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View Diary: Why is our society contracting? (55 comments)

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  •  I'm a little more than a decade behind you... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bmcphail, Pilgrim X, qofdisks, lotlizard

    and I can relate to the story that you told, having grown up in a small textile mill town, being the son of parents who moved off the farm to do other things.

    There is the cost of transportation.  In the 1920s, my mom as a kid rode in a buggy as transportation.  She traveled widely compared to her peers because one set of her grandparents lived 15 miles away in the next county.  In the early 1930s, her dad got a 1925 Chevy as their first car.  By the 1950s, because of World War II, she had traveled and worked in California and came back to South Carolina.  My experience growing up was the ease and inexpensiveness of transportation.  And that pretty much continued up until the 1990s.  And then incomes and transportation costs diverged.  It was not as easy to explore other places during vacations; indeed, vacations became less of an option because of work demands.  Today all of those trends have become worse--and we have a Congress unwilling to fund transportation infrastructure to restore that mobility.

    There is the increase in latchkey children and children with pre-defined routines.  When I grew up, we were free range kids over several blocks, even as pre-schoolers.  And that range widened as we grew older.  We trespassed on other people's property routinely and few objected unless we were causing damage.  We could take the city bus downtown and back by junior high, mainly because there was only one in town an it was downtown.  Those pictures on milk cartons during the child kidnapping hysteria of the early 1980s did a job on a generation of parents.  And people have become more frightened of liability suit for anyone hurt on their property and have locked down a lot of the range that we used to roam.

    As mobility decreases, the tensions between urban areas and rural areas grew and suburban areas, formerly on the side of the progress of their cities, as a result of white flight and other reasons, became more isolated and withdrawn--and more aligned with the rural areas that would become the new suburb that their next move would take them to.  The traditional hicks vs. sinning shysters stereotypes of rural areas and cities reasserted themselve in the culture wars with seriousness and intensity.  So why would one want to move there? became a more prevalent attitude.

    Finally the nature of the job market changed so that it was not as easy to pick up and move to find a job in a more prosperous area as it was in the 1950s and 1960s.  Jobs became narrower and narrower specialties by industry and even location.  It was harder to break into a career with just a newly received degree.  So people stopped dreaming and "got realistic".

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 06:08:22 PM PST

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