are other considerations, too. Favoring local products is a good way to keep poor food-exporting countries poor. I don't want that, though I understand some people have different priorities from me.
Many people in my town are exactly what you'd expect. But a good fraction of them are millionaires with huge McMansions and lakeside property. The cars that go down my road are a mix of beat up pick up trucks and Cadillacs.
I guarantee you, no outside entity subsidizes us. Not with those kind of property taxes coming in. And I guarantee you, my town is not unique in this regard.
What would some examples of this be, in your opinion?
People act as if all these small towns are growing our food and are vital for the national economy when in reality the vast majority of them consist simply of the industry required for their local suburban/rural existence (schools, supermarkets, hospitals, road maintenance, etc.).
The places that are actually productive (e.g. large agricultural regions) of course have to stay but these are relatively not so populated to begin with (and use less and less labor every year). People have no idea of the magnitude of distortion that props up the myth of the small town in America.
Policywise, I think a gradually introduced land value tax and carbon tax (replacing to some degree property and income taxes) could do a lot to enact this restructuring in a "natural" way.
The people who don’t need the help have little incentive to sacrifice their limited resources to help the less advantaged, and the people who do need it don’t know what they need so they get sucked in by destructive authoritarian politicians who focus on the next election instead of the next 20 years.
However, the entire reason this is happening is because technology is shifting the economic system to require high-skill concentration into cities and low-skill jobs offloaded to cheap countries rather than needing lots of rural resource-generating towns. It’s easy for me to blame visionless politicians and people, but I think in the end we are all beholden to the system. But what is a system but lots of individual people effecting each other? How did socialism and communism reach their height of popularity in the US in the 1930’s? Can we beat the system by changing it, or is it just too big to ever reach a critical mass of change?
This creates two massive problems for today's society:
Today "Romanizing" has a different name: Cultural Genocide. Whether intentional or not, you are eradicating the cultures you have displaced. Today that's considered a violation of human rights and human dignity. You can't do that and if you try you are at least going to have to find something to mitigate the problem. Do you create an intersectional matrix that finds the most marginalized peoples and leaves them as they are? How do you decide who is most marginalized if you have to move someone. What if their culture a kind of terroir? Can it not exist if you remove it from that place? If so what do you do? Even if they have their language, are the Gullah still the Gullah if you remove them from their diet and usual place of livelihood? Not to mention, when you move their their language will likely disappear and members become assimilated.
Then you have the Refugee Resettlement or "Oakie" Problem. You are introducing a new out-group who will compete for resources and power with an existing in-group. This always causes conflict. In theory, if the in-group view the out-group as either dumb and/or untrustworthy, they turn their judgemental views into critical views and their critical views into moral judgements. After all, value judgements never sit still. After a while they begin incarcerating the most marginalized of the out-group and the scapegoating starts. If not carefully calibrated and balanced the in-group start caving heads in with baseball bats, but the more you carefully calibrate it, the more you return back to the "Romanization" problem.
There are a lot of other problems that arise, but these are the two most consistent when dealing with humans.
For many companies, embracing remote work when possible is to their benefit. No longer do they have the small hiring pool of a handful of office locations, but they now have the entire country at their fingertips at very little effort.
My personal experience is that I work remotely outside of a small rural town, and I know two others in my area who do the same, so it seems like this trend may already be happening. The nice thing about this is that there is no hub required! If the job doesn’t need an office, why have one?
Texas Instruments set up their headquarters next to Richardson, TX. When they realized there weren't enough engineers in the area, the TI founders started their own university so they could farm engineers to grow TI.
Ultimately, once the university got big enough, they turned it over to the state, and now the University of Texas at Dallas is the largest engineering-centric university in the southwest, and its existence is probably responsible for the Silicon Prairie and the Telecom Corridor being a thing.
While there are many efforts in overcoming those effects through decentralization in various aspects (from remote work to blockchain projects), it seems none of these really achieved as much success as we were expecting, probably because the benefits of decentralization don't outweigh (yet) the advantages of strong networks.
Perhaps once we solve this equation in tech, and make decentralized options more appealing than their centralized counterparts, we may be able to transfer that knowledge to city planning somehow.
Is there some benefit to greater America from their existence?
Edit: apparently people are interpreting my comment negatively. I was seriously asking if these small town communities can act as a sort of buffer during recessions because of their relative isolation, thereby limiting negative effects. I'm not questioning whether they should exist or anything nonsensical like that.
It goes both ways though, because they're small towns, they can have their own recessions that have little to do with national recessions. When a factory is shuttered, it can have devastating affects for a small town, much worse than a typical recession, but nobody outside that community would notice much.
