Monday, 25 October 2004

Inclusion and exclusion in the country

Oh it's like an animal farm
That's the rural charm
In the country - Blur, "Country House"
John Lanchester has a good piece in the Guardian on false idealisations of the countryside in England. He's a novelist, but he's got the essential idea of urban economics right:
After all, one of the most robust indicators of how satisfactory a place is to live is whether or not people want to go and live there.
Interesting fact: the French countryside is losing people, the English countryside gaining. And I really liked the following observations:
It's just that it seems to me to be a fact of modern countryside life that community, in this hearth-hallowed, warm-glow sense, doesn't exist... when they mourn the loss of a sense of community, they are asking us to mourn something which died a long time ago if, indeed, it ever existed.
The thing about "community" is that it can be an exclusive term, not just an inclusive one. By definition, if some people are inside your community, the rest must be outside.




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