RURAL DEPOPULATION RESULTS FROM RURAL DECAPITALIZATION

There is a widespread realization that rural communities and small towns are disappearing in Canada.

Our analysis is that many people do want to live in rural areas but are frustrated by doing so due to dwindling social services or simply do to their inability to find stable employment opportunities. Those who wish to start a business are hampered by lack of funding in sectors other than farming or large agricultural associated service business.

Hence, Rural Canada has become saddled with the ‘one horse industry’ syndrome. This artificial condition that plagues many mining and forestry towns has now become a general characteristic of agricultural communities too. In rural Canada, this artificial malaise has forced many would-be rural residents ‘wannabes’ to accept the fact that they are being forced to live their lives outside of rural communities and in or near large urban zones. This artificial depopulation pressure leads to a narrowing of the social environment and finally to the disappearance of rural services and institutions.

The reason, in Rural Canada, for the rise of the industrial monoculture and the trend toward rural depopulation, which we all observe, is well understood and documented. In a nutshell, the reason for the observed rural degeneration and growing austerity is that there is a scarcity of capital resources available in rural areas. This is also becoming more evident in our towns and our small cities. Nearly all available capital in our rural communities is being funnelled by our large Banks and Credit Unions into commercial real estate, mortgages, the stock market or other speculative markets.

 The six BIG Banks and the four BIG Credit Unions together with all rural commercial financial institutions, using good business practice. have developed business models which work to siphon all available capital out of Rural Canada. What capital flows back into rural communities is a mere trickle when compared to the amount leaving daily to be invested in Toronto, New York or London.

In response, the Federal Government, sixty years ago, started to establish a specialty near banking institutions such as Farm Credit and Fisheries Credit. Whereas, Farm Credit, successfully infusing a relatively small flow of capital back into the rural farming sector to aid in financing rural business has itself further acerbated the general trend toward dying communities. Government agencies and policies added further pressure on small family farms to expand, accept larger debt loads, and euphemistically broaden general horizons.

 Large banks and Credit Unions, including government banks, like to work with large businesses, a natural tendency of all businesses. This trend, aided by the rise of the computer and driven by the digital internet, has resulted in a rush toward centralization in government and banking. It is interesting to note that this move to centralization has resulted in less democracy in rural Canada. Rural Canadians continue to lose influence over more of their institutions.  Where now more decisions that affect their daily lives are being made externally to Rural Canada, many feel disenfranchised as these decisions mainly serve the needs of an increasingly non-rural remote populace.

First in Series:     

Please contact me, Alastair Fraser, at publicbankcanada@gmail.com