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Author Topic: Ghost Towns  (Read 3263 times)

LJRead

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Ghost Towns
« on: September 08, 2009, 08:06:16 PM »
One major interest of mine at one time was to visit some of the many ghost towns scattered about the West.  These are the towns where the gold or silver simply ran out and, with nothing to support the towns in the way of production, people simply moved away.

Then there are now the ghost towns, or near ghost towns of the agricultural areas, where agribusiness took over, with the amalgamation of farm lands into larger entities and the small farmer no longer finding things viable, so they too simply move out and the towns they supported became ghost towns.

But now we have the economic ghost towns, like Flint Michigan and probably many others where the business went overseas to China or somewhere, (some moving to cheaper labor markets in the South) and now there are whole neighborhoods gutted by people simply moving out.

Then today I learned of another ghost town phenomena, the modern ghost town, some only years old, in which the only productivity was the retail trade, and when people no longer had the jobs, or felt like commuting the distance required to have jobs (high gasoline prices?), these consumer towns became ghost towns., or very close to it.  Remarkable.  Towns founded on consumerism?  Where is the sense of that?  Nonsense, I would say, and probably be right.  

So here we have these planned communities with consumer empires based on retail outlets, car dealers, furniture dealers, with square miles of new homes, a new type of ghost town, isn't it?

These new ghost towns are easy to get to with modern roads and highways taking you right to the door step.  Perhaps the farming ghost towns are the same way.  The real ghost towns, the centers of mining in the Old West sometimes require a Ural or Jeep to get to, and when you get there you find just the bare remnants left.  A foundation here, maybe a false front or chimney there, but with a sense of history emanating from the site.  Real people trying hard to make a go of it in a real industry such as the mining one.

What will the next America look like, a few established cities surrounded by ghosts?  Well, I suppose too that there are ghost nations scattered around the world, nations that just no longer were viable and the people simply moved out, died off, or the town sites became pasture lands.

I think the lesson should be that if a nation has no productive basis, whether it be farming or manufacture, it soon may become a ghost nation, just the same as a town which loses its productivity becomes a ghost town.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2009, 08:09:46 PM by LJRead »
Lawrence J. Read
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1Blackwolf1

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Re: Ghost Towns
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2009, 10:02:03 PM »
  The area in Wisconsin I live in is starting down that road unfortunately.  This used to be sort of a hub city for paper mills, All three within the local area (10 square mile radius) have seen mass workforce reductions.  One was even closed because the new corporation that bought it didn't need it for production purposes.  That one was bought along with it's sister plant for a very low cost, and so closure was eminent.

  Our mayor/city council are trying to tote the area as the newst resort/retirement area in the state.  From what I've seen before this means we can all expect things to really get bad.  The farming industry isn't dead but with modern mechanization few jobs are left in a former booming (lower paying) industry.  Will be interesting too see if this area doesn't go back to being a wagon stop like back in the 1880's.  Will.
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Re: Ghost Towns
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2009, 10:04:53 PM »
Yes LJ, I think your right. It is a shame that we no longer manufacture any substantive goods here. And as long as greed prevails there won't be any either.

I can't particularly blame the CEOs and their golden parachute contracts, they are doing what most normal people would do and do now, get as high a salary as possible.

When enough people wake up to and see the folly of  greed by sending our production overseas then maybe a change will start. But the only way a change as large as what would be required to insure this country's stability will have to come from the government, supported by the populace.

I can already hear the screams from the opponents.

The Garbone

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Re: Ghost Towns
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2009, 12:10:31 AM »
Then again,  you have areas such as South Alabama, or LA (lower Alabama) that were pretty much decimated in the 30 and 40s due to the collapse then.    These days they are not the back waters they used to be,  mainly because they have been depressed so long people are happy to work hard, now that area has opened up at least 3 new manufacturing plants.   (some non union and foreign makes)    Funny , my wifes family moved down here to Fl to find work in the 30 and 40s but kept the homestead in the family,  now a few members of the family have gone back....
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scoTTy

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Re: Ghost Towns
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2009, 02:52:18 AM »
hmmm.... not the ghost towns I was thinking of in my travels ..

