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What’s Up With Rural America and Ideas to Fix It

Since the 2016 there has been an increased focus on the geographic divide: Urban vs Rural. While this divide is omnipresent throughout US History and occasionally bubbles to the top (anyone remember the clarion call of Raise Less Corn and More Hell?). The election of 2016 is one of these times. Rural America clearly is hurting and the 2016 election was a cry for help.

This will be a page to hold some resources, articles, pieces, and books about the urban rural divide and how to fix / policy solutions.

Escape Velocity: How Elite Communities are pulling away in the 21st century race for jobs, businesses, and human capital – pdf document that outlines how certain cities are outpacing the left-behind areas.

Tim Vilsack’s Reconnecting with With Rural America Article

The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker – book on how Scott Walker rose to power in WI.

Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town – book on how Wall Street Ruined one Ohio town.

Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic – book on how opioids have wrecked large parts of America particularly in the heartland/rural sections.

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right – book on how rural America feels left out.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis – book viewed through the struggles of America’s white working class and growing up in a poor rest belt town.

Paul Krugman’s hot take on how to reverse rural America’s decline.

Monica Potts op-ed on what the fight over a rural library says about Rural America. Basically, some communities and the families that make it up retreat inward (“take care of my own”) rather than working together to invest. This seems to dovetail with thesis about a decline in social trust.

David Brook’s piece on what Rural America can offer the rest of us.

Sarah Smarsh op piece that highlights an interesting trend of folks returning home to rural areas.

The Brooking Institution’s Piece on how the road to economic revival in the Heartland runs through older industrial cities

The Brooking Institution’s economic analysis on the heartland: Saving the Heartland – Place based politics in 21st Century America

The Greater Ohio Policy Center’s analysis on mid-sized Ohio cities and how they are doing: From Akron To Zanesville

A policy analysis by the Democratic party on how they can better serve the heartland: Hope from the Heartland

The Joint Economic Committee Democrats economic analysis on rural America: Investing in Rural America – Bringing Progress and Opportunity

Wonder why America is Polarized? This book called: Hidden Tribes – A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape can help you to understand.

Rural America in Decline – an info news piece by the New York Times that charts the population decline.

Rural America is Saving itself – a brief review of rural assets (like social capital) and how if combined well can work to arrest decline in rural communities.

Alienated America – basically an updated thesis of Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone. Large parts of America have lost the social capital that can make a community happy and prosperous. For many it the was result of economic changes like “the factory closed” which has cascading effects like the diner where the community used to meet closing. The lack of social capital makes it difficult to develop relationships and build “little platoons” and accumulate power be it economic, social or political. It increases instability, deaths of despair, and broken families. Indeed, for many parts of America the dream is dead. For the Trump voter they come from places like this. This contrasts with other parts of America that are dynamic. They have strong community and local institutions that enhance the social capital.

The New Localism: How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism – book on how localities (both small and large) can leverage assets to solve local problems, locally using a variety of local methods. Thomas Friedman wrote about this in his coverage of Lancaster, PA in Where American Politics Can Still Work: From the Bottom Up

Rural, Urban and Suburban commonalities: It is a lot more than you might think.

Balance of Payments – Rural America as Recipients of a disproportional amount of federal dollars. A study done by the Rockafeller Institute For Government.

How to Win Rural Votes: Anti-trust