Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Romantic Roadblocks

Lance Armstrong decided to ride across Iowa last summer, generating some positive publicity for another region not well understood by the rest of the United States:

T.J. Juskiewicz, director of RAGBRAI, said having an athlete such as Armstrong decide to join the annual bike ride is great for the state.

"Obviously it's tremendous [that Armstrong wants to ride]," Juskiewicz said. "He wants to come join us this summer, and I couldn't think of a better person to come join us.

"He is so well-respected in the cycling world and we welcome him with open arms and I'm sure he'll have a great time with us in Iowa."

Juskiewicz said Armstrong also respects the people of Iowa, one of the reasons he is riding in RAGBRAI.

"He pointed out that one of the reasons he decided to come here is because of the people and because of the communities," Juskiewicz said.

Andrew Bennett, senior in physics and RAGBRAI participant, said Armstrong's decision to ride could help Iowa become recognized nationally.

"After all that Armstrong has done, people love to watch him," Bennett said. "RAGBRAI is already a big event in Iowa - maybe this will get the ride more national attention."

Local word has it that Armstrong enjoyed his ride so much that he mentioned that he intended to move to Iowa. You would be forgiven for missing this public relations coup for the state, but the strong endorsement ignited a debate among Iowegians. Would Armstrong start a rush to the state and destroy everything?

Iowa should be so lucky. What Iowa is selling to the rest of the world would not likely survive a large influx of newcomers. Iowa would cease to be Iowa. This is another example of the development paradox. What assets your region has to attract human capital will likely be lost as more immigrants arrive. Today's hot place to live will soon be overrun with people looking for a piece of the good life.

There are many affluent Iowegians happy with the status quo. They would love their kids to stick around, but they are mainly interested in preserving their bit of heaven. Armstrong should stay in France.

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