This has been happening all over the rural US for the past 20 years. Everyone talks about the past 8 years of stock market booms, and low unemployment but there are a lot of small towns all over the US that are getting crushed by globalization. Nobody talks about because the problems are local to those towns, but for those that live there, the problems are very real and dire.
What an absolutely inhuman comment this is.
Its everyone else fault that nobody wanted to buy the crap their local industries made?
Are you asking if there's a good reason why these small towns should exist?
Say, there are benefits for the whole nation (and the whole humankind) from maintaining and supporting national parks and national monuments, even if they don't and can't turn a profit.
Or, there are various considerations leading to support for local farming, even if it would not make business sense without donations.
Are small towns equally important, and require some degree of support, or should they naturally close shop and disappear sometimes, when they stop making sense, the way businesses do?
This is the key question. No one wants to up and remove those towns. The question is: should we subsidize their existence beyond the infrastructure like road, mail, etc... that we already pay for? And if we want to do that, how do we go about it to get the most bang for our buck?
By and large, rural America is subsidized by the rest of America, be they urbanites or large companies. And to be frank, that's fine; I support generally allowing people to find the best way for them to live, within reason. (Where people like me start getting snippy--and we do, we aren't saints--is when that's not acknowledged. "Real Americans" and the like.)
But the city environment undeniably makes many people less happy. Studies have shown a link between urban living and mental illness.
So it might be nice to maintain options for humans who thrive in a more rural environment.
Do you have a link for these claims? Genuinely curious, I've always wondered about this.
I'm not an expert at knowing what studies are good... so someone will probably comment about why this study is problematic, and that's ok.
"Studies have shown that the risk for serious mental illness is generally higher in cities compared to rural areas. Epidemiological studies have associated growing up and living in cities with a considerably higher risk for schizophrenia. However, correlation is not causation and living in poverty can both contribute to and result from impairments associated with poor mental health. Social isolation and discrimination as well as poverty in the neighborhood contribute to the mental health burden while little is known about specific interactions between such factors and the built environment."
Our political problems stem from each group having little empathy for other groups. Empathy == deep understanding without judgement. The thing that put an erratic man-child in the Whitehouse is half the population having utter disdain instead of empathy for the other half, resulting in a highly predictable reaction.
I have deep empathy for people living in areas where there economic futures and opportunities are consistently getting worse.
We can either find a way a fix that, so that it is possible to continue to live in rural areas AND have employment opportunities.... OR everyone will end up living in cities regardless.
Much of our political differences come from one group being on an upward financial trajectory and the other group being on a downward trajectory. If our outlooks for the future were aligned of course we would have less differences in regards to political policies on taxation, immigration, the environment or issues like government spending on scientific research.
Now there are pretty resort towns where skilled people want to live, that is different. But old Mid-Western agricultural towns don't have that draw.
1. Culture fit. (This is a huge reason for customer service centers onshoring.)
2. Same/similar working hours.
America's backyard is enormous. Attempts to make it more prosperous are basically urban development. There's just too much of it to make any kind of dent in with any kind of money. We can't make cities everywhere like China and wait for people to move in, we just don't have that kind of population.
We need to move the people to the cities. That's the only real solution.
Some of those towns grow enough to attract a tech company, and will continue to attract growth because it's just harder and harder to get the nice balance of factors.
Most everyone in this company has only ever worked there and accepts the status quo of how things are done. Typically, “the worst way that works.”
It would be nice to be in an area where we could have some turnover and occasionally get people from more mature/professional companies.
Foxconn really seems to have suckered a small Wisconsin community (and the state) into giving them an incredibly lopsided tax incentive deal - as detailed in this amazing episode of ReplyAll 
I think a far smarter idea is to pay tech workers an incentive to relocate to the state, as Vermont is doing . The payback is quicker and the results far easier to scale.
1 - https://www.gimletmedia.com/reply-all/132-negative-mount-ple...
2 - https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/01/us/vermont-moving-money.h...
All of that may not even be possible. First try and sell your community their way of life is unsustainable, then try and shake the Walmart, McDonalds dependency.
Competence and specialization is what drives rural economies. Machine repair, fabrication, feed mills, legal services, construction, teaching, child care, animal and livestock services, all require physical competence. These are considered blue collar jobs, because they require someone to actually do something to create value.
I would argue that the soft skills that corporate environments require do not create value, they at best manage capital, and usually deal in the factors and derivatives of negotiating wealth transfers and businesses that reduce to forms of amusement, posterity, and entertainment.
