Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ruralites Are People, Too

A job candidate at work presented his paper, which details a government program that attempted to revitalize rural areas in the '90s. Some tactics included improving transportation, offering tax incentives for firms to open factories in rural areas, and so forth.

Such programs give me pause to beginning with, but my feelings were cemented once the speaker mentioned that they generally discourage job training. This is because job training helps people build skills and human capital, thus empowering them to move elsewhere for better prospects elsewhere, leaving the area even more impoverished.

Rural areas have no inherent right to exist, and discouraging their residents from improving themselves seems absurd. We don't want to help rural areas for their own sake; we want to help them because of the impoverished people who live there. And if these people feel that they are making themselves better off by choosing to move somewhere else, more power to them.