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krazeeboi

The two South Carolinas

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I would encourage ALL to read this two-part series by state Sen. John D. Matthews (D-Orangeburg). The series appeared in the Times and Democrat, Orangeburg's daily.

The first article gives the senator's view of South Carolina as a state with two personalities: the rich and educated and the poor and ignorant. It also deals with how wealth can be charted along South Carolina's interstate lines. Some of this is specific to Orangeburg, but much of the information concerns the state as a whole.

Part two looks at how South Carolina's approach to the economy and education varies from neighboring states North Carolina and Georgia.

Some highlights of the first article that I found interesting:

14 counties have 65 percent of the state's wealth, the other 32 counties contain only 35 percent of the wealth. If you look at the two areas, the wealthier part runs roughly along the I-85 corridor, I-20 and the coastal counties.

Comparatively few stops are made along the I-95 corridor, which finds itself in the poorer part of the state, moving from mile marker 1 at Jasper County to mile marker 200 in Dillon County. Since 2003, the poverty rate in the area has increased from 57.2 percent to 61.1 percent.

Interesting snippets from the second article:

It's the tale of two Souths, he said, the old South - Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina, and the New South - Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. The New South is moving forward; the Old is falling behind.

"If you look at it, we're investing less in education and skills, and they are getting more because they are investing more in human capital," [Matthews] said. "This state is too poor to invest in both tax cuts and knowledge and skills; those who invest in tax cuts won't compete."

That last statement in particular was enlightening, and I'd never thought about it that way, but he's right. It seems that we've been opting for the short-term strategy over the long-term strategy.

What the hell were our leaders doing 30-40 years ago when our neighbors were preparing themselves for the future??????

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I believe I heard it said one time, Juan Williams I think, that the easiest way to avoid poverty is to finish high school, and wait until age 21 to get married, and start a family.

Matthews article is uneven, with lots of disconnected issues that have as their solution either redirected government spending or more government spending.

South Carolina up until 30-40 years ago still had the mentality that it was better for 2/3rds of the state to fight 1/3 of the state rather than coming together to advance. That's unfortunate.

His juxtaposition of the Old South vs. the New South by state doesn't really work. He should have just stuck with the interstate/ metropolitan idea and ran with it.

There are many places in North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia that are as slowed by economic advancement as anywhere in South Carolina or Alabama. There are places all over the South that would rather work to save dead end textile jobs for another generation that plan for the future. No amount of government spending, cigarette tax or 'leadership' changes that.

I'd rather a cultural shift happen at the grassroots in South Carolina and elsewhere where families and communities build each other up block by block. It seems that waiting for the legislature to solve problems, even in "new South" states like North Carolina or Virginia has proven to mostly be a waste of time. No need to prove the insanity by keep trying that route, might as well go for the very unglamorous and very hard to accomplish grass roots efforts.

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His juxtaposition of the Old South vs. the New South by state doesn't really work. He should have just stuck with the interstate/ metropolitan idea and ran with it.

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SC has had the opportunity to catch up to the haves. I think that the Big Three (Cola, G'ville and Chas) are doing very well but the others are unwilling to spread some of the wealth within their perspective areas.

I responded to a note in the Florence thread about how that county seems to ignore the lower part of that county. But I was rebuked and given a chicken and egg analogy regarding the issue.

The progressive Old South States and Big Three SC, Metros are in the positions that they are today because of sound planning relative their regions. Unfortunately, SC has too many undeveloped areas that has untapped potential, but get lost in the games.

And yes, local school districts are negatively affected as a result of limited support in their immediate areas. Local jobs = local monies = healthy school districts = higher education rates.

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I will offer up my opinions on this:

  • SC's problems have their roots in what happened after re-construction. I won't get into that too much except to say that for most of the 20th century the state was divided on race (White vs Black) and social status (country club vs poor ).

  • National leaders of the state, people like Strom Thurmond for example, rose to political power on platforms that advocated for racial segregation. The state was consumed by this to the exclusion of everything else. Even as late as the early 1970s presidential candidate George Wallace, another segregationist, got wide support in SC. This issue made everyone blind to how fast SC was falling behind the rest of the country, especially after WWII.