« Last Edit: September 09, 2009, 02:49:12 PM by Scotty_RE_DJ »

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Re: Ghost Towns
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2009, 03:44:17 AM »
you've got a point LJR- this whole country was built on and thru  industrialization. Now with the signing of NAFTA and the export of so many manufacturing jobs;  we have become a service based economy...
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LJRead

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Re: Ghost Towns
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2009, 05:27:48 AM »
Years ago I saw the prices of housing go way up and said to myself, "how can anyone afford to buy a house?".  Well, it turned out that the gov. was almost pushing people to buy through the banks., andnd it was also true that most of them couldn't afford what housing was priced at.  Then, even before that, I saw the productivity of countries like Korea, Taiwan, China, Latin America and India and said to myself, "how can the U.S. compete with all these over producers".  Well, the U.S. remained in the thick of things for a time because of the high productivity of its workers and their work ethic.  But finally a lot of the big companies moved overseas for the cheap labor and probably tax incentives, a process which is continuing.

But the idea of a bunch of developers getting together to build a mecca to consumerism boggles the mind.  What were they thinking of? 

Used to be the entire U.S. economy was dependent on production of the automobile.  After that it was the housing industry.  And now what - the health industry?  The tourist industry? 

There is room for the small farmer if he restricts himself to niche markets (organic foods, supplying households directly, that sort of thing).  Then, as Mike points out, there are all those service jobs, a lot of them provided by government at one or another level.

I think the question becomes one of keeping manufacturing at home.  The big boys say we need globalization and free markets.  For whom I would ask?  Maybe a little more self-sufficiency wouldn't be a bad thing.  We need to ask who is so gung ho about free markets?  And then there is favored nation status to consider.  In a word, seems to me that things need to 'get real'.  We don't need to have the entire world riding on our backs.
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Re: Ghost Towns
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2009, 10:40:54 AM »
  As a side note large conglomerate farms are starting to lose ground here also.  A guy I went to school with had two businesss partners and just recently has thrown in the towel.

  300 plus head dairy operation that wasn't financed through the banks gone.  He's just selling off what wasn't part of the original family 120 acre farm.  Same scenario as the mid 70's-80's, but this time played out on the macro farms.  I guess maybe the small farm doing one crop/animal rearing may again make it. 

  As a general rule around here there are only two stable industries, food production and medical.  Remains to be seen how long the food production industry goes before we see a major decline.  Will.
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ace.cafe

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Re: Ghost Towns
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2009, 01:08:19 PM »
Interesting points, and valid observations.

Even more interesting is that in the original Constitution, there were only 3 forms of taxation authorized, and they were "Imposts, Excises, and Tariffs".
No personal or individual taxes were allowed, and no "income tax".
This placed the taxation on trade goods and commerce, which was a sort of "protectionist" structure that helped build the nation.

Of course, our "more modern" plan is to seemingly eliminate all tariffs in our headlong plunge toward globalism, while taxing the crap out of individual incomes of the citizens.
This was not how it was originally intended, at all.
The gov't seems to be hell-bent to do everything that it wasn't supposed to do, and do nothing of what it was supposed to do.
This is where we are.

IF there were "equalizing tariffs" on imported goods, which didn't give them advantage over domestically produced goods, for reasons of different economic conditions of labor costs in other countries, there would be no incentive for corporations to move their production out of the country.
So, you could say that the gov't is directly responsible for this occurring.
Naturally, they were lobbied to do it by the big businesses, so they had a hand in it too.
But, it wouldn't have happened if the gov't provided the prescribed tariffs on imported goods that these big businesses produced overseas, only to import them back here.
What they did was "slant the playing field away from the US", so that it would be cheaper to access labor in foreign lands, and then bring the products back here.
While the businesses could lobby, it was the gov't that had to pass the laws to make it happen.

