Several people have asked if I'm moving back to the city and, yes, I am. But allow me to share with you an economic epiphany I developed that was 100% caused by and derived from my experiences here in Wyoming and is 100% the reason I'm moving back-
The Economics of Hustle.
Now I know you people love nothing more than to point out that the epiphanies the Captain has had in the past were already observed and noted by long-dead ancient philosophers and economists. However, "hustle" has NEVER been observed before nor incorporated into economics. So finally at last, your Captain has an epiphany he can claim is all his own. But more importantly I do believe there is some economic merit to "hustle" and may even write thesis about it if I ever get my doctorate.
First, let me start off by stating something that is going to seem insulting, but I NEED YOU TO LISTEN TO ME CLEARLY to realize that is not my intent. And that "something" is the people of Wyoming are by far the dumbest group of people I've ever met. Again, I do not say that to be insulting or to raise the ire of Wyomingites or to use the term "dumbest" as a pejorative. Nor do I say it to make it sound like I'm some arrogant "east coast liberal" that views the center of the country as "fly over states." I say it because that has been my honest observation after living and interacting with the people there for a year. Never have I met an entire population that was so dumb, slow, oblivious and uninteresting.
Were there smart people?
Were there intelligent and interesting people?
Did I make some friends?
But as a whole Wyoming has BY FAR the dumbest population I've ever experienced.
Now, most people don't think about this because they don't observe it from the outside or put themselves into completely different cultures, but you simply cannot escape humans. Humans and humanity permeate every aspect of life. Every interaction you have involves a human. From conducting commerce, to working, to socializing, there are humans everywhere. They are inescapable. So when THE ENTIRE SOCIETY is literally about 10 IQ points shy of the average, it not only shows, but you get to pay a psychologically tormenting price as you live in that society.
For example a "normal" sandwich artist at a Subway can knock out a sub in about 1 minute. But it takes about 5 minutes for the average Wyomingite sandwich artist to put together your sub WITH the tripling of the chance they goofed up your order. It got so bad your Captain would actually prefer to COOK HIS OWN FOOD than go to a Subway. It was just not worth the hassle and blood pressure.
Speaking of blood pressure, go to the grocery store and you can observe, quite clearly the costs of this lower-IQ society. Almost like witnessing the forming of a perfect storm, the variables for an insufferably and unnecessarily long wait in line start to conspire and collide. Idiots who are in line, but not done shopping, darting out of line to get more food. A 38 year old man PAYING BY CHECK. Tilly decides to converse with the check out lady for 3 hours. Poor staff management as it becomes obvious the check out clerk should have called for back up or opened a new lane 20 minutes ago. And this is the LUXURY grocer. You want to slum it, go to the local Wal-Mart in Wyoming. That IS where the "people of Wal-Mart" are photographed.
Another example is banking. You ever hear of a "truck equity loan?"
Of course you haven't. Because you're not a moron and would never imagine somebody so stupid enough to "take money out of his truck" let alone a bank stupid enough to agree to such a thing. But truck equity loans are just part of "the Wyomin' Way." Along with 8 pieces of collateral for one loan (true story), $300,000 loans on a car wash in the middle of the state (ie-nowhere), and people late 36 times on their loans (but we'll never repossess on them).
Do you like teenage, single moms? They got plenty! And you get to pay plenty too when they go to the WIC office. This did vary by town, but it seemed if you were in any of the larger towns of Wyoming (bar Cheyenne) then there was a commensurate increase in the chances you were mandated to have children before graduating from high school.
But forget fornication, let's just talk about socializing. If you are a guy and merely want to hang out with girls on a platonic basis (for say like hiking, motorcycle rides or ballroom dancing), forget it. The fine, upstanding, and infinitely secure men of Wyoming will have none of it. They really do view women as property there. One gal that was kind enough to help me move, I offered a motorcycle ride. We couldn't drive on main street as she was afraid her boyfriend would see her. Dance classes I offered were populated with women who only showed up once until their husbands forbade it OR would show up as a chaperone. NOT TO DANCE, but to watch and make sure she didn't start having an affair with some stranger right there on the floor in front of everybody. I was threatened twice by men for "talkin' to their women" when both men were declared ex's. And a 68 year old grandpa gave me a mean look and said "No" when I asked his 65 year old wife to foxtrot.
