The South did not get to be the nation's economic problem No. 1 as a result of any deficiency in human or natural resources. It has the stuff--material and human--from which prosperity is made. The South has produced abundantly, but the bulk of its produce has been siphoned off by a few, leaving little or nothing for the many who produced it. Hence the problem of the South.
Prior to the Civil War, the despoilers of the South were the small class of slave-driving large planters. Since the Civil War, the parasites who have enriched themselves beyond measure through the impoverishment of the South's people are predominantly corporate interests, the main body of them being situated outside the South, with tentacles sucking at the region through Southern "representatives." Then, too, the South is not without its indigenous exploiters.
And so the story of the South, like the story of most other regions, is the old, old story, not yet ended, of the people's struggle for the right to enjoy the riches of their land and the fruits of their labor.
In common with the rest of America, the South was largely settled by folk who came to the brave New World in search of freedom. But while most of them found religious and political freedom in appreciable measure, their economic opportunities have been relentlessly circumscribed by a transplanted system of exploitation quite as oppressive as the counterpart left behind in the Old 'World.