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Half-formed thought about how all the small towns in the American interior, that are dying because their one factory or one mine closed down, are the American equivalent of the old European empires' resource-extraction colonies, which (as opposed to their settlement colonies) were set up as giant single-crop plantations, never got any infrastructure investment or economic diversification, and remained some of the poorest places in the world even after they achieved independence

@nindokag Is there any economic argument in favor of small towns existing? My current understanding is that they are just doomed to become shit-holes.

Non-major cities at least have value as reserve seeds if you need to replace a specialized metropolis, but most small towns just can't ever sustain enough population to be worth the paperwork they generate.

@machado i mean, a town should exist as long as people want to live there, because forced relocation would be bad.

From a free-market perspective, the government shouldn't spend any money keeping small towns on life-support.

From a democratic socialist perspective, maybe it's worth picking an economically sub-optimal policy to preserve a way of life that people enjoy.

Ironically, those small towns in the USA mostly vote for the party with the free-market policies that are killing them.

@machado @nindokag small towns with universities are doing decent, at least in the US. but yeah I'm vaguely in favor of mass urbanization

@Elmkast @nindokag Small towns with universities have the one thing small towns usually lack: reasons for 20-40yo childless people to be there. And that comes at the cost of draining all the smaller towns in the region of their best youths.

@machado @nindokag Disagree on last section. These people were either going to A. never get an education or B. do it somewhere much further away. Both options are worse for their hometown than going to a university a 45 minute drive away.

Many of them, even if they get a job in the university town after graduating, now have more resources to help family (who are often quite poor) in the smaller towns (I would just call them villages but we don't use that term much in the US)

@Elmkast @nindokag That's kinda my point. It's better for young people to move to larger places. And returning after you finish your education is very unappealing.

The people who do return are usually rich retirees who can move around when they get bored, and parents who need grandparents to help raise the children.

So to make villages sustainable, they need to be worth staying in, instead of a dumping ground for old people, children, and losers.

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