2. Change isn’t Cheap. The people have been forced, for lack of opportunity, investment, or anything else, to educate themselves for jobs that haven’t really materialized. So they’ve been trained for careers that aren’t available, unless you trained in the medical field. So in that regard, here is where investment is crucial. So while those that made money here off the conditions that were prevalent, they have made no investment, no diversification, and no plans to do so. They have elected to wait. Change from the outside? Can you remember when there was no chain restaurant in Hickory? I mean National Chain, not local or regional. McDonald’s at South Center and US 70 was the first. I guess we could say Dairy Queen on 1st Avenue was, but it is unique in that they use DQ merchandising, but I don’t know how embedded they are in the chain. My point here is, Hickory is very isolationist. Change, from an outside change agent, won’t be forthcoming, the insiders won’t allow it. That goes back to what you said in your comment and what Harry confirmed. (The Hound: There were chains here in Hickory in the 1970s, but they were nowhere near as prevalent as they are today. Before McDonald's was Hardee's and Holly Farm's Chicken out here at Spring's road and there was Burger Chef and Kentucky Fried Chicken in Viewmont - speaking of which, remember the arguments about widening 127 in Viewmont in the late 1970s?)
3. Entrepreneurial Enterprise. Just like furniture and socks, it won’t sustain a regional economy by itself, in my opinion. An active and viable aspect? Certainly. An amalgam of niche ventures that fulfill needs, supply products, and perform services that a broad industrial base can’t satisfy, but through existence, creates the demand for those kinds of needs, products, and services.
4. Our region has never been big on brain power. Sad, but true. There have always been intelligent and smart people here. Tragically, intelligence didn’t fit the mold for what those in power wanted to accomplish. “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” - Upton Sinclair. The Captains of Industry that shaped the basis of what Hickory, Catawba County, and the Catawba Valley was to become ensured their steps were firm based upon everyone else’s being shaky, albeit slightly slippery. Those that recognized the tenets of that premise upon which everything was based left to go where they could make a decent living and wage. They took their intellectual capabilities with them. Why give back to an area that has no interest in you, what you can give, and values you at a subsistence rate with no prospect of success?
5. No Skilled Trades or Heavy Industry. Machinists, metal smiths, skilled trades, master carpenters, master cabinetmakers, actual mechanics and not technicians. These folks, blue collar, knowledgeable, skilled with their hands and their heads. They don’t exist in Hickory for the most part. These people were/are the crux of the middle class in most of America. The majority of these people would be small business owners, or worked their way into the trade through apprenticeship if not trade school. Sure there are a few, but disproportionate to the population.
6. Political and Industrial Overlap. Those in charge of business also seem to be in charge of the politics. Consequently, that means those holding the money run things. How convenient can that be and protectionist! Let me count the ways! Those being elected to be representative are certainly not representative of the majority of the population. They can’t be elected though without the votes of those they hold in contempt, except during election cycles.
Just some thoughts. I’ve been thinking quite a bit of late, I just haven’t written a lot. Sorry about that. I didn't post this under comments, because I didn't want to generate a lot of outside distractions. Take care and best wishes always.