by Day Brown
THERE WON’T be a new Rome. The powers that be don’t need one anymore. Google is trying to develop a new faster network that will enable the power elites to live on the beach in Hawaii, each with their own Eagle’s Nest during the ski season, or whatever other scenic setting they want for their condos — while their broadband lets them manage their asset base.
Dubai is already a white elephant. The cities, like in Bladerunner, will become de facto concentration camps for the less profitable portions of the population.
A strip “city” has emerged along I-540 from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville to the Missouri border. It looks like any other urban beltway; industrial zones, malls, apartment blocks, and residential housing. But it’s not. There is no urban core. No urban slums. No urban traffic jams. No urban crime. This obscure part of the Western Ozarks is receiving a net immigration of high tech staff from Silicon Valley, RTP, Austin, even Bangalore because the rural land just 15 miles away still goes for $1000/acre.
Turns out engineers and programmers will accept lower — i.e., average — global income levels, but live just as comfortably in the same size home that costs 60 per cent. less and is built in the Ozark mountain woods, where the hunting and fishing are superb.
Dillard’s, the upscale family-owned department store in Little Rock, just built a new store in Rogers, Arkansas, pop. 4,000. Why Rogers? It’s just west of Beaver Lake with so much good fishing and family boating — and just across I-540 from Bentonville, where the global headquarters for Wal-Mart is. The people who run Wal-Mart work in Bentonville, but they sleep and shop in Rogers.
The latest unemployment rate posted there is still at five per cent. Big business is moving: out of town, but not out of the country. Rural families (read: First World families) are more stable, and this lowers staff turnover and raises profits.
There was a similar kind of dispersal as Rome wound down and the elites got the Hell outta Dodge to ‘invest’ in rural Christian communities where we later see them as Medieval warlords and knights.