"...Wealth can be measured in many ways, not all of them obvious. Life is tightly organized around family and friends and neighbors, one reason the towns are small and run down, they aren't the centers of anything except themselves. Hill folk take care to be on good terms with each other, even tertiary relationships are valued and well maintained. Communities are stable over long periods of time because, while there's more personal latitude than elsewhere, there's also an understanding of orderliness that isn't violated without consequence."
"Appalachians don't have the exaggerated need to avoid failure so typical of their observers, they live their lives first hand as it were and learn from their missteps, after all, success without failure can only end in delusion and disaster. The larger sense of Appalachian self reliance means to live from within oneself. It's assumed a person ought form his own opinions and rely on his own judgments. Failure to do so marks a person as mushy and untrustworthy. Self reliance is self-correcting, responsibility for failure and credit for success is personal and directly attributable."
And from one of my earlier posts:
The (resilient) structure is able to recruit alternate load paths and spill load from the overloaded member to the alternate paths.
Remus is a masterful writer and usually manages to weave 3 or 4 good story lines into one post. Putting words into Remus's mouth, Appalachia is a resilient society in part because people mind their own business as best they can. And when business grows to be more than they can handle they smoothly "spill" first to family, then to friends and then to "tertiary relationships."
These relationships are not colorless contacts in their gmail account. These relationships are nourished with time, care and just plain paying attention. Sometimes it is just standing in the road and talking to Danny Hector when he has a few minutes between pickup jobs and asking if he is missing a logging chain like the one you found beside the road. Nothing earthshaking. Just neighborly solicitude.
Mennonite and Amish tradition
The Mennonite and Amish tradition of charity is that the giver should know the person who receives the charity. Among the benefits is that the recipient stays a human being. Also, it is tougher to flimflam the giver when they hand deliver a meal.
The Appalachian tradition is similar. You might be able to game one or two people. You might be able to fool your mama forever. But you are not going to be able to fool the community.
So, how is that different from the Federal model?
If two people wrote a check against my bank account for $240,000 without my permission they would likely not be able to cash that check and they would likely go to jail.
Those same two people make a baby and the dad walks away....society gets stuck with cashing that $240,000 check and those two people are free to continue to write those checks.
The resilient structure presupposes a progressive spilling of load. Excessive coupling of elements takes back to the truss system where every crystal of the truss elements are loaded to the maximum allowable...and then beyond.
It becomes inevitable because, as Remus points out, "Self reliance is self-correcting, responsibility for failure and credit for success is personal and directly attributable." Eliminating self reliance and responsibility destroys the feedback mechanism that keeps the system stable.