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Movementarianism

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[Update: New tune. Thanks to DAS for the nudge to post something appropriate to St. Patrick’s Day.]

Unfortunately (?) I’m not able to read all of Kevin W’s anti-poor screed, but based on excerpts and David French’s column, they both think white Americans living in economically depressed areas should stop being poor and addicted to drugs and just move already. Or maybe the plan is move and then they’ll stop being poor and addicted to drugs, like the town is under a curse and people just need to get out of the blighted circle.

Who knows or cares?

People who never worry about such trifles as where their next meal is coming from, how badly their lives will be wrecked if they get pregnant or whether a police officer will look at them and open fire, like to come up with all sorts of condescending, unhelpful, contradictory, obnoxious, moronic and just plain impossible to implement life solutions for people who do worry about such things.

However, of all the condescending, unhelpful, contradictory, obnoxious, moronic and just plain impossible to implement solutions to ever rattle around some privileged git’s head, “Move,” comes in third after “Bootstraps!” and “Needs More Prayer.”

Whether it’s said of black people living in states run by Republicans or gay people living in states run by Republicans or anyone who makes less than $100K/year living states run by Republicans, the only purpose “Well gorsh, they should just move” serves is to let normal people know they’re dealing with someone who is short on empathy and imagination and stay away. Here’s the latest exhibit.

The first was our decision to accommodate the Chinese manufacturing boom not with increased exports in other sectors, but with a growing trade deficit. The second was the apparent unwillingness of US workers to move when they lost their jobs:

[…]

Why? It’s hard to know how to allocate blame here.

It’s also hard to know why blame must be allocated, especially when discussing human beings who have lost their jobs.

On the one hand, you have the big macroeconomic effect of a growing trade deficit, which is outside the control of individual workers. On the other hand, you have an unwillingness to move when the local economy tanks, which is very much within the control of individual workers. Taken together, it’s almost a conspiracy to give up. At a national level, we shrug and simply accept a trade deficit. At an individual level, we shrug and accept that no jobs are available anywhere.

And on both hands, I have a middle finger.

Here are a few questions I wish movementarians would ask themselves before they suggest anyone, including Individual Worker Units, can solve their problems by moving.

How will the worker the move?

And not just how will the worker, already stressed by the loss of employment and concerned about finances, get through the stress and expense of moving? But believe it or don’t, a person who worked at a factory may well own a home and have family and friends and all affections and attachments that serve as an impediment to grabbing the car keys (assuming the worker has a car) or renting a U-Haul, and hittin’ the road.

Who ought to move?

“Individual workers,” isn’t an answer. Individual workers are humans and humans of have this habit of forming relationships and attachments that have nothing to do with work. For example, say IW1 is married to IW2 and between them they have two future IWs ages 11 and 17. They also care for three former IWs – elderly parents. And they’ve all got a variety of emotional connections to the area. Now assume that when the factory closes, IW2 loses her job.

Why is the worker leaving, and where will the worker go?

If the IW’s problem is he spent 18 years at the local ball bearing factory but now he’s unemployed because all the ball bearings are made in China by that [cough cough] “large pool of low-cost workers,” moving to another city where there is no ball bearing work isn’t a solution any more than heading out and hoping to find some sort of employment. “Train for another job,” may be a solution but it isn’t always a feasible option.

(As an aside, the idea that one job is just as good as another for a blue collar/skilled manual worker is bourgeois B.S. However, I encourage everyone who believes this to have a plumber change their car’s timing belt.)

Of course, Movementarians wouldn’t ask these questions if they were able to do so, because asking them would spoil the nice tantrum/JAQED session, but I’m an incurable optimist.

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  • Great post.

    Also, kudos to Kevin Drum for singling out Chinese Most Favored Nation/Permanent Normal Trading Whatever Status, and Chinese WTO ascension, as the most important causative factor. Most people call out NAFTA, but it’s really about China.

    • Rob in CT

      And his commenters beat him up over the obvious tone-deaf “why don’t people just move?” question.

      • Actually, I take it back. She should have clicked through and read the Drum column before shallowly labeling it an “anti-poor screed.”

        • Rob in CT

          Yeah, it’s not an anti-poor screed. It’s an ok post right up until he gets to the why not move question (“entirely under their control” !!) where it goes off the rails.

          • And goes off the rails based on a reason quite different from that which animated actual anti-poor screed on this same topic from Williamson that Shakezula clearly assumed it replicated: the economists’ habit of assuming Rational Profit-Maximizing Man In A Perfect Market in their models, and then viewing actual people through that lens.

            A fine post could have been written about that.

            • On the contrary – if I understand you – regardless of their underlying motives, Williamson, French and Drum all exhibit the sort of privileged attitudes that create the Just Move mentality.

              Or put another way – No matter how they arrived at that solution, the solution is garbage.

              • “The sort of privileged attitudes” is far too vague to be useful for anything but ranting. Williamson certainly exhibited more than just a lack of understanding about forces that inhibit labor mobility, and it lets his horrific bigotry off the hook to equate him and Drum.

                Since the same bad conclusion can be arrived at in different manners, it’s worthwhile to understand them. Or, at least, it’s worthwhile to understand them accurately if one wishes to write about where they come from, and not just the problems with the solution.

              • efgoldman

                And not just how will the worker, already stressed by the loss of employment and concerned about finances, get through the stress and expense of moving?

                Clearly, y’all haven’t read your history. They’ll just pack up and go, just like the Okies did in the dust bowl, because the world is exactly the same, and nothing has changed in the Western US, especially California.