Why would they do it?
Well, alot of reasons.
One was that they knew that because of the fiat nature of the currency, the value of the dollar was weakening severely, and they didn't really want the people to know what they had done to cause that. So, they hatched this scheme with big business to move manufacturing off shore, and keep lower prices that way, so that folks wouldn't notice the buying power of their dollar declining so precipitously.
This worked well for big business and the gov't, and appeared to give some impression that everything was "still fine". For a while.
Another was that there is this push for "global interdependence" so that one country can't be so much stronger than the rest, so that the world gets "equalized out", sort of like "global affirmative-action", which weakened the US and strengthened other nations to help things along.

There's more too, but I think those things are the main ones, with some other more insidious reasons left unstated.


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Re: Ghost Towns
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2009, 06:10:44 PM »
Very well and gently put!


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Re: Ghost Towns
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2009, 06:18:54 PM »
I think we are further down the line in the UK.

Our politicians pulled out all the stops to bring about a self-referential, or even facile, service economy, arguing that it didn't matter how the money was made as long as it was made. That all seemed hip and ok in the 1990s but now I think that we are up the creek without a paddle.

We have little of what I would term fundamental economic activity - using skill to add value to raw materials in order to make products to sell around the world. Our leaders would still laugh in your face at such a notion, though they would talk a good talk about it at any press conference.

Unsurprisingly,  our currency lacks plausibility, and is losing value all the time, as we try to keep the wolf from the door by printing more money. We now require the mercy and indulgence of more powerful countries that have been prudent enough to earn their living over the last 15 years, and it may not be forthcoming.
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Re: Ghost Towns
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2009, 07:47:39 PM »
A few years ago ,one of the economist stated the US now Exports technology and the locally we are a service based economy. When I here service base ,I think of people who own coffee shops,and window washers.You can't have a country of service only business, at some point you have to be able to produce and export.

If you go on "Made in China .Com" you will find every machine possible to maintain a small country. It looks like they are fine when it comes to technology.

Look what happened to the Spanish when they stopped exporting goods and imported most everything.That was 400 years ago ,they haven't  fully recovered yet.
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exiledcarper

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Re: Ghost Towns
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2009, 07:36:09 PM »
To put it even more simply, we're screwed.

LJRead

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Re: Ghost Towns
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2009, 08:47:17 PM »
I'm not sure the U.S. needs to export goods, but rather, I think it could be self sustaining in just about everything.  During the Great Depression there was nervousness about the U.S. putting too many tariffs on imports, but the situation now is ridiculous, and some people, bankers and such, are no doubt filling their pockets over this globalization.   Ralph Nader once said something to the effect that if the U.S. can't compete in the world marketplace, then they deserve to fail and people should have access to cheap goods.  Not sure I agree with this or twenty or more years ago when he made the statement.  Cheap goods has meant lower inflation, maybe, but it also means that two people must win the bread instead of one, before, and even then they are going more into debt.

 The country I live in, Tonga, was told they would have to get their duty down to qualify for WBO loans and membership  and so they did reduce duty, but raised other things like a consumer tax and wharfage (pays for the unloading I guess) so we are paying just the same, only it is stricter now, so everyone is now not importing much.  The market downtown is almost empty on weekends because people aren't importing used clothing and such because of the high cost - gov. fees and shipping (plus a percentage of even the shipping going to gov.).  Ends up that we are in s state of 'suspended animation' not going much of anywhere, but since 95% of the people 'grow their own' it matters little to most of the people what the gov. does or doesn't do.

Now they are saying a couple more shoes have yet to fall, a new round of bnk foreclosures on loans that came with low initial interest (teaser loans) and commercial loans.  More ghost towns? 

Exciledcarper may have pinned it all down in two words. 



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Re: Ghost Towns
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2009, 09:05:57 PM »
The fatal blow was dealt in 1913.
After that, it's just a matter of how long we take to fall over.
The only way out is to eliminate the Federal Reserve and restore sound money principles.
All the other stuff is merely a preparatory stage which they want to be in place when the fall occurs.
This has been an orchestrated event for over 100 years.
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