Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

October 1995


Published in Great Plains Research 5:2 (Fall 1995). Copyright © 1995 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


The purpose of David L. Barkley's edited work is to examine critically the policy and practice of rural economic development in the United States during the last quarter century. To that end Barkley has brought together leading economists, regional scientists, and several sociologists to review and evaluate the current status of rural economic development.

Many of the contributors to the volume, especially Professors Lobao and Summers, allude to the significance of a globalized economy to development in non-metropolitan areas of the country. The volume shows, to paraphrase Lobao, that strategies focusing on recapitalizing rural communities do not work everywhere or for every social group. Economic development has become increasingly ephemeral, and old strategies provide only limited guidance for what may work in the future (p. x). Lobao goes on to say that the topic might be better framed in terms of international studies of change. Unfortunately, few of her fellow contributors take the profound implications of her suggestion into account.