                • AlanInSF

                  Also too, as I’ve personnaly observed up close in south Florida, the Phoenix area, and the Las Vegas area, then something something happens, and everyone has to move somewhere else, except they’re now stuck with underwater mortgages on the then-cheap homes they bought.

                • ThrottleJockey

                  If poor people as far south as Honduras and Nicaragua and El Salvador can pack it up and move to the US in search of more opportunity and less violence surely some significant segment of our population *could* do it…But a lot of people are risk averse and sentimental and can’t imagine life outside of…Manhattan.

                • so-in-so

                  Florida will soon give the term “underwater mortgages” a more literal meaning!

                • Once again, never more than a tiny fraction of the people from any Central American nation move to the United States.

                • ThrottleJockey

                  What do you think is going to happen in Coal Country, Joe? Those economies are never coming back. How many checks you want to give those people there complaining about “too much gubment” and “too many coloreds”?

                • My opinion about social welfare programs has nothing to do with whether I like (some ignorant stereotype of) the people personally.

                • efgoldman

                  except they’re now stuck with underwater mortgages

                  And in South Florida, soon to be actually underwater properties.

            • Ronan

              “Rational Profit-Maximizing Man In A Perfect Market in their models”

              But this isn’t Completly unsupportable. The only case I know with a little confidence is Ireland, though afaik the main outlines are generalisable. People were very much aware of labour markets in other countries, and migration streams correlated closely enough to booms in some markets (primarily the uk and us) and declines at home. The historian Jj lee called the post famine peasant the epitome of the calculating rational actor. Decisions would be made in the family (a lot of times before birth) who would stay and who would go, and resources would be put aside for those destined to leave . This is another problem I have with the ops claims to look at the broader societal context . A lot of time that broader context (particularly in the family) made the decision for you

              • The question, though, isn’t why some people do move for economic reasons. We already understand that they do, and why.

                The “question” that exists in the mind of someone like Drum is why some people don’t.

                • Ronan

                  Sure, I’m just saying the reasons people stayed (sometimes against their wishes) were often intimately tied into why others were leaving . They were often part of the same decision making process

              • Bill Murray

                How is deciding who leaves and who stays before they are even born a rational process, even under the definition economics gives for rational?

                • Ronan

                  Well jj lee was comparing it (hyperbolically to make a point) specifically to economists views of homo economicus. (He was claiming the peasantry became rationalising economic decision maker concerned with the welfare of the family, rather than a more tradition ruled and bound to collective kin ). Was it rational ? I don’t know, I don’t think the terminology matters. But it was understandable , given the circumstances

                  Edit: though that decision making system remained explicitly up until relatively recently (prob meaningfully the 60s,) long after the peasantry were gone

              • jam

                People were very much aware of labour markets in other countries, and migration streams correlated closely enough to booms in some markets (primarily the uk and us) and declines at home.

                This didn’t happen out of thin air (as you observe), and contemporary emigrant youth seem to go in a sort of a stream. They go to Australia or New Zealand or Bristol or Florida on the word of a friend-of-a-friend or a family friend who knows there are opportunities there.

                The U.S. case is different. It’s not about slowly relieving excess population, but responding to a sudden economic shock. People can’t solve it by exporting their youth, but need to relocate established and older people.

                • los

                  yeah, pundits recognize ‘brain drain’, but overlook ‘brawn drain’.
                  also, how many ‘okies’ just died?

            • The Lorax

              If I’m looking for that, I go see what Yglesias has written recently.

    • ThrottleJockey

      There are some people who are too poor, too old, or too ill to move. From my observation that’s a distinct minority. Most people tend not to move out of sentimentality. I know plenty of poor people, even poor people with families, who picked up and moved to places with better opportunity. I’m sure we all have parents or grandparents who stayed in neighborhoods that they knew were headed toward decline not because they didn’t have a choice, but because they loved their neighborhood and home. Sentimentality.

      Hasn’t anyone heard of the Great Migration? It wasn’t rich people moving from the South up North.

      • Davis X. Machina

        Hasn’t anyone heard of the Great Migration? It wasn’t rich people moving from the South up North.

        Supply and demand were both different then.

      • Yet rural poverty persists throughout the black South, for millions.

        Your numbers are reversed. There has never been more than a small minority of a population that has moved for work, including during the Great Migration. And there wouldn’t have been jobs for the entire population if they had all moved to the North.

        • DrDick

          And in the white south, as well as among urban blacks and urban whites. “Just moving” is not as easy as it sounds.

        • ThrottleJockey

          Does anyone think that “just move” is the single solution to poverty? When the Okies had had it with the Dust Bowl many of them moved to California. That didn’t mean they all did.

          • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

            Specifically, they moved to Orange County, from where Drum hails. But I suspect his attitude wasn’t really “if Nana and Pop-pop could pick up stakes, anyone can.”

          • AlanInSF

            And we greeted ’em with shotguns and sheriff’s deputies at the border, dadgummit! We’da built a huge wall if we’d had the imagination.

            • ThrottleJockey

              Where was The Donald when you needed him, eh?

          • Does anyone think that “just move” is the single solution to poverty?

            Too many people think it is too much of the solution.

            • Jadzia

              Just move is also terrible for families and communities. I should know: by the time I graduated from high school my family had lived in 7 states and I had attended 11 different schools.

            • AlanInSF

              “Just hide” is also popular.

          • The Lorax

            Wait, you’re telling me Sam Kinison didn’t have this figured out in the 80s?

          • DrDick

            When the Okies had had it with the Dust Bowl many of them moved to California.

            A few of them. Most stayed in Oklahoma.

