​2018 Spring Campus Book Discussion: Hillbilly Elegy

Chapter 4

In this chapter, Vance explores the many reasons for the slow death of his community.   He talks about the town’s demise over time that was a result of globalization, which results in a decline in property values,  lack of educational attainment, and growth in segregation, poverty and crime.  He ends the chapter by attributing the lack of people getting ahead to their own “laziness" (57).  At the same time, he credits his saving grace to his grandparents who were determined that he would not become a product of his environment and did everything in their power to ensure that Vance was able to create the life he wanted. 

Community Decay

Perils of Globalization When Factories Close and Towns Struggle
This article explores the costs of globalization for today’s workers. The article demonstrates that when factories move out of neighborhoods, communities struggle. While globalization increases trade, potentially lowers prices, and provides a greater variety of products, it does not offset the decrease in work for those who have lost their jobs when businesses move overseas. Most factory workers who lose their jobs to globalization often struggle to find work that fits their skill set. Loss of jobs within communities often force younger generations to move out for better opportunities. And even though the loss of factory work for blue collar workers have inspired many to go to community college to learn a new trade, the new skills set does not always translate into employment. This article demonstrates the ramifications of globalization and the huge impact it has on the lives of those dependent on jobs for their economic survival. It certainly discounts "laziness" as a reason for unemployment and explains hopelessness among the working poor.

Food for Thought

To what extent are we products of our environment?  How much of who we are is based on where we are from?

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