Monday, May 23, 2011

Another Struggling Town

Carrizozo New Mexico is another of the many towns that is hanging on. Carrizozo is on the railroad line and with the advent of diesel locomotives and phasing out of steam engines, the trains could go longer distances. In the process, Carrizozo has been on a downhill slide as the railroad employees moved elsewhere.

This process has happened many times before in the US for different reasons. Railroads had chosen routes other than than through a very prosperous transportation hub town on a river. The river town died. In the middle of the 20th century, the interstate freeway system bypassed many towns including one time towns which had railway stops. Those towns continue to die as the jobs disappear.

The freeways bypassed the old downtown areas. Some have survived. Others are mostly boarded up store fronts. Developing downtown Carrizozo for artists is a struggle.

Far away from a freeway, Carrizozo is made of up of mostly family businesses. There isn't enough money to be had in the town for the large corporations -- including Wal-Mart.

In larger cities, the growth model continues with the development of mega malls incorporating big box stores, food courts, high end restaurants and boutique stores. These developments have made twenty and thirty year old shopping centers obsolete.

Today, very little shopping is done in nearby neighborhoods. Get on the freeway and drive ten miles to the mega shopping center -- sometimes just for groceries. No wonder the freeway traffic is snarled in the middle of the day.

I wonder. Could the price of fuel start a reversal of these mega stores and a start to think small and local.

A corporate model is growth. Revenues have to be more than last year. This focus on growth and always more reminds me of an Edward Abbey quote: "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." Lao Tzu said it another way: "To hasten growth is to hasten decay."

When verifying the words for Abbey's quote, I came across a Growthism essay by Kent Welton. A rambling piece which speaks to the main premise of corporate America. The author urges each citizen (consumer) to think for themselves rather than listen to that mantra of corporations, religious institutions and government.

1 comment:

  1. There's a great program, The 3/50 Project, that speaks to what shopping locally can do for a local economy. It's not that hard to follow and the benefits could be huuuuuuge!

    I have to drive at least 60 miles to do any REAL shopping. It's not that hard to spend a little cash, locally, to make sure I will always have a small store to grab necessities.


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