May

4

 Here's an essay describing the rural areas of Kansas and how the technology has farming, from increasing yields to needing less labor. The improvements are at the expense of the workers and small towns and counties that are losing population.. Towns are disappearing, but so are industrial workers in the rest of the country, all of this because of increases in productivity and improved technology and farming methods. There is population growth in only a few counties, the rest of the counties are losing population at a steady place. There is a thread of nostalgia in the piece, a longing for times before market forces displaced jobs and people. The author found an interesting correlation….that towns with grocery stories selling fresh food did better than those who didn't. The article mentions various "cures" for Kansas' economic malaise, things like organic farming, raising taxes, and various state sponsored schemes to make everything better. State money is being made available for people to sustain "fresh food" sellers in small towns to keep them going. There is mention of the horrible effects of tax cuts of a few years ago which hastened this decline. Sadly, there is no mention of the benefits to the consumer of the cheaper grain etc.There is also no argument for allowing the small towns to collapse and the utilizing the population in a more economical fashion elsewhere. That's OK, the beautiful pictures of rural Kansas in the article make the rest of the article worthwhile.

anonymous writes: 

American Marxists always think the losers of the recent past have a special purity because they were never guilty of being competitive and selfish. It is the Big Lie that never dies. In fact, these dying towns are themselves the survivors of an earlier competition. For every town that still has the lights turned on, there were once a dozen villages, hamlets and whistle-stops on spur lines whose tracks and ties are long gone.

 


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