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Old 09-19-2009, 09:50 PM
5,090 posts, read 13,501,950 times
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I want to point to a website that presents a different idea of prosperity from what many people are advocating

Finding Rural America's Prosperous Communities | Daily Yonder | Keep It Rural

It addresses the issues that perhaps we should not look at growth as the necessary means to prosperity.

As I read on this forum, I am becoming increasing concerned how we view the need for growth in Colorado. I am especially disturbed by comments which minimize the importance of the Plains in Colorado and that they do not offer a quality of life. In addition, I do not like the constant fixation on the mountain resorts and the fake phony overprices towns that are turning parts of Colorado into one big expensive Disneyland.

This study address some of the issues of real prosperity:

"...The prosperous rural counties were not tourist or retirement areas. "Relatively few prosperous counties are recreation counties," Isserman wrote. Nor were these counties rich in mountains, lakes or vistas. There were a lot of prosperous counties in the Great Plains, after all, places with billard table landscapes and stock tanks rather than beaches.."

"...The prosperous counties have a more vigorous private sector, with more jobs per capita" and fewer transfer payments..."

Now before one accuses me of being another "Jazzlover", please realize I come from an entirely different prospective than Jazzlover. I do not drool over the mountains; I do not think the scenery and topography is so better than many other places. I do not relish living in a small rural community as I like urban living, and I think the City of Denver is a superb city and offers a excellent quality of life. However, if my life history was different; and I made different choice; and I was not older and ill, I would look to a smaller area for my idea of simple living. I have lived in Colorado for 31 years and was raised in New York. I can never have the real prospective of a "native" resident; but I do believe I have the heart to feel, and the mind to know.

What I do advocate is simplicity in living, and being content with basic wants and within more economical means. That is why I abhor and find disgusting the areas in Colorado that are based on showy consumption and fake "look at me" values. Yes, you find that in more in dense urban areas, but you can also find it much easier to live with simple wants and simple needs, as Denver and its suburbs offer multiple diverse ways of living---better public transportation as an excellent example. You just have to know where to look, and how to live without avarice, greed and covetous desires which larger cities tend to tempt and encourage.

I absolutely do not agree with Josseppie ideas of turning Pueblo into a huge metropolis. I think it is a fine little city with excellent prospects that can find prosperity by improving what it has, and maintaining a smaller population. I do like the idea of advocating for Pueblo, but where he wants tremendous growth, he will then see the city he prizes disappear.

So, I present this study for your comments.


Last edited by livecontent; 09-19-2009 at 10:14 PM..
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Old 09-20-2009, 01:14 PM
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I actually referenced this study in a post I made way back in 2007 or early 2008--it's very interesting. Indeed, most of those prosperous rural counties have something in common--they actually produce basic products--like agricultural products. Fancy that.

I agree with the statements in your post, livecontent. The resorts are a "cartoon" version of real communities, with what I think may be a limited and very troubled future.

Maybe someday, too, the growth-lovers on this forum will pull their heads out of their ***es and figure out that, in a resource-constrained environment, population growth no longer leads to prosperity--in fact, it leads to just the opposite. I might add, too, that high population growth inevitably leads to erosions in personal freedoms and the destruction of free trade and private enterprise. The politically conservative growth-lovers need to really think about what they are wishing for.
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Old 09-20-2009, 02:08 PM
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Out of curiosity, have any of you seen the movie "Plainsong"? It is set in the rural plains of Colorado, and I have wondered how true to life it is in it's depiction of the people and how they live.
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Old 09-20-2009, 02:27 PM
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No, I have not seen that movie. Thank you for bringing it to my attention, as I have never heard of the movie or the author. I have looked at the synopsis at IMDB and does sound interesting. I think I would prefer to read the book first as I have not been to a "talkie" at a theater for 8 years, as I find most movies a waste of my time. In reading the author's bio, I like the idea that the author grew up in Pueblo and has real experiences in Colorado. He now lives in Salida.

I like to read stories that have good personality development and describe the hardships of settling frontier lands. One of my favored author, who has written much on the Great Plains is Willa Cather. I highly recommend My Antonia In addition, I like books that were written before the advent of the moving picture media because they are not written with the idea to sell the rights to make a movie. Consequently do not dwell on violence and sex, which the author knows attracts the money for movies.

To add to the idea about the rural frontiers of the United States, I want to point to another website that evaluates and defines the Frontier regions of this country National Center for Frontier Communities If you download the various maps you will see that there are significant frontier counties in Colorado. So, those of you who pine for a new adventure, perhaps you still have time to show your strengths and uncover your weaknesses in settling these areas.


Last edited by livecontent; 09-20-2009 at 03:09 PM..
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Old 09-21-2009, 06:53 AM
204 posts, read 529,105 times
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The rising crime and overall decay that has transformed my own hometown into something almost unrecognizable fuels an interest in small town issues, so livecontent's discussion caught my eye.

This morning I found the following article:

The Rural Brain Drain - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Thought you guys might find it interesting.
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Old 09-21-2009, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by ShermanJoe View Post
The rising crime and overall decay that has transformed my own hometown into something almost unrecognizable fuels an interest in small town issues, so livecontent's discussion caught my eye.

This morning I found the following article:

The Rural Brain Drain - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Thought you guys might find it interesting.
Thank you for the article. I found the article interesting. The writer points out that the achievers leave the area and get higher education and do not return. He then goes on to say that that the other youth do not seek higher education and that is the cause of many of the problems.