The urban/rural resentment has a lot to do with the relative dependency of each on the other. Cities need food, and farms need capital. Globalization means cities can get food for less from around the world, and the margins on farming are so thin that capital is mostly only accessible at the conglomerate scale.
Competence can be bought from a global supply chain, so rural economies are collapsing precisely because of globalization (e.g. international trade liberalization), and because of distorted fiscal policies that destroy local wealth in favour of centralizing it from global sources. The results have been, and remain predictable.
What is very likely is that city housing prices will become so high that companies will have to use remote workers to produce goods while paying the cost of living, and this will drive broadband investment.
However the real crisis is that the traditional urban/rural dependency and cultural divide is polarizing in favour of the urban side, who can be defined as the sort of people who use phrases like, "left behind," and who lack an apprehension of what follows ecological imbalance at this scale.
Adding educated workers to small towns will not revitalize them, and nor will building public works with public administrative jobs. Until there is a way to generate productive and competitive capital and build real wealth in them, without suffering predation by both their respective governments and globalized markets, they will continue to disappear.
> Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered is a collection of essays by German born British economist E. F. Schumacher.
I will add a caveat to this: I lived in a small town during the decline. The place my parents grew up in was a much more lively, happy place. There were jobs and prosperity, it made sense for them to not leave. My town no longer has a grocery store, has a single restaurant, and I am hard pressed to think of a small business doing well. There are other small towns in the US that I am sure are lovely. I'm just speaking from my own experience.
Unstructured list of thoughts about small town life:
- People are poorly educated and constantly make bad decisions about everything.
- Years of poor decisions and management have buried my town in bad expensive infrastructure.
- Our mayor was an extremely incompetent, unqualified barber.
- The schools are falling apart and the good teachers quickly move on to more lucrative jobs in other areas. The good ones leave. The bad ones stay.
- Picture the Simpsons monorail episode, but replace the ambitious public transit project with a strip mall they can put a buffalo wild wings and a huge parking lot into
- Picture the Simpsons monorail episode, but instead of the town agreeing to build affordable housing, they reject the free government development because, and I was at this meeting, `They don't want the black people from Chicago moving into town.`
- Conservatism in small town America exists, it is not some abstract concept. They are racist. They are poorly educated. They think global warming is a hoax.
- There is a special breed of large, swaggering, ignorant, low, angry white men that tend to live in small towns. They exist in cities too, but there are also other people around.
- As the article suggests: The educated leave. The info-wars fans stay.
- RAMPANT drug abuse. Alcohol. Meth. Opiates. You name it.
- Mind numbing boredom.
- Just because there is less civilization does not mean it is a beautiful forest.
- Is often a polluted creek people would be happy to replace with a Walmart, or a corn field that stinks of fertilizer for months on end. ( poop )
- Want an education?
- Good luck finding a decent college nearby.
- Want to see a band? Too bad. You will have to drive 4 hours to see anyone.
- Want to start a band?
- Good luck finding a community.
- Good luck finding an audience.
- Good luck finding a mentor.
- Good luck finding a place to perform.
- Who you surround yourself with matters.
- Who are you going to hang out with?
- Who is going to be hanging out and collaborating with your kids? Would you rather it be the smart, cosmopolitan Muhammad, or Cletus the pig-farmer's feral son?
- There is nobody to network with.
- What are you going to do when you lose your remote gig?
- Personally I would rather have the opportunity to get a local job if remote work goes out of style.
- People will see your success, covet it, and hate you for it. They will want to knock you down.
Now the malls are empty ( They were always a bad, dumb experiment ). Now all of their pointless expensive roads are crumbling and eating up a massive amount of tax revenue. Walmart pays the community a pittance and funnels all of their wealth to the CEOs.
It stinks people are suffering and losing a way of life, but I feel that much of this pain is self-inflicted. So to small towns: Bye, Felicia.
Some interesting reading:
My only hesitation is that the burbs haven't historically been so diverse and welcoming in the past and likely part of the reason "the kids" flee to the city. Maybe that will change.
Counterpoint: "Trump Voters Driven by Fear of Losing Status, Not Economic Anxiety, Study Finds" 
1. Cheaper and faster internet in the remote locations. Then people can work remotely, have skype HD chats which don't disconnect in middle. Even free internet with 400gb limit per month per house would be good enough.
2. Faster ecom delivery - If we can order the same machines which city dwellers use, well it would suck less.
Leave the rest on the people.
The people who lived around me in the small town weren't less intelligent, they had to keep up with more issues like flaky internet, not finding the supplies, not getting the work.
Internet/ecom can solve many of those issues.
I think SpaceX Starlink could be a game changer here.
Unfortunately, it can still vote for some reason.