      • Denverite

        This is silly. A lot of people can’t move for tangible reasons. In this day and age of two-income families, it might be impossible for one of the spouses to find an equivalent job in a new city. A lot of middle and working class families can’t afford paid childcare and rely on family members to watch the kids. Moving would take them away from that.

        • SatanicPanic

          Not to mention that home (AKA, the average person’s largest investment) you’re 15 years into the mortgage on isn’t going to be worth a whole ton if you and 500 neighbors all decide to sell at the same time.

          • Mike Dukakis used to have a great line – “There are no throw-away cities.”

            • efgoldman

              Mike Dukakis used to have a great line – “There are no throw-away cities.”

              I know and like Mike, voted for him several times, but he turned out to be wrong. See Detroit and other rust belt wastelands. Closer to home, Lowell got lucky. Fall River did not.

              • Linnaeus

                Are you making a positive claim or a normative claim?

              • AlanInSF

                Not to mention the shoe belt. (I’m guessing they don’t call it that in Massachusetts, but many of my grandparents’ generation relatives worked in the factories in Brockton and Lynn and such.)

                • efgoldman

                  Not to mention the shoe belt.

                  And not only the shoes themselves. Out of college in the late 1960s, I worked for a trucking company. Some of our biggest customers were the companies that made the machines that made shoes, or the companies that finished the materials from which the heels and soles were stamped, etc. All long gone.
                  Also, in and around Cambridge, Revere, Everett and Chelsea the dozens of candy makers.

                • AlanInSF

                  I remember walking by the New England Candy Company factory in Cambridge when I was in college, and it was like, Wow, that’s a place that exists? Necco Wafers! My Mom, who grew up in Boston, never wanted me to buy Welch candies, because of his role with the John Birch Society. Now, I wouldn’t, but as a kid, are you kidding?

                • Matt McIrvin

                  Haverhill still calls itself Shoe City and puts up public sculptures of shoes around town, though the shoe business is long gone. It had a rough 20th century but seems to be slowly clawing its way up as a mostly residential community these days.

              • The American urban renaissance isn’t over. It’s just begun.

                • efgoldman

                  The American urban renaissance isn’t over. It’s just begun.

                  A bit late for about three generations in those cities, however.

                • Lee Rudolph

                  And who will be its Borgias? Operators are waiting, place your orders now!

                • A bit late for about three generations in those cities, however.

                  Better late than never.

            • ThrottleJockey

              The ash heap of history is littered with throw away cities.

              Babylon anyone?

              • AlanInSF

                Yesterday’s cities are today’s trendy discos.

                • ThrottleJockey

                  Timbuktu on Ladies Night. That’s all I’m saying.

              • Babylon was sacked.

                • so-in-so

                  So was Detroit, just the modern Assyrians wear suits and practice “vulture capitalism”.

                • DrS

                  So? Those losers should have just moved to Akkad or Uruk and not just look for hand outs, especially with a firing on their record.

                • rea

                  Actually, while Babylon was sacked more than once, it ultimately just sort of petered out,when the Marduk industry collapsed.

        • ThrottleJockey

          Neither am I suggesting that its a panacea. Its an answer which will work for some and not work for others. But I think people often shy away from it as a solution for sentimental reasons. That’s not a black statement, or a white statement, or a rich statement, or a poor statement. That’s a people statement.

          You saw this when you applied to college. There were those who couldn’t wait to get as far away from home as possible and there were those who dreaded the thought of being more than an hour away. A lot of this is psychological and emotional attachment.

          • A lot of the opposition people had to having their neighborhoods slum-cleared, and to being moved into high-rises, was based on “sentimental attachments.”

            Did you ever read about the mortality rates of people forced into that move? They went through the roof.

            Social connections and networks are very real things. It literally kills some people to be forced from their homes. It’s just cruel to toss a disparaging adjective at that and act like it’s nothing.

            • ThrottleJockey

              I’m not the sentimental type. I think too much is made of sentimentality. I supported the destruction of Cabrini Green (of “Good Times” fame) and the Robert Taylor homes because I thought the concentration of poverty was horrendously destructive. That said, many people who lived there hated to see them go, begged to keep them, and literally made the Housing Authority kick them out. In this vein I think sentimentality makes you irrational.

              • Literal death.

                I think you go beyond not being the sentimental type.

                Those urban renewal hellscapes were so profoundly awful for both residents and surrounding neighborhoods that their destruction was the least-bad option, but that’s no reason to blow off the very real harm associated with relocation for a lot of people.

                • N__B

                  I did some scatter-site housing rehabs in the Bronx in the 90s. (Taking six or eight buildings near each other but not necessarily adjacent and rehabbing them all at once to try to create a critical mass for a grocery store.) The street names at one site sounded familiar and, sure enough, it was about a quarter mile from where my father grew up. In his memory, it was intensely crowded, five-story apartment buildings with no open space. He asked me what it was like…it was prairie. Except for the few buildings we were working on, there was grass taller than me on most of the lots.

                  This was the end result of Robert Moses’s highway and urban renewal projects in the south Bronx. Thanks to the fact that the Bronx is part of a thriving city, those lots are now filled again, with a few playgrounds thrown in.

              • Roberta

                Relationships with people aren’t “sentimentality.” For most of us, they’re one of the major purposes of human life.

            • so-in-so

              So much of this is really similar to J Otto’s comments in that it assumes those workers will find work at the end of the journey. If you worked a machine in a factory, what is the chance that there is a big need for folks with your skill set somewhere else just begging for workers?