He suggest that we increase training of these people in Community Colleges with more trades vocational and skill base training. His assumption is that these people will be able to find jobs in the area and will stay---that is wrong. If there are no jobs, people will leave. In addition, these people will then have marketable skills that and can fine good futures out of the area; they are no different than the achievers; they are achievers in their own right.

This is the typical view of educators--send everybody to college and it is the magic potion to turn everybody into a success and make every area perfect.

He argues that farming should change to more diversified products in an area and that agribusiness is evil. Many areas are not going to support diversified products for income and the days of the lone farmer is gone.

I do not have the answer for the decline of rural areas. Perhaps it is more economical to concentrate more people in dense well run cities and allow many rural areas remain less populated; especially in areas where the water and other resources cannot support growth.

I do think that larger cities can and should take more of an interest in smaller rural towns. It makes me ponder when I look at Denver and the sisters cities program that it sponsors for all these cites around the world Denver Sister Cities International: Peace Through People

It makes little sense to support and help these foreign cities when we have needs in our own state. Look at these cities, it is just another self gratify "look at me" program. We should look at and help our own towns in Colorado. Denver Sister Cities International

I suggest that Denver and many of the larger cities of the front range, who also have these programs, look closer to home and sponsor a town in Colorado. Denver can provide relief, economic assistance and exchange of culture.

We in the front range can sent our children for education and programs to Colorado rural farming communities to learn the necessities of these towns and their needs. Perhaps then people of the cities will cease their thievery of water resources and understand the values of rural lands. In addition, the people of rural Colorado can see the needs of the cities. We can then cooperate better for a more balanced and sustainable Colorado.

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Old 09-21-2009, 08:20 PM
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Plus, innately, the age (and I do mean that in the 2000 year sense) of global population growth, and hence, global market and demand growth is over, or nearly so. And there is nothing anyone can do to stop it from being over, it is a perfect storm of demographic melt down, economic chaos, global wars of mass destruction, in breeding and down breeding. If you cannot survive in a world of ongoing long term market decline, then you will be history. This will be the biggest recession in human population growth (and hence, collective spending power) since the Black Plague and perhaps even since the onset of the Pleistocene.
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Old 09-21-2009, 08:54 PM
Location: Nebraska
4,228 posts, read 7,234,445 times
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Originally Posted by Bideshi View Post
Out of curiosity, have any of you seen the movie "Plainsong"? It is set in the rural plains of Colorado, and I have wondered how true to life it is in it's depiction of the people and how they live.
************************************************** ***
I read PLAINSONG a couple years ago. I loved it! I grew up within 20 miles of the fictional Holt that is the setting for Haruf's story. His characters are real. It is obvious that Haruf was writing about real life experiences.

He came to Lincoln, Nebraska several years ago on a book tour and I wanted to meet him but I had to be out of town that day. I think he attended High School in Yuma, Colorado for a couple of years in the early 1960's. I probably met him a few times at various school activities like sports and band activities. I would like to talk to him and compare notes.

I would like to thank him personally for the hours of great reading pleasure he has given me in his various books.

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Old 09-21-2009, 08:59 PM
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The age of global population growth is not over - yet. This is according to conservative writer Ben Wattenberg in his book "Fewer." In the book he points out that global population will grow from its current 6B to 9B by 2050 before it starts to decline. He predicates this growth on the number of women now of child-bearing age, and those girls who are alive today and not of child-bearing age but will enter their child-bearing years in the decades ahead.

I hate to think what another 3B on the planet will do to resources and climate. Even just the publicity and fear from some truly horrendous natural calamities could cause people to reduce reproduction at any time, but it's a total random chance that such things might occur.

I liked the article on Brain Drain, it's been going on for many decades. If we had two data sets we could graph, we'd see that as farm mechanization and productivity per farmer INCREASED, we'd see an inverse where rural population DECREASED, pretty much in lock step with one another. The two lines on the chart would approximate an X pattern, with farm productivity rising (from bottom left to upper right) and population falling (from upper left to bottom right). I see no way to change this dynamic, and any attempt to fix it or force it will be called socialism or communism by whatever party is not holding the white house.
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Old 09-21-2009, 10:19 PM
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I disagree with the projected timing of a population crash as after 2050. I think the wheels are already set in motion to cause it much sooner. An energy crisis of epic proportions is on the way within a few years. Americans like to think of that as a) not possible and b) something that will only affect their ability to live in suburbia and drive all they want. What they fail to understand is that the worldwide food production and transportation system is based on cheap and plentiful fuel supplies. When fuel is no longer cheap and plentiful, food won't be either. Personally, I think we are less than 10 years--maybe less than 5 years--away from a major worldwide famine. That will lead to a major die-down in the Third World, may ignite disease epidemics the likes we have not seen for centuries in all countries, and--if all of that ain't bad enough--may touch off World War III.

People just do not realize how fragile the whole food production and transportation system is in this country--in this state. Even a relatively minor disruption in the supply of fuel could leave those supermarket shelves bare in less than a week. It's pretty sobering--I used to work in agriculture and our ill-preparedness for food supply disruptions scares the hell out of me. Of course, Washington and the general public is way too busy worrying about how to bail out idiot lenders, borrowers, auto companies, etc., etc. rather than addressing what are the real issues confronting us--namely, how the hell we are going adjust our living arrangement to survive in a resource-constrained world.
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