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Odds and Ends
Everything is possible when you don't believe
26 10, 9:51pm
I actually agree with you.
I live in an agrarian area. Farming employs FAR FEWER PEOPLE over the ENTIRE COUNTY, than, probably does the local Wal-Mart. Directly.
But, farming is a product that is exported. Never mind you could squeeze all the farmers within 50 miles into a single banquet hall, that product goes out, bringing money into the area.
Wal-Mart, however, is a drain. As is Arby's. Farming brings money in.
Communities are naturally protective of those things which bring money from outside the community, into the community.
No, coal mining will not employ more people. Mechanization has been eating into the coal miners bread and butter for centuries. At least since Sterling figured out how to make a heat engine that made hauling the stuff out of the hole easier. Possibly, you should start with when the first wooden rails were laid to facilitate pulling the product to the surface more efficiently.
The future of coal-mining is probably the same as the <s>future</s>present of farming. One guy, operating a multi-hundred-thousand dollar piece of equipment, doing the work of hundreds.
The sensible things WOULD be to find some other industry that could employ the fresh graduates of those regions. The problem is, what is a good fit for a community that has been sublimating its best and brightest to other, richer, communities for decades, while its adequate have been putting on dust masks and hard hats and climbing down into a dirty hole?
Remember that coal has one thing going for it that some manufacturing job doesn't. It can't be boxed up at 3AM and shipped to Mexico when the owners and the workers get at loggerheads over who is responsible to who for what.