I think I may have seen this NY Times story earlier but did not post it/link it. But after seeing some of the quotes in this story (same link) the NY Times is absolutely nuts, and completely missing a bigger story. And if anyone should see the bigger story, it should be the NY Times.
The writer says the boom is not fair. Well, duh.
The writer notes that some folks in North Dakota are now able to afford a new automobile for the first time in their lives because of royalties (or a good-paying job); and some folks are taking a vacation for the first time in their lives because of royalties (or a good-paying job); but some folks are not benefiting from the boom.
Read the story closely. Then try to square this story with the fact that the NY Times is going broke, and has lost 80 percent of its share price in the stock market. It's not difficult to do. How can one square the rest of their journalistic acumen (of lack thereof) with their spin on this story, and missing the bigger story?
In case the link is broken, here are some of the actual NY Times' quotes:
As with any major boom — from real estate to tech stocks to natural resources — the sudden split between the winners and the witnesses has been painful. But this is happening in a small town, where proximity and familiarity make a sudden reordering all the more difficult.
“It’s not all good,” said Leslie Anderson, who is among the lucky locals who sometimes make more from a single month of oil payments than he used to earn in a year of farming. “There are lots of families fighting that got along before.” …
Residents say a culture of modest living means they don’t know for sure which of their neighbors are making money off oil, though they have suspicions.
“I’m seeing people that have never owned a new vehicle in their life driving a new car,” said Wade Enget, a local lawyer, who estimated that about half the residents are receiving oil money. “People who never took a day off are going on vacation.”Anyone upset over the fact that a neighbor bought a new vehicle for the first time in his/her life, or anyone upset over the fact that a neighbor can take a vacation for the first time in his/her life, that "anyone" needs to get a life. A new car, a vacation! Even without royalties, anyone already with a place to live in the Bakken, can find an incredibly well-paying job. And a well-paying job will result in a new car or a vacation if that is what one desires.
Housing is the problem; getting a job in North Dakota is not.
I am thrilled for any North Dakota farmer who becomes a millionaire. Folks need to do a bit of reading; they can start with Plains Folks: North Dakota's Ethnic History. It has not been an easy road for these farmers or their grandparents. The book can be bought at Amazon.com or at Books on Broadway in Williston. (Some years ago I read out load Giants in the Earth to a very close friend; I was unable to get through the last chapter without tearing up. I read the book to her to provide some background to where I came from. She was from the East Coast; our backgrounds were very different. But I digress.)
By the way, if Leslie Anderson is concerned, he can donate eleven months' of royalties to those who need it. I don't have a lot of time for folks who are "concerned" but are rich beyond their dreams and don't know how to help.
If it's a small community, all they have to do is set up a co-op and share. That was the history of those who came to North Dakota a hundred years ago. (Read "Langer and the NPL" at this site.) My hunch is that in a community of 50 people, or in a community of ten families, three or five "lucky ones" could make life very, very nice for everyone in that small community. They could set up a trust fund for the community of 50.
I own no mineral rights but if I became an overnight millionaire by being "one of the lucky ones," I would make it right with my "small community." At this level, in this situation, I am a Marxist socialist.
Cher said it best: "I've been poor and I've been rich. Rich is better."
Part of "rich being better" is to share it with your family and neighbors.
[Cher, by the way, is one of my favorite philosophers.]
***********************This video has nothing to to do with this post. It simply caught my fancy. "Dance Me To the End of Love" was written by Leonard Cohen. I honestly did not think there could be a better interpretation of this song than Leonard's but I do think Ms Peyroux has nailed it. The video editing/synchronization is incredible.