Time to Move to the Burbs and Flyover Country

Posted: May 30, 2020 in Random Musing
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Industry will decentralize. There is no city that would be rebuilt as it is were it destroyed, which fact is in itself a confession of our real estimate of our cities. The city had a place to fill, a work to do. Doubtless the country places would not have approximated their livableness had it not been for the cities. By crowding together, men have learned some secrets. They would never have learned them alone in the country. Sanitation, lighting, social organization, all these are products of men’s experience in the city. But also every social ailment from which we today suffer originated and centers in the big cities. You will find the smaller communities living along in unison with the season, having neither extreme poverty nor wealth–none of the violent plagues of upheave and unrest which afflict our great populations. There is something about a city of a million people which is untamed and threatening. Thirty miles away, happy and contented villages read of the ravings of the city! A great city is really a helpless mass. Everything it uses is carried to it. Stop transport and the city stops. It lives off the shelves of stores. The shelves produce nothing. The city cannot feed, clothe, warm, or house itself. City conditions of work and living are so artificial that instincts sometimes rebel against their unnaturalness.

And finally, the overhead expense of living or doing business in the great cities is becoming so large as to be unbearable. It places so great a tax upon life that there is no surplus over to live on. The politicians have found it easy to borrow money and they have borrowed to the limit. Within the last decade the expense of running every city in the country has tremendously increased. A good part of that expense is for interest upon money borrowed; the money has gone either into non-productive brick, stone, and mortar, or into necessities of life, such as water supplies and sewage systems at far above a reasonable cost. The cost of maintaining these works, the cost of keeping in order great masses of people and traffic is greater than the advantages derived from community life. The modern city has been prodigal, it is to-day bankrupt, and tomorrow it will cease to be.

-Henry Ford, Why be Poor? 1922

I found this quote in a book several years ago, and it’s always stuck with me. It’s as true today as it was true in 1922.

We are living in fascinating times and what started in Minneapolis this week has been incredible to see unfold.

They’re burning a US city to the ground and economic gravity still hasn’t set in from the last couple of months.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, where you live matters.

For years we’ve been lectured on the sophistication of big cities. As if stacking what is a highly evolved animal in small boxes called condos and apartments would beget some grand awareness of the world. It’s unnatural.

Guess what cities aren’t burning themselves to the ground right now? Guess what cities didn’t lock their citizens up in their homes like they were a bunch of serfs?

Sorry, most inner cities, especially those in blue states, are highly charged powder kegs waiting to go off. And this week we saw a terrible cop in Minneapolis strike the match there.

I wonder over the coming months and years if you may begin to see a rebirth of less densely populated America. I struggle to see how any sane person who wants to raise a child would stay in a Hell hole like Minneapolis.

The technologies exist to see a resurgence of the exurbs as viable alternatives. Manufacturing technology exists to see micro factories spring up all over the nation. The cost of living is far more economical. It’s time to separate ourselves from big city America.

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