  • While that was going on, the few people with economic and political power in this state, mostly mill owners and their management, professionals (doctors/lawyers), and the few business owners, what I would call the country club set, actively put in policies that kept everyone else poor and working in small isolated communities dependant upon the local mill or industry. As bad as this was, it did provide a living for a large part of the piedmont whereas the coastal areas were much worse off.

  • The state actively worked to insure that it's population would not get a higher education. It was fairly easy and common for someone to drop out of highschool, and the SC TEC system was specifically designed to teach blue collar skills.

  • The stratification of society, almost a caste system (country club, poor white, black) worked to maintain this status quo for more than 100 years. Elements of this still exist today in much of rural SC. I invite anyone to look that the Donna Smith story as an example.

These problems don't just exist in SC but they are worsened in SC because there are no major cities to offset the statistics. If you look at rural NC for example, the same exact problems exist in much of the East and in some of the West. As the article mentions, SC has tried to address this in modern times by having policies that insure cheap taxes, cheap labor, no business regulations, and cheap land. This was good for the corporations and for a short time workers in these places somewhat. And as can be seen however, that strategy has backfired on the state. Corporate profits don't stay in SC, and now the state is in direct competition with the third world were it is going to lose. (ironically the state's residents often support politicians that encourage these shifts)

There are not any easy answers to this. I would suggest that it has to be a mixture of the people of the state taking on more responsibility for their lives and demanding more from their elected representatives. This would include taking the time to focus on matters that are important and not the ones that divide us. (easier said than done)

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I also think there area a fair number of people in SC who don't value education, the surest way out of poverty, as much as they should. Unfortunately, it appears that a lot of districts seem to be run by people with that attitude. Style of buildings being valued over the quality of the education that goes on inside the walls is one sign of this. There are many others.

Metro was dead on with his last paragraph.

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[*]The stratification of society, almost a caste system (country club, poor white, black) worked to maintain this status quo for more than 100 years. Elements of this still exist today in much of rural SC. I invite anyone to look that the Donna Smith story as an example.

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^Opps. I should have said Susan Smith.

The wikipedia link completely misses the reasons she did what she did. Basically she wanted entrance to the country club set of the town she grew up and lived in and had her eyes on a guy from that social group. She saw her husband (a butcher at the local Winn Dixie) and kids as something keeping her from being a part of that group, and cooked up a plan to murder her children. There is a very long article written about this if you do a search as I am not doing it justice here. It does point out perfectly the "Caste" system that existed in SC for a very long time. (and still does in many places).

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I agree with monsoon on this one. And I'll still say that those who want to wait on the legislature, which at the moment is not only what runs the state but has less proportional power in key leadership roles of the advancing areas of the state than in the last 30 years or so, to really achieve much are wasting time. If you're in small town South Carolina, either get out or build a separate culture of achievement for you, your family and your local community. That often takes twice as much work as its not fun.

And yeah, advancement socially at all costs sounds is one of the main contributing factors in the Susan Smith case, sexual abuse being another. Union County, SC is still old South, old caste. If you're not on the right side of the caste, you're best off really to just get out of there.

I'm from the Upstate of South Carolina, and as a result, have witnessed all my life, about 30 years, nice advancement in that region. SC's Upstate has more in common with suburb communities of Atlanta and Charlotte like Gaston or Gwinnett than it does the rest of the state of South Carolina. I grew up largely ignorant of much south of the I - 385 - I-26 interchange until college and it wasn't until then that I discovered an entirely different South Carolina. It saddened me to see the lack of a culture of achievement that the geographic majority of the state lived in.

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Luckily, the caste system has become less and less a player over the past 30-50 years, but there are still traces of it.

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SC's Upstate has more in common with suburb communities of Atlanta and Charlotte like Gaston or Gwinnett than it does the rest of the state of South Carolina.

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I'm not sure what you mean by this, but I consider Gaston and Gwinnett to be two of the least desirable areas of their particular metro areas (Gaston much more so than Gwinnett). I see the contrasts between the Upstate and portions of the Lowcountry and Pee Dee (almost all of the Pee Dee), but I see more similarities with my own county (which is also technically Upstate, although not really considered so due to Charlotte's dominating influence) and portions of the Midlands (particularly Lexington County).