              If that demand existed, somebody would be recruiting these folks to move. As it stands, demand is pretty low if you don’t have the right skills; uprooting and moving at your own cost to be in the same situation somewhere else really doesn’t make any sense.

              • ChrisTS

                And, you might actually find yourself in a worse situation. Back home you had contacts, some kind of roof over your head, etc. Now, you are homeless in a city (whatever) where you know no one.

              • jam

                Let them eat code!

                The claim I’ve seen recently is that they can all just get jobs in the Information Economy.

                Nobody has yet explained exactly how a 50 year old factory worker with a high school diploma transforms into a market-competitive programmer, analyst, QA tester, project manager, etc…

                Nor have they replied when asked about affordable housing in the SF Bay area or Seattle.

                • Bill Murray

                  Nobody has yet explained exactly how a 50 year old factory worker with a high school diploma transforms into a market-competitive programmer, analyst, QA tester, project manager, etc…

                  Particularly when 50 year old trained programmers have difficulty finding work as programmers

                • ChrisTS

                  I assume the idea is that they could be trained to person the call center?

                  Oh, wait, those are already personed by Indians and Pakistanis.

                • Schadenboner

                  Maybe not a programmer, but maybe a CNC operator.

                  “I’m 50 years old” is only a reason not to go back to school if you’re planning on dying at age 51.

            • Kerans

              I did my masters’ fieldwork in an urban Appalachian community along the Ohio river and social networks are, yes, real things especially in terms of geographic mobility. It’s not sentiment, it’s practicality. People were constantly moving but rarely beyond the reach of a helping hand if childcare was needed, if a car broke down, if a landlord barred a door. Not to mention remaining tied to the informal economy. No doubt, some people can just up and move. You have kids, though, you have obligations to your kin who maybe stepped up when you had needs? Those ties work both ways.

        • Jackov

          Some portion of the rural/small town working class has always been mobile even though the family remains in place for the reasons you suggest. The father is either an independent contractor (welding, heavy equipment) or part of a seasonal contract crew (landscaping, painting, roads, installation work) who sees his family on weekends or during the winter when he is laid off. You run into these guys in out of the way motels from Sacramento to Harrisburg. The bigget change is now it is often the mother who is better educated (nursing, teaching, admin) who works in a regional center and comes home on weekends or a few times per week.

      • DrDick

        Just because some, few, people could do it, does not mean that it was easy or even reasonable. Indeed many, if not most, of the people who moved north or to California wound up little better off than they had been before.

        • ThrottleJockey

          My grandparents moved north from Arkansas and Texas. They never once pined for home. From their perspective they were much better off than they had been before.

          My grandmother moved thrice actually. After moving North as a girl, she married too young and found herself in a marriage to a violent alcoholic. Shen then picked up and in the dead of night moved, sight unseen, to Seattle. All she had was the suitcase she carried. Twenty years later she moved back to marry my grandfather who courted her for 18 months via “snail mail”.

          • Good for your grandparents. So what?

            • ThrottleJockey

              Meaning that I’m skeptical that ANY of the black people who moved North thought they had been better off in the South…I can’t imagine living in the South in this day and age, much less in the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. Maaaaaybe in the ’90s…if it was in Atlanta.

              • so-in-so

                Right, so your grand parents were in a circumstance where moving made sense, even if there wasn’t a pre-arranged job waiting at the end. And still many of there fellow residents of the South choose not to move.

                For poor white folks in upstate NY or WV there is not the social pressure to move, that it’s GOT to be better elsewhere. If they uproot everything and end up in a large city, still unemployed, what have they gained.

                Anybody else noticed the part on the job apps where they ask how long you lived at your current address? I’m pretty shore “two weeks” isn’t the answer they want.

                • ThrottleJockey

                  WV is a good discussion point. The coal economy is cratering permanently, and no one who values a livable planet wants them coming back. These are the people who most complain about the ‘gubment’ and the ‘blacks’ and the ‘Messicans’.

              • Meaning that I’m skeptical that ANY of the black people who moved North…

                So, you’re basing your opinion on a very small percentage of the black people in the South who might have moved to the North.

                Since, once again, the vast majority of them stayed.

                What you’re telling me is that the segment of the Southern black population that had the least problem with relocation considered the move a good thing. Well, yeah – the North was a whole lot better than the South. But focusing on only that question, “Is the North better than the South?” misses the entire point, which is about the transition cost.

              • DrDick

                In some ways they probably were better off, since there was no Klan in the area. Economically, however, it was not much, if any better in the North for many people. They just traded a tarpaper shack for a ghetto tenement.

                • ChrisTS

                  Seriously.

                  I spent a lot of time in the South, and those tar paper/thin wooden shacks look awful from the road. You get up closer and realize these people can grow some veggies,maybe go crabbing, have a social network, and are not prey to roaming gangs.

                  Take a look at some tenements, and you’ll know why they are not Valhalla.

      • Ronan

        The idea that the poor can’t move , as a historical matter, doesn’t strike me as particularly convincing. Or at least id winder to what extent it explains migration patterns in the past (now it seems the asset free relatively educated classes are more likely to leave). Logically, it would seem those with most difficulty in moving are generally those with some asset/possibility of mobility in the depressed region. The very poor tend to have little to no Assets or wealth. If there is less migration now Among the poor than in the past, them that could do with explaining (less familial obligations to go? More possibility to stay, ie greater welfare provision ? Fewer suitable jobs in other markets? A need for more capital to start over than in the part?)
        I don’t think migration as a cure for recession makes much sense , neither do I think “they should leave” is a morally or practically useful argument. But as a historical matter plenty of societies , communities and families (particularly among the poor) have adopted it as a method of relieving financial insecurity , so the question is if it doesn’t happen anymore (that migration is for the young, or educated, or asset/responsibility free) why is that?

