There seems to be a bit of an oddity in that all i’ve heard is that people are moving less today.
And cities being increasingly concentrated. Unless the implication is that this is from growth in the cities is coming from within the city and outside the country, and the rural areas’ populations are declining from various factors.
One thing that is definitely different from the past is the spread of consumer facing chains. We literally would drive for two hours to go to Olive Garden for dinner as kids, one way. Because Olive Garden! Those were the days of mail order catalogs, Cabella’s and Sears (still hanging on) because in order to have anything you had to be a big city. Just to buy elementary school clothes for a new year would require a two day trip “to the city”.
Now almost every medium sized city is packed with strip malls and shops selling truckloads of the most generic Americana. Sure, they don’t have culture… but they do have all the TVs, generic clothes, and generic goods that you need (if not exactly want). Maybe choosing between Applebees, Chili’s, Buffalo Wild Wings or Cracker Barrel is its own sort of hell, but it isn’t hell because of a lack of choice.
Also, as far as snow goes. Snow doesn’t suck. Snow that packs and becomes ice for four months until it thaws sucks. But!
and they would be homeless because there would be no place for them to live. Remember the stories about the people at McDonalds making $25 an hour because they couldn’t find anyone willing to do the work for less, during the oil boom in South Dakota a few years ago. Nobody there could find regular housing either.
…And the majority, who also account for the vast bulk of the economy, will for some strange reason not rebel. Instead, most of the population will unquestioningly cede more and more power to the remote, poorer, isolated hinterlands from now until forever.
Does crossing your fingers and hoping for that sound like a practical solution over the long haul?
We already tried that, though. We don’t think about it much, but we tried it all during the 20th century. Huge sums spent on rural electrification and rural phone systems. Massive amounts on highway networks, with per-capita spending being far higher on rural areas than urban. Immense agriculture subsidies. And then finally we invented the Internet, so that whole groups of people could, if they wanted, do their jobs living in a small town or city* somewhere where crime is low, land is cheap, and there’s nothing around but miles and miles of miles and miles.
And here’s what we’ve learned from all that: most people don’t want miles and miles of miles and miles. (A few do - like my sister, for example - but on net they’re the exception.) Most people want the option of more choices and more opportunities and more amenities and most importantly more people, even if it means high prices and traffic and all the headaches of urban life. So our transformation from a rural country into an urban one (which has been happening, at one speed or another, since this republic was founded) continues.
*Not every small town or city, obviously; many don’t have good enough Internet access. But you might have expected tech companies to flee expensive areas to, say, the Champaign/Urbanas of the country - good Internet and cheap real estate, what more does a startup need? Yet for the most part that hasn’t happened, because none of the talent those tech companies need to hire want to live in Champaign/Urbana - including the people who went to school there. (For those not up on their midwestern small cities, Champaign/Urbana is the home of the University of Illinois.)
Yep, working remotely can actually lead to increased urbanization - if people don’t have to commute, they can just hang out in the city center and enjoy its amenities using the money they save on commuting. True, they won’t have a scenic view of a mountain (or a cornfield, which is what you get in most of actual rural America,) but there will be 50 places to order lunch from that will deliver straight to their door.
“I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and Constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.” - Thomas Jefferson
Sure, but the idea of moving to less populace states isn’t some sort of insane idea.
If anything staying in places like LA is crazier. It’s a massive nation and there is no real good reason to live on the coasts any more. Most people aren’t working on the docks or anything. Functionally there isn’t any difference between having an apartment in LA or an apartment in someplace else. Except that LA costs a shitload more. And literally bursts into flame on a regular basis.
I’m not saying LA could dump a hundred thousand people in Cheyenne overnight, but over the course of years it could easily do so. Having a house built there isn’t all that expensive. To an extent we’ve already seen it with places like Boise, Colorado Springs and SLC. Heck Grand Rapids, Wyoming is one of the fastest growing cities.
As more companies shift to more work-at-home/telecommuting it makes more and more sense to not live on the coasts in big cities.
Cheyenne? Why in God’s name would anyone want to live in Cheyenne? That place is awful. In fact 90% of Wyoming is garbage, windswept scrubland, and the other 10% is Jackson, Grand Tetons and Yellowstone… Not exactly cheap areas to live.
A medium sized city, such as the one I live in (population 280k or so), you got a lot more options than Applebee’s/Chili’s/chain stores.
I only ever eat those places when I get it for free, or if I’m traveling to a tourney and don’t know what’s around or there’s no other choice (and even then I’d choose Waffle House or try something shady)
Seriously though, if the political problem isn’t solved by the medium sized states shifting blue, we’re going to see a Calexit, and I don’t see American soldiers fighting to keep California in the union. I do think we’ll see a shift and things solve themselves eventually, though it’s going to be a slow process. A lot depends on the next decade and whether folks learned their lesson about Republicans.
I agree that it would be possible to swamp some red states by having progressives move there in numbers sufficient to overcome the votes of the current residents. On the other hand, this is almost exactly the opposite of what’s needed for long-term environmental stability. What’s needed for that is the concentration of people in urban centers with high-rise residential and clean, affordable public transit. The sustainable solution looks a lot more like NY than LA, and Wyoming isn’t even in the picture. So, you know, that’s a problem.
I think you’re being a little sanguine here. Whites will represent a plurality far into the future, and white privilege will remain the defining principal of the Republican party, so it will be easy to remain united. The Democrats will remain a coalition, always at risk of a disaffected constituency peeling off.
I’m far less concerned about racial politics (I’m concerned about racial issues, just not as much in connection with politics). Our last president was black. I do not see Republicans passing white people get free cars legislation. I think the biggest issue with regard to Republicans and racial issues is that they just like to elect white people. But i’m convinced that is eroding over time, in the same way it has for gays, etc., as evidenced by decreasing opposition to gay marriage, and as evidenced by our President from 2008-2016, etc. Outside of alarmists who think every Republican is a 80 year old white male who hates gays, women, and people of color, it’s clear which direction the entire country (including Republicans) is shifting on these things. Here is where I think the various Internet bubbles make people believe that things are worse than they are. Police violence, etc. are real issues, but I do not know they are going to be solved by Democrat versus Republican. They are less political, and more cultural and social.
I am far more concerned about Republican viewpoints in environmentalism and economic disparities (including in healthcare). Those are areas where I really do believe the current Republican policy is actively hostile to the country. Paul Ryan isn’t running around saying, “We should not hire black people.” He is actively, expressly running around saying we should give more money to the rich and take things away from the poor.