I just wrapped up the last episode of the new hit series “1883” and can’t stop thinking about how there’s really nothing new under the sun. Rural economic incentives have long served to entice people to live and work in the middle of nowhere. And, personally, I believe the opportunity for growth and independence continue to outweigh the risks.
Risk Vs. Reward
One of the most significant and enduring economic incentives in the westward expansion of the United States was The Homestead Act of 1862. It allowed a “fair chance” of ownership to anyone (man or woman) who applied.
Following the Civil War the Act gave immigrants and settlers new technology along with 160 acres land allowing the more challenging environments of the Great Plains to become subdued… as long as you stuck it out for 5 years.
While the theatrics and politics of the series (and the Homestead Act) can be debated what I loved most about the story was that offered a rare female perspective. Not by a prim and proper kind of character but one who wildly took great risks.
“The Plains are for vagabonds, wanderers, and cowboys. Their home is a saddle. The sky is their roof. The ground is their bed. What they lack in material comfort is regained in the knowledge that they are always home. To them the journey is the destination. Should they find gold at the end of the rainbow, they would leave it there and seek another, choosing freedom over the burden of the pot… I only dream of the journey. That is all. No gold for me. Just the rainbow.”From the film 1883
This young woman grew to see opportunity for what it was and understand it may have absolutely no return on investment, rather, the risk was the reward. Even though we all know it takes an actual paycheck to put food on the the table it’s this spirit that motivates the vision of rural revival.
History As Our Guide
Today, our community is seeing a surge in growth through economic incentives for development, predominantly by women returning to their roots and taking risks. I credit local and state tax credits and programs as a huge support to fulfilling my personal dreams at The Territory Ballroom.
Meanwhile, as a marketer myself, I wonder if legislature like the Homestead Act of 1862 was advertised to tempt women to brave the wild and help tame the frontier.
Will rural communities in Kansas once again see the surge of progress that history recorded so long ago? With a keen understanding of collaboration instead of competition, as well as economic incentives like KSHB 2623 promoting remote work and KSHB 2569 increasing tax credits, we just might.
So, if you’re on the fence about whether or not to step into a remote work situation or move “back home” I can say confidently opportunity and bravery still exist here. Perhaps history is truly in the making in the age-old vein of risk taking and dream making for all who so choose.