        • Ronan

          That’s before you get to the question of who has an obligation to stay . A question abhorrent to modern liberalism , but practically important

          • ThrottleJockey

            Hey, man, saw this article thought you might be interested: How a box of Bones under an Irish bar upended Celtic history.

            • Ronan

              Interesting . Razib khan has written on this aswell

              http://www.unz.com/gnxp/the-gaels-were-from-scythia/

              I must say population genetics seems an interesting field of study

              • N__B

                If the gaels were from Scythia, does that make you Ronan the Barbarian?

                • Ronan

                  depends how I do against the other Ronans in next years national duel for the title

                • rea

                  For a long time, based on misreading one of your comments, I thought you were Ronan Keating . . .

                • Dennis Orphen

                  It’s hard to service the debt accrued acquiring a law degree on the salary the Kree pay prosecuting attorneys. A lot of the accusers are changing fields, moving even to find better jobs.

                • Ronan

                  I remember . I was unsure of how to broach the subject, so I went with it

                • ThrottleJockey

                  My money’s on you in the national duel. There can be only 1!

                • elm

                  Wait, Ronan is not Ronan Keating? I remember that comment, too, and have all these years assumed that our Ronan was a famous Irish singer. I’m going to have re-evaluate everything now.

          • Bill Murray

            That’s before you get to the question of who has an obligation to stay . A question abhorrent to modern liberalism , but practically important

            why is this question abhorrent to modern liberalism? It has been brought up several times in this thread

            • Ronan

              The question of an obligation is. A responsibility to sacrifice your aspirations for your geographically defined kin goes against all of contemporary liberalisms (praiseworthy) aspirations of personal autonomy or even limited individualism. Think a little of cavafys poem (although im stretching interpretations here)

              http://www.cavafy.com/poems/content.asp?id=58&cat=1

              • Hogan

                I think what’s “abhorrent” is the notion that the only interpersonal obligations that matter are those of family (see, e.g., Thatcher’s “there is no such thing as society”).

              • Bill Murray

                well then we define contemporary and/or liberalism differently. I see what you are defining as contemporary as more 19th century liberalism. We all are obligated (to various degrees of strength usually not very strongly) to each other, without that we would have no civilization.

                Also obligations are two way. I guarantee that all of my directly related, older family members sacrificed some aspirations for me

                • ChrisTS

                  Thanks.

                  That [mistaken] paradigm of libertarian individualism, John Stuart Mill, maintained that we have many, many obligations to family and others (“assignable duties”) as well as to our fellow citizens.

                • Ronan

                  No, I’m not thinking of classic liberalism. I’m not saying liberalism encouraged Completly individualism with no obligations, but the obligations (outside of personal and familial ones) are civic and abstract, rather than something closer to ethnic and kin based. It’s the difference between thinking yiu have obligations to society at large , but also you have individual freedoms and rights, so those obligatios are usually channeled through volunteering and state institutions . In ethnic obligations, you have obligations to the peope you grew up with (which could be localised and parochial ) and your individualism should often be superseded by the groups needs . The second Id abhorrent to liberalism it’s the difference between Tammany hall and (can’t think if a counter example )

              • Lee Rudolph

                Thank you for linking to that poem.

        • ThrottleJockey

          Get to know some Filipinos. Like practically no other group on earth they will cross the globe for economic opportunity. They could make Christopher Columbus and Flash Gordon feel untraveled. They often leave husbands, wives, and children back home to be cared for by the grandparents and others while they work abroad and send money back. Had a girlfriend once who started out in small village in the Philippines, moved to Hong Kong at 18, and then to Vancouver, and then to the US. Even though she didn’t have any children she 4 of her nieces and nephews through college, and picks up many family expenses. Many of the friends she started out with in Hong Kong are now in London, Toronto, LA, Rome, Switzerland, and Texas. Its quite something. They don’t have glamorous jobs–most work as domestic helpers. But then she and her friends have a lot of gumption.

          • so-in-so

            Of course you could ask those Filipino construction workers in Qatar that Erik writes about how well that plan works.

            Or the ones who end up as domestics in Saudi Arabia.

  • so-in-so

    “Their jobs went to China, so why don’t they just move.”

    To China?

    • J. Otto Pohl

      It has become normal for people from places such as Mexico, India, and Nigeria to move to other countries to find better paying work than available at home. Why should it be any different for poor white Americans like myself?

      • You are truly shameless.

        • J. Otto Pohl

          Says the privileged rich man who will never have to emigrate to Africa to work.

          • Denverite

            In fairness, Ghana vs. Vo Dilun is a tough call.

            • Scott P.

              I prefer Vo Mimbre.

              • Rob in CT

                I take it you’re not a serf. [Actually, did Eddings bother considering serfdom? I forget]

                • prufrock

                  If I recall correctly, Eddings made it clear that the serfs’ lives sucked.

            • efgoldman

              Ghana vs. Vo Dilun is a tough call.

              Is Ghana historically great?

              • Denverite

                It depends if you’re referring to the historical Ghanian empire or present day Ghana (which as I understand it, isn’t even really in the same place). The latter is meh. The former, though, is the 2015 Broncos defense of West African empires.

                • Like how meh are we talking here? Like ketchup meh? like vodka meh?

          • ChrisTS

            Ah, yes, rich man Erik Loomis.

            • N__B

              I want to audit his course “How Our Betters Kept Their Feet on the Necks of the Proletariat Throughout History 101”.

