“The New York Times ran a very disturbing story recently that ought to be required reading for every state and local official concerned about the economic fate of rural Virginia.
In “The Hard Truths of Trying to ‘Save’ the Rural Economy,” economics writer Eduardo Porter musters the usual statistics laying out the growing divide between super-charged growth in a handful of high-tech “superstar cities” and rural America. He then poses a question that we wish he hadn’t: What if there’s nothing that can be done to save rural America?
That’s not a thesis we agree with, mind you, but that doesn’t mean he’s wrong.”
Why it matters: “There are 19 counties in Southwest and Southside where the percentage of adults with a bachelor’s degree is even lower. In Buchanan County and Covington, it’s 8.3 percent. In Greensville County, it’s 7.2 percent. By contrast, in Arlington, where Amazon is going, it’s 71.7 percent. In Falls Church, it’s 74.4 percent. We often make a moral case for why technology companies should look at rural Virginia in general and the coal counties in particular: Tech companies pride themselves on demanding clean energy, which is a fine thing, except that it’s putting coal miners out of work. Don’t they have a moral obligation to those communities? We think so, but it’s hard to make the business case when the talent pool there is so thin.”