A major mistake of the pandemic is dividing those who can work from home and those who cannot. The pandemic has put a spotlight on far-right white-collar workers, often pitting them against essential workers who do not have the luxury of working from home. “When you talk about shutting down our city, you’re talking about firing low-paid workers,” tweeted New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
But this outline is incomplete. Because working from home represents a real revolution for rural America and people like me who make their homes here. Remote working allows smaller towns and rural communities to eventually compete with larger cities and suburbs. And it presents an exciting new opportunity to renew our small towns, opening the door to a rural renaissance in the 21st century.
For decades, scholars and policy makers have been cracking down on rural brain drain. in my home state of Kentucky, which rank number one for brain drain, there is a staggering 28 percent difference between highly educated people leaving the state compared to those leaving the state. across the great sandy river, Rugged and Isolated West Virginia There has been a steady decline in population since 1950. And those out there are those who can.
This has real world consequences. Educated taxpayers leave the state with tax dollars needed for everything from roads to local schools. It is no surprise that rural areas struggle not only with small tax base But Fewer Federal Dollars Are Subsidizing Them Because of their smaller population, compared to their urban counterparts. This in turn limits the quality of education and opportunities that rural students have compared to their urban peers.
However, remote work offers an opportunity to level this playing field. As the cost of living continues to skyrocket in cities across America, the ability to work from home could translate into an exodus from its urban bubble of educated professionals to remote areas.
And this is what is missing from the debate about remote work: the fact that it has the potential to transform rural America. It can clog our brain drain and bring much needed tax revenue to places that are in decline under globalization. It could also bring in new jobs, allowing the rural workforce to tap into the globalized, digital economy. Remote working has the potential to transform the rural economy, ultimately bringing autonomy and stability to communities that have experienced massive upheaval over the past half century or more.
Cities like Bemidji, Minnesota are already feeling it, setting up programs to attract these remote workers to their communities. Western Kentucky, also in Paduka cash incentives offered For professionals relocating to the city, they understand the value they bring in terms of tax revenue, capital (both financial and social), and expertise.
And the ability to work from home means that children growing up in rural America today won’t face the same dilemma of rural Americans in the 20th and early 21st centuries: stay home or leave for a better life. Better life can come for them anytime without leaving their communities.
No system is perfect, and working remotely presents new challenges for workers, employers, and the economy. But there’s no denying that this is an exciting opportunity for rural America, which could eventually help cities like mine fix the globalized economy. Finally, rural America can take advantage of the modern economy and share in America’s bounty.
In 2017, I covered the UK general election as a contributing editor to GayUK magazine. I would wake up at 2:00 every morning, make a pot of coffee, and get to work interviewing Members of Parliament and candidates. Why so early? Because I was not in London like the rest of the team. I was in Chicago.
Today I am writing this article from my home in East Tennessee. I relocated to the rural south in 2018 to be closer to family. Without the ability to work remotely, I wouldn’t have been able to do this.
The debate about work from home needs to be broadened. Coastal myopia is hiding one of the biggest benefits. This is no longer about stopping the spread of COVID, but about encouraging the spread of talented Americans – back to rural America.
Skylar Baker-Jordan writes about the intersection of identity, politics and public policy based. He lives in Tennessee.
The views in this article are those of the author.