The Amish, without their electricity, cars, and television appear to be a static culture, never changing. This is just an illusion. The Amish are a self-motivated culture which is, through market forces and other means, continually interacting with the enormously tempting culture of America. The Amish have not only survived as a gemeinschaft type of society, but has grown and flourished while surrounded by a culture that would seem to be so detrimental to its basic ideals. The Amish, through population growth, resistance to outside culture, compromise, and a strong religious values have managed to hold off an outside culture that waits to enclose them.
The Amish, have largely remained an agricultural society. Amish farms tend to resemble most family farms. They are small and self-sufficient, made to meet the needs of the family. Unlike most farmers who have hired help, the Amish can rely on their children and large families for help on the farm. Recently, however, economic necessities and land prices have forced a growing proportion of younger Amish off the farm and into other business ventures. The most common of these are carpentry, handcrafts, blacksmithing, dry goods, etc. In Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, loss of farm land to development, as well as a large population increases of both Amish and outsiders, have crowded the remaining farms.
Amish, however, do not completely restrict change or social interaction with the outside world. They also have to compromise with the outside world to survive. Most of these compromises are limited to farming and have economic roots such as competing with non-Amish farms that are necessary to insuring Amish survival. Amish tend to use tractors without rubber tires as well as using the tractor instead of draft horses in the field. The New Order Amish use of tractors in the field provides them with the competitive edge they need to remain in the agricultural business. Some Old and New order Amish have invented ways to...
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