At any rate, I'm still scratching my head to see how some could so easily dismiss the role that our state government has had in digging us into the hole we are in today. Sure we're making some progress (for which I am thankful), but had our legislature had some foresight in the past and not contributed to the class/race wars (which states like NC have done to a lesser extent), our metro areas could be MUCH further ahead now than they are. The city of Atlanta and its leaders refused to play that game early on, and look how prosperous that area is, even though there are still some negative cultural elements at work.

Anyone familiar with this?

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What I mean is that the Greenville/Anderson/Spartanburg area, due to road and rail and business connections seem to have more in common with the suburbs of Atlanta and Charlotte than they do with places like Florence, Sumter, Aiken or Orangeburg.

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....

At any rate, I'm still scratching my head to see how some could so easily dismiss the role that our state government has had in digging us into the hole we are in today. .....

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Oh boy, this sounds like Alabama all over again. I will say it again, Alabama, South Carolina, and Louisiana (to a lesser extent) have A LOT in common. It's sad to see how fast certain states drive themselves into the ground just to perserve the elite and underprivlege divide.

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Oh boy, this sounds like Alabama all over again. I will say it again, Alabama, South Carolina, and Louisiana (to a lesser extent) have A LOT in common. It's sad to see how fast certain states drive themselves into the ground just to perserve the elite and underprivlege divide.

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^I would definitely exclude Texas from that grouping--not that they don't have their issues, but that the state's largest metros more than offset them.

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^I would definitely exclude Texas from that grouping--not that they don't have their issues, but that the state's largest metros more than offset them.

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^In terms of statistics, the prosperous areas of Texas do mitigate the disadvantages of the more rural areas; just about any quality of life statistic out there would substantiate this. Furthermore, way more people reside in urban areas in Texas (19.8M of 22.8 total population; 87%) than in South Carolina (3.2M of 4.2M total population; 75%).

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^In terms of statistics, the prosperous areas of Texas do mitigate the disadvantages of the more rural areas; just about any quality of life statistic out there would substantiate this.

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The world isn't a big statistic or number. Tell your comment above to the hungry and poor in Texas.

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South Carolina is more evenly balanced than Georgia where it can be argued there are at least two Georgias, one new south and one old south and as poor as any part of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana.

The two Georgias can be divided up Greater Altanta and the rest of the state, urban vs. rural Georgia, North and Middle Georgia vs. South Georgia or you can get three with innercities suffering from white flight, wealthy suburbs, and improverished rural areas or North, Middle and South, roughly with middle and south being the poorest with pockets of growth and wealth scattered.

Many of the couties along I-95 in South Carolina are rural and Florence is the only sizeable city that I-95 touches. Orangeburg and Sumter in close proximity to I-95 and I-20 and I-95 and I-26 respectively. Some of the counties along the Savannah River are also lagging with the exceptions of Aiken, Anderson, and Oconee. Jasper County seems to be turning slowly into a Savannah suburb while Dillon at the North Carolina borders Robeson, one of North Carolinas poorest-though relatively populated. I-95 in North Carloina only come close to Fayetteville with Roanoke Rapids and Lumberton being the only other sizeable cities in NC, and these are the slowest growing, poorest counties in NC, the exception being Johnston which is growing as a suburb to Raleigh.

In a way I think South Carolina being between Georgia and North Carolina gets a lot of positives and negatives of the two larger states and is treated like the "New Jersey of the South". It's not as bad as many make it out to be, but its not as respected or in the spotlight the Geogia and NC are, much like comparing NJ to New York and Pennsylvania. Though definitely large land wise, and a milder climite, the geography of SC even compares to NJ, coast, Piedmont and low Appalachian foothills.

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This is a red herring. This thread is based on statistics and numbers. If you want to discuss the plight of the hungry and poor in Texas and elsewhere, then start a thread for it; this isn't it.

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Read the first post in this thread and the articles linked to see the statistics. Otherwise, stop denying people the same means you use to prove your own arguments (or ask of other people--e.g., the annexation thread).

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Read the first post in this thread and the articles linked to see the statistics. Otherwise, stop denying people the same means you use to prove your own arguments (or ask of other people--e.g., the annexation thread).

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