02 Dec 2011

Deploring Productivity

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North Dakota Oil Camp

Walter Russell Mead
catches the New York Times moaning and groaning about the untidiness and imperfection, the awful messiness of productivity, wealth production, and new sources of prosperity.

The New York Times editorial page is doing its level best to kill any chance of American recovery and prosperity by crusading against anything anywhere that might help our energy woes, but sometimes its news pages inadvertently remind us that prosperity and energy development are closely connected.

This story on the “woes” of the midwestern oil boom shows how towns are throwing up housing for an influx of workers drawn by the breakneck development of new energy resources. In places the story exemplifies the whiny perfectionism so characteristic of millennial liberalism: everything has its down side and if we look hard enough we are sure to find it. (A Times story on Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana would not be complete without a reference to the economic plight of unemployed winemakers.) So a part of the country that hasn’t seen opportunity in decades is suddenly bursting with growth and new jobs, and the Times frets that conditions in the temporary housing are poor. Mourns the Times:

    But now, even as the housing shortage worsens, towns like this one are denying new applications for the camps. In many places they have come to embody the danger of growing too big too fast, cluttering formerly idyllic vistas, straining utilities, overburdening emergency services and aggravating relatively novel problems like traffic jams, long lines and higher crime.

Via Meadia advice: get over it. This is what economic growth looks like. It is sudden, disruptive, often inconvenient. It messes with the status quo. New stuff gets built and not all of it looks like the Cloisters. All kinds of rough and hungry men flock to it; they sometimes misbehave. They spit on the ground, say unpleasant things about women, and generally fail to meet the behavioral standards of the Upper West Side.

Decline is so much more decorous.

3 Feedbacks on "Deploring Productivity"

Lazarus Long

In 2006 the Mrs. and I took a cross-country trip with our truck and camper trailer. A Friday in June found us in Williston, ND. We parked the camper and went to town for dinner. At that time we had not heard of the Baaken deposit. The restaurant parking lot gave us a hint. Trucks, work trucks, of all descriptions. It looked Boom Town! It was a lively dinner. Our fellow diners were freshly cleaned but you could tell it was a Friday after a hard week. It was lively but they were gentlemen all.

The RV park were we stayed was one-third or better filled with large trailers or 5th wheels that belonged to these knights of the petroleum fields. At about 5 0r 5:30 the next morning you cold hear the diesel engines start up as these guys headed off to work on Saturday. For half an hour there was a constant throb of welding rigs and other assorted working trucks as they headed off to the field. Then it was quiet. This same scene was replicated through Montana and Wyoming.

Those NYT people are wussies.

Matthew Walker

The NYT doesn’t mind the disruption and bad behavior in Zuccotti Park, though, do they?

It’s not the mess; it’s “who? whom?” as always.


The sort of people who currently run the NY Times would surely have been critical of all the “ruffians” who settled the Western US in the 19th century. Why can’t everyone learn to live in civilized places like New York?


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