Tilting at windmills economically dead
Yet another opinion in the Progress last week — another complaint about solar farms being built in our area and their effects on property values. Quite many of our “privileged class” citizens have expressed their dismay over how their neighbors, perhaps local farmers, have used tax incentives to install solar arrays on their marginal or useless plots of property with no regard for the resale values of wealthy, usually retired transplants’ ostentatious homes. What comes to mind when I read these opinions is “rich people’s problems.”
It’s clear that the entitled class in our area has no concept of how they’ve driven up property values and land taxes for all of us or that many of the working class land-owners in our county may merely be trying to hang onto land that has been in their family for generations. These thoughts simply have no place in their narrative. One could conceivably call out these land owners for not selling out to developers before land values crashed, in 2008, never considering that it was over-development that helped crash over-inflated property values in the first place. But God forbid they try and tell you what you can and can’t do with your property. Meanwhile, there’s a lot of previously developed but unsold property in Clay County. I doubt solar farms had much to do with that.
I’ve written here in the past about the benefits and liabilities of connecting these solar arrays to our local grid. It’s a different discussion and it’s clear many folks feel entitled to push their environmental impacts somewhere else, onto someone they don’t have to be accountable to, including future generations, but it occurs to me that whatever inevitable clash of classes was previously masked by better economic times is surfacing in our area. This should be interesting to watch going forward, this dance of musical chairs, as a full spectrum of citizens try to hold onto what they perceive as their wealth and privilege while their comfortable narratives become challenged in many ways.
Those of you who think America’s growth-based, debt-fueled, highly-consumptive way of doing things can continue much longer are either deluding yourselves or aren’t paying full attention to global trends.