            • mds

              Area man Erik Loomis, noted wealthy socialite, was observed last night swinging by GTFO Laundry to pick up his starched dickeys and blocked top hats, only to be mobbed by the usual crowd wanting to read his doctoral dissertation without being asked.

              • rea

                the usual crowd wanting to read his doctoral dissertation without being asked.

                Robert Stacey McCain and his crowd are bothering him again?

              • tsam

                This comment is so fancy I had to put on a second monocle to read it.

        • Captain Splendid

          He’s kind of got a point though. Those of us who are not US citizens will always have “move to another country for better/more interesting employment opportunities” as part of our toolkit/mindset and we don’t think it’s a big deal.

          Granted, Williamson’s article is reprehensible, but as with 9/11, the rest of the world can only shrug at another pointless flash of lost exceptionalism and welcome you to the club.

          • Linnaeus

            Those of us who are not US citizens will always have “move to another country for better/more interesting employment opportunities” as part of our toolkit/mindset and we don’t think it’s a big deal.

            I’m guessing that this applies to a rather small subset of workers.

          • DrDick

            Yet, in point of fact most people anywhere do not move away, unless forced to do so.

            • DrDick

              I seem to be in moderation for some reason.

              • N__B

                I would never have accused you of moderation, doc.

      • It has not become “normal.” Only a tiny fraction of workers from India or Nigeria have moved to other countries.

  • ChrisTS

    I’m sure I’ve noted this on LGM, before, but it’s worth repeating for pure blinkered stupidity:

    Ilya Shapiro of the Volokh Conspiracy once posted a blog entry in which he claimed it’s easier for poor people to move than for rich people. Why? Less stuff to move!

    • And if you don’t move soon enough, being evicted will be a great way to freecycle all of your belongings!

      • DAS
        • Excellent. But in honor of the ancestors who voluntarily boarded ships to get here ;-) I’m going with another.

          • DAS

            Fair enough. And thanks for the shout-out.

      • ChrisTS

        Surely, you could them [at a massive profit] to your equally impoverished neighbors? C’mon people, step the f* up!

    • Warren Terra

      Also, they’ve got a rich social network of friends accustomed to manual labor, so that part’s cheaper, too!

    • DrS

      Why I see homeless people moving around all the time!

    • Crusty

      Ilya at VC and in particular his posts on moving, were one of the reasons I had to stop visiting that site altogether. Just too damn stupid and nauseating. But of course people that probably have no friends and are strongly disliked by their family members have no problem telling everyone to just move.

      • ChrisTS

        Well there’s that. His harping on that topic was just beyond stupid. You arrive penniless in some new place, but sure you can get an apartment with no down payment, utilities with no down payment, and a job with an address you’ve had for a day!

      • Eli Rabett

        Ted Cruz

    • guthrie

      But if poor people don’t consume a the advertising tells them to, the economy will collapse!
      But they can’t have higher wages because the economy will collapse!

  • njorl

    Americans are just to tied to the notion of being people. The sooner they accept the idea of being interchangeable labor units the better off they’ll be, though notions of “better” and “worse” will no longer have meaning to them.

    • UncleEbeneezer

      I would like to manufacture butter or guns with this comment so long as marginal utility increases.

      • postmodulator

        This is my favorite one of these ever.

    • N__B

      The Morlock Employment Agency wants you! Guarantee work for life! No pay, no benefits, but all the Eloi you can eat!

      Go with Morlock! Our track record is hundreds of years long, and we’re prettier than those losers at CHUD.

    • Dagmar

      You hit the nail on the head. Homo economicus. Also, in the grand scheme of things, didn’t all Americans who didn’t have ancestors living here in 1492 have ancestors who migrated, primarily for economic reasons? Human mobility and migration has always been a strategy for responding to climatic conditions, economic conditions, and war. It is only when (1) we became consumerists with “stuff” and (2) after WWII the government promoted a policy that every family should own a single detached dwelling, that moving became an insurmountable barrier restricting labor mobility.

      • rea

        in the grand scheme of things, didn’t all Americans who didn’t have ancestors living here in 1492 have ancestors who migrated, primarily for economic reasons?

        In the grand grand scheme of things, all of everyone’s ancestors migrated, primarily for economic reasons, from somewhere in West Africa.

        • Bootsie

          My great-great-great-great-greatx200 grandpappy lost his job at the Sabretooth cat factory and so packed up his tent and multiple concubines and walked to Ireland.

        • jam

          A great many U.S. people’s ancestors were migrated, primarily for economic reasons, from West Africa, between the 15th and 19th century as well!

      • In the grand scheme of things, you’re only counting those people who were capable of moving, and who survived long enough to have descendants.

        • so-in-so

          And some of them didn’t want to move, but for the slave catchers…

      • Origami Isopod

        Interesting how you read njorl’s comment as straightforward, not ironic.

  • TroubleMaker13

    I think you’re giving these guys too much credit. There’s no point to these screeds beyond lashing out with insults against the “worthless ingrates” that have betrayed their cause.

    • Brad Nailer

      True. “Just move” is just another way for some privileged asshole to say “Fuck you, loser” without having to say “fuck”.

      • Thirtyish

        Or, at best, “I don’t care about the predicament you’re in.”

  • CaptainBringdown

    How exactly is someone with no job and limited resources supposed to find housing in a new city or town? Who’s going to rent to them?

    • J. Otto Pohl

      In my personal experience this is usually done through their employer in the new location and is settled before moving.

      • muddy

        Talk about privilege!

        • DrDick

          Really!

      • njorl

        Your personal experience is not pertinent.