And finally, let's not forget health. YOu have some of the world's greatest mountains and terrain. Hundreds, if not thousands of miles of trails to go hiking on. What's the number one physical activity in Wyoming?
"Wha!? The mountinnnnnz? Wha we hiked dat back in hiiiiskool. What we want to hike dem mountains fer?"
They take the insane beauty and nature for granted and never avail themselves of mountains that are only 15 minutes away.
Now I could go on and on, but you get the idea. The population is slow. It is not terribly intelligent. Alcoholism is the new power-walking. ie- there is 0% hustle in this state. Presumably then, with these things going against it, the economy would stink. Unemployment should be high. Government dependency should be high. GDP growth should be low.
Turns out its the opposite.
Wyoming has a much lower unemployment rate than the rest of the nation. 4.6% vs. 8.2%. It's gross state product has grown faster than the US average. AND it is ranked 48th I believe in government dependency. It is an economic success.
So what factors are overcoming this lack of hustle and this intellectual handicap?
Two simple factors - energy and low taxes.
Wyoming has no state income taxes and thusly people do move to the state, incorporate there, etc. Also, Wyoming is enjoying an energy boom. An interesting observation I had while living in Casper is you could tell the years the economy boomed and busted based on the architecture in the town. There was the founding of the town (1870's or so type of western mainstreet architecture) and a notable influence of ugly, brown 1970's early 80's architecture (another energy boom). Today the entire east side of Casper is all new construction attributable to the energy boom today.
Now if it seems like I'm rambling, I'm not because I'm trying to combine several points here at the same time. So let me point out another state and hopefully you'll see the lesson I'm trying to make about hustle.
Compare the "hustle factor" of Wyoming to say California or New York.
Whereas there is literally no hustle in Wyoming, New York City or LA is nothing but hustle. Spend one week in Casper, WY and then move to New York City and you'll get whiplash at the acceleration in the pace of life. People are on a mission in the city. They got to get stuff done. No, don't bother me now, I don't have the time. TALK IN THE CHECK OUT LANES??? Are you kidding me? New Yorkers would beat you in the alley.
There is no doubt the people of New York, California or just any major city are faster, have more hustle, and (yes, I dare say) are more educated and intelligent (wisdom, however may be another thing).
Regardless, these states and cities have a more motivated population, a faster population, they just have more hustle.
So how are their economies doing?
We all know poorly. Both New York and California I believe still have double digit unemployment, their public finances are in the toilet. We don't need to rehash it.
So how can this be? Also, why would I shoot my own theory down about hustle? Hustle you would THINK would correlate positively with economic growth and standards of living, so why do we see the opposite occurring.
1. The lack of economic performance by the likes of New York and California does not so much speak to the failure of hustle to translate into economic growth as much as it is a harsh condemnation of their socialist policies. I have never seen a society move as fast, as smart and as quick as New Yorkers, Chicagoans, and the west coast. Also, much as I hate California, there is no more innovative place than Silicon Valley. All that hustle and flow for naught because it's been mooted by socialist policies. On the other side of the same coin is Wyoming. A state whose people, once again, in my experience are the slowest people on the planet. No hustle, no flow, no care, no fire in the belly. But despite (what I would have previously considered) a crippling handicap, the pro-capitalist policies of low taxes and free markets overcome this to deliver very low unemployment, higher standards of living and increased economic growth.
2. Wyoming could be considered the "Votech" or "tech school" state requiring real skills and trades. While New York and California could be considered "academia" states requiring, well, no really pliable skills or trades at all. Just a sheepskin.
3. We haven't looked at economies or societies that have BOTH hustle AND pro-capitalism policies. Places like Hong Kong, Singapore, the Cayman Islands, etc. I don't have the time today, but just by recollection knowledge about these economies, they blow Pro-Capitalism/No-Hustle countries/states out of the water.
The larger point is not my hatred for Wyomingites. Nor is it my loathing of the liberal coasts. It's to merely demonstrate the power of free-market economics and capitalism and what it can overcome. We all don't need to be doctoral students in electrical engineer slaving away 80 hours a week to increase our standards of living. We just need to leave people be, let the free-market work its magic, and "even Wyomingites" can succeed. About the only thing that can stop the free market from being successful is simply replacing it with a more socialistic model.
Then again, we all knew that. Just don't try to explain that to the CCC's (a little inside joke there for the Wyomingites).
Post-post - from a reader. IQ by state. I challenge the data (not the reader of course).