I see an association with rural towns in the ’70s. When small farms were failing by the thousands due to ag policies of ‘get big or get out’, the towns were failing as well (and their barbers) as one big farm doesn’t employ as many people who needed supplies (and haircuts). Government doesn’t like to deal with thousands of contact points, so they created blanket subsidies to ‘help’ farmers, which ended up just keeping prices low for food processing corporations and keeping small farmers living from bank loan to bank loan on ‘guaranteed’ incomes. They should have subsidized small canneries and butcher shops so every rural kid could make a living with a few acres or animals.
The core of any community is the first level above the consumers: the skilled people who coalesce the value created by individuals into a civil system of service to those people and their places. Now that the millions of people around white america have been homogenized into McDonald’s, Cost Cutters, WalMart and (to them) the elite Target stores, the last vestige of what America means lies in the ‘left behind’ places that didn’t get gentrified or homogenized. Those places where there isn’t enough money for a corporate offering but there’s still people able to subsist on their own wiles outside a System of systems.