      • Hogan

        You seem to have missed the “with no job” part.

      • wca

        In my personal experience this is usually done through their employer in the new location

        JOtto channels Old Economy Steve

      • Linnaeus

        Which is in no way representative of the experience of most people who move for a job.

      • DrDick

        That has never been true anywhere I know of. Certainly is not true for poor people. I had to live in a motel for a week or so until I could find a place when I moved here and I had a job lined up.

      • DAS

        When I moved to take a post-doc in FL, my employer didn’t find housing for me. They could provide resources to help me find housing, should I have needed it, but ultimately I would have had to find a place to live. And my experience was one of relative privilege.

        The other issue is the “settled before moving” part. To rent apartments, you generally need to sign leases, make a deposit, etc., in person before you can move in. For me, even as a “poor” grad student this was no problem: I could afford a flight out to FL a month before my post-doc started (and could save up some money for a deposit and first whatever number of months’ rent) to make sure that when my job started, I had a place to start living immediately. But not all people have that luxury: if you are out of a job, you probably have limited resources to move and may not (as other commentators have pointed out) have a job to even start (and even if you do, they don’t pay you until after you’ve worked for a whole pay period … or is that “we won’t pay you until you’ve done the work” just an academia thing?). So you have to identify a place with lots of jobs, move there and look for a place to live AND for a job, all at the same time.

        tl;dr: even if you are a starving grad student/post-doc, moving to a place because you have a job lined up and when you already are able to arrange living before hand is very different than being out of a job and trying to move where the jobs are.

        As to the whole “rural poor in other countries move to cities to find work, why don’t rural poor do that here” argument? Well, how’s that working out for those other countries? How’s the really working out for the poor in shanty towns, etc., who move to cities but don’t have employers or resources to help them find places to live?

        • skate

          Excellent points. When I moved to NYC 20+ years ago for a postdoc, moving expenses were covered, but no help on housing. I was extremely lucky that I happened to have a family member who lived just around the corner from the new office and who would put me up for a while. To the best of my knowledge, she was also the only person I knew in town at the time.

      • Crusty

        Did you watch footage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and wonder why these people didn’t just throw a case of poland spring in the back of their escalade and head off to their summer house for a few days?

        • ChrisTS

          +1

      • Malaclypse

        What if Stalinists thwart this otherwise-likely scenario?

      • ChrisTS

        JFC.

  • anapestic

    Speaking as a gay person who lives in a state run by Democrats (Mostly, that is: I almost didn’t vote in 2014 because I assumed that Hogan would never be governor even without my input, only to have him become governor in spite of my vote. Ugh.), I feel a little guilty for having thought that a lot of gay people who live in states run by Republicans should move.

    But in those cases, the people in question were typically people I knew to have the necessary resources to move and the skills to be happy and successful somewhere else. I felt their situation was more analogous to someone staying in a religion that doesn’t welcome them (something I — as a gay person in a religion that welcomes me fully — still don’t fully understand). Most blue collar workers aren’t in the same situation at all, and telling them to relocate just ignores the problem.

    • The Temporary Name

      I would vote for LGM’s Hogan in any election anywhere, any number of times.

      • anapestic

        And here I thought that widespread voter fraud was a fabrication of the right. I only ever vote once, alas.

      • Hogan

        You’re very kind, but I’ve organized my life in such a way that I should never run for any elected office ever.

        • Linnaeus

          Throw your support to Baud! over at Balloon Juice.

          • Warren Terra

            That is a textbook example of blog comment section running jokes that go on too long and too much. Instead of being funny it’s just a shibboleth, and it reminds me of Atrios’s joint about a decade or go, when you needed a native guide and a phrasebook even to begin to comprehend what anyone was going on about.

            • Heh. Bobo.

            • Linnaeus

              I still think it’s amusing. YMMV.

              ETA: Though I will agree that “Frist!” went on too long as Eschaton.

            • The Lorax

              Who is Atrios and what is a shibboleth?

              • Hogan

                Atrios is the Greek god of underdeveloped blog posts.

                • Warren Terra

                  You can assert your longevity as a blog reader by claiming to have read Atrios back when he used to write whole sentences. There are rumors of whole paragraphs, but these are lost to the mists of time.

                • Linnaeus

                  Hell, I had an “I Am Atrios” hat.

                • Ruviana

                  I want to organize a Blogger Ethics Panel with this comment.

              • rea

                Atrios semi-regularly comments here, and runs the grandfather of all lefty blogs:

                http://www.eschatonblog.com/

                A shibboleth is a kind of Irish club.

                • efgoldman

                  A shibboleth is a kind of Irish club.

                  I thought an Irish club was either a shillelagh or the local.

                • Hogan

                  I was groping around for a syllabub joke, but this is so much better.

                • Warren Terra

                  topical, too.

            • drwormphd

              Turn the machines back on!

        • tsam

          I’ve organized my life in such a way that I should never run for any elected office ever.

          Huh–organized, eh? That’s what I’ll call what I did to my life from now on. Thanks!

          • Schadenboner

            And all this time I’ve been thinking the correct verb phrase was “drank away”.

            • Ted Kennedy is living pickled proof that a serious alcohol habit is no barrier to a career in politics.

  • Mike in DC

    I wonder if you could legally require massive extended severance packages for workers whose jobs get offshored, combined with hefty tax penalties for non-compliance. If employers had to pay two years severance to each worker, that would slow things down a bit.

