Pastoral Poverty: The Seeds of Decline

Old Blog Import

This is a must-read article from this week’s NY Times Week-in-Review. Not only does it point out what many have long known — that the real problem of poverty and crime in America is a rural one not (only, or even mostly) an urban one — but it points out that the trends are starkley moving more and more in that direction. Moreover, it shows that Farm subsidies mostly only help large agribuisness and do very little for these communities, where very few people work on farms.

Around the country, rural ghettos are unravelling in the same way that inner cities did in the 1960’s and 70’s, according to the officials and experts who have tried to make sense of a generations-old downward spiral in the countryside. In this view, decades of economic decline have produced a culture of dependency, with empty counties hooked on farm subsidies just as welfare mothers were said to be tied to their monthly checks. And just as in the cities, the hollowed-out economy has led to a frightening rise in crime and drug abuse.”

NY Times