Friday, October 19, 2012

Oilfield Trash And Flash Migration

Migration is mental. You go where you know. Others are looking for a yet-to-be-discovered boom town. We move like a herd of cattle. The stampede to North Dakota:

For the women playing volleyball at the Raymond Family Center recreation facility, concerns about the speed of change are coupled with a desire to be open to newcomers. “Last year was crazy”, says Cheryl Powers, an oilrig supervisor. “When [CNBC television host] Jim Cramer told everyone to come here, people just showed up with nothing but backpacks.” ...

... The history of the American frontier is the transformation of nowhere to somewhere. “He must abandon the old ideal and the old gods,” wrote Jack London about the Klondike gold rush in the late 1890s. Change is often violent, but soon becomes the norm. In Williston, long-time residents are in shock at the pace of change but few wish the oil was put back in the well.

At the recreation centre, Ms Powers explains that she was called “oilfield trash” when she arrived here during the previous boom. “I understand the concern. But eventually oilfield trash becomes your neighbour.”

Emphasis added. I'm fascinated with leaping before looking migration. I've been that person tumbling into an unfamiliar place with just backpack. My only rationale was buzz, word of mouth relocation. That was Austin two decades ago. It was Portland over the last decade. For the next 10-years, Pittsburgh?

In every boom town, there is a xenophobic backlash.Oilfield trash. Californicator. Flatlander. Carpetbagger. Hillbilly. Okie. Buckeye. Vagrant. Domestic migration is a story of overcoming intolerance. We go where the natives hate us. The Creative Class in particular seems to move to neighborhoods where they are least welcome. As for the cities rolling out the red carpet for this favored demographic (e.g. Memphis), they continue begging in vain. Tolerance is not a talent attraction strategy.

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