  • Denverite

    I’m also not really sure the data shows what Kevin seems to think. I’m not spending the $5 to buy the underlying paper, so maybe they adjusted for this, but if population declined in local labor markets with increased import competition, even if the decline is small, that strikes me as pretty good evidence that a lot of people were moving. The US population grew almost 10% between 2000 and 2010.

    • Hogan

      I’ve just glanced through the paper, but it seems to talk in terms of workers being unable to move (and having no, or no good, alternatives in their local labor market), rather than being unwilling to move. And the most affected workers are the ones with the fewest and least transferable skills, and moving won’t help if the entire industry is getting hammered by cheap imports.

    • jam

      The author posted the underlying paper without a paywall here: https://gps.ucsd.edu/_files/faculty/hanson/hanson_research_china-trade.pdf

      My brief and non-technical read of it (I’d actually been looking at it last night) has most population data in terms of proportion, not absolute population.

  • Origami Isopod

    Thank you.

    The “Just move!” advice also treats communities as though they’re fungible and there is nothing special about any of them. I am certainly not a communitarian – I’m not terribly sociable, actually – but many people find emotional sustenance from their local communities. Also, there’s this thing called “a sense of place,” and some of us grow attached to the places we’re from or the places we’ve been living in for years.

    • Linnaeus

      It’s not just emotional sustenance – though I by no means want to downplay the importance of that – but there is also economic value in the relationships people form in these communities. Neighbors and friends provide things like child care, rides to work/doctor/school, etc. That makes a big difference in some people’s lives.

      • Origami Isopod

        That’s very true, and I should have noted it.

      • UserGoogol

        But ultimately, those are things the government should be providing, not community. The ideal (and I’m fully aware this isn’t a particularly viable legislative proposal except in an incremental form not even close to sufficient to fully replacing such communities) would for people to be for the government to provide people with the resources to flit through life moving from place to place without having to tie themselves down with social bonds. Even with emotional bonds… I wouldn’t expect the government to provide you with a friend, but there’s various things that could be done to assist people in that area.

        Although on the topic of incrementalism, if an incremental improvement to the welfare state (explicitly structured as relocation assistance even) could help some people move even if many others are still stuck in poor areas, that would still be helpful.

        • Linnaeus

          But ultimately, those are things the government should be providing, not community.

          The government doesn’t, though, so I don’t think it’s entirely fair to castigate people for being unwilling to break those relationships when it isn’t clear how they will be replaced.

          • UserGoogol

            Agreed.

          • Pat

            The government should be re-writing the corporate tax code to promote investment in the US.

            It’s one of the things I hope for in a Democratic sweep in 2016.

        • Jackov

          Have you read Bernie’s “Friends” plan?

      • ChrisTS

        There are also *real* health implications. Want to suffer extreme stress? Move to an unknown place with no connections and no prospects.

        No prospects among people you know/love is a hell of a lot better, health and life expectancy wise.

    • mds

      The “Just move!” advice also treats communities as though they’re fungible and there is nothing special about any of them.

      Yeah, there could be plenty of jobs going unfilled in plenty of places, but what if the places are shitty? I mean, I’ve been looking for work on a medium-term deadline, but I’m not exactly jumping at the chance to move to South Dakota, or Mississippi, or even Dallas. And if I were a more obvious member of an “out” group, wanted adequate access to women’s health care, etc., I’d really be leery. A quality** job in an area where basic civil rights aren’t being voted away on a daily basis is a more select subset … and often comes with a higher cost-of-living price tag, thanks to market demand.

      **Because if it’s just a WalMart-style disposable wage slave job, what happens if/when you lose that one? How many times are people supposed to move?

      • DAS

        Because if it’s just a WalMart-style disposable wage slave job, what happens if/when you lose that one? How many times are people supposed to move?

        The difference between the aristocrats of old and our current so-called capitalist overlords is that the aristocrats tied the serfs to the land and prevented them from moving while the capitalists would rather have their wage-serfs move from place to place as often as possible.

        • guthrie

          And the similarity is that in neither case is the worker free in any way. It’s work or starve, and the work part is rigged to favour the employer, I mean feudal overloard.

          • Linnaeus

            That’s why it’s neofeudalism.

    • Thirtyish

      I am certainly not a communitarian – I’m not terribly sociable, actually – but many people find emotional sustenance from their local communities. Also, there’s this thing called “a sense of place,” and some of us grow attached to the places we’re from or the places we’ve been living in for years.

      This. People often have a strong emotional attachment to their communities of origin that is a real, non-trivial thing. “Just move” demonstrates an appalling lack of empathy couched as “I’m just looking out for you” bullshit reasoning.

      • Origami Isopod

        an appalling lack of empathy

        ITYM “a lack of sentimentalism.”
        /Throttle Jerkoff

        • Thirtyish

          Well, making arguments that are identical in substance and style to those right-wing pundits make is TJ’s bread and butter.

    • Roberta

      Yeah, I’m no communitarian either. But even us unsociable types who aren’t super into community can have strong friendships with individuals who live near us. People develop meaningful relationships with other people. We are not portable tools to be moved at the will of employers, with no regard for what’s important to our lives.

      I’m tangentially reminded of an ancient post I saw on Digby’s blog, maybe a decade ago or more. It was about the origins of the words freedom and liberty, and how those concepts are interrelated. “Freedom” (according to this post) had the same root as “friend” and as the Sanskrit “priya”, which means “dear.” (No idea if this is true, but the post as a whole was conceptually interesting to me). Liberty was about self-governance, freedom was about being able to form relationships…and slaves had neither. They weren’t allowed to govern themselves and they weren’t allowed to really form relationships. Because their relationships could be severed at any time if the owner wanted to sell them or use