A New Economic Model for the South: Ditch Corporate Welfare and Fund Agricultural Co-ops

Vande Panne, Valerie

Publisher:  In These Times
Date Written:  16/11/2018
Year Published:  2018  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23121

A report from the Institute for Policy Studies, titled "Agricultural Cooperatives: Opportunities and Challenges for African-American Women in the South," makes the case that redirecting governmental support from corporate welfare to agricultural co-ops could provide an alternative vision for economic development in the Southern United States.



Despite promises made when they open shop in the South, companies like Nissan often fall short when it comes to providing safe, living-wage jobs in the predominantly African-American communities where they operate. And the enormous subsidies they receive end up, directly or indirectly, starving alternative models that could actually support the health and economic prosperity of rural communities across the South.

The report focuses on the region known as the Black Belt, named for its fertile soil, where massive agricultural production was built on the backs of enslaved Africans. Today, many rural counties in the Black Belt are home to large African-American communities, and most jobs in the region continue to be in the agricultural or low-wage service sectors.

The region also has among the highest poverty rates in the nation. More than a quarter of African-American women in the South live below the poverty line. In rural Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, that number can be as high as 61 percent among African-American mothers.
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