By Hunter Wallace
The following excerpt comes from The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Agriculture & Industry:
“When the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) was created in 1935, less than 4 percent of farms in the southern states had electricity. Without it, many of the comforts of modern life were unavailable, and for that reason the South enthusiastically welcomed the REA. In 1936, when Congress gave the REA statue authority, southern congressmen were among the agency’s most ardent supporters. The Southern Policy Association, a group of southern congressmen eager to promote southern development, endorsed the REA bill and regarded electrification as an important step in that direction.
As the REA began operation, southern farmers quickly established electric cooperatives, and the percentage of farms with service slowly grew. By 1941 the national average had climbed to 30 percent, and, although the southern percentage was lower, the South moved steadily ahead. At the end of World War II, the REA started a massive construction program to finish the job, and by 1955 virtually 90 percent of the South’s farmers had electrical service. Although the effects of electrification were evident nationwide, they had the most dramatic impact in the South, owing probably to the region’s higher number of substandard homes when the REA started.
By providing running water and indoor toilets, the REA finally helped bring an end to the hookworm that had ravaged the south for over a century …”
According to free-market theorists, the entrepreneur should have responded, but … sigh.
Anyway, next time libertarians tell you the state has never accomplished anything remind them of the TVA, mass literacy, splitting the atom, NASA putting a man on the moon, eradicating the boll weevil, ending malaria, polio and hookworms, ending sharecropping and child labor, and bringing electricity to the rural South.