Friday, April 24, 2009

Today's Amish Problems

LA Times has a story on the Amish in Indiana--many are off the farm due to high land prices and high population, pushing them into the system. Now some are laid off, and collecting unemployment.
The Amish have adapted to economic crises before. During the Depression, some men were permitted to register for driver's licenses, according to research by Nolt. That special exemption is less likely to happen this time, the professor said, because the Amish have come to view the horse and buggy as core parts of their identity.

This recession is especially brutal because the Amish factory workers became accustomed to earning annual salaries of $60,000 to $100,000, which provided for mortgages and shopping trips. A fiberglass basketball hoop hangs above a buggy in one driveway. The Wal-Mart has a hitching post. And some Amish men are as attached to their cellphones as their beards.
Prof. Kraybill has observed there's a tension between someone being the leader of an enterprise and boss of a number of employees and the self-effacement that's expected of Amish. Will be interesting to see how this works out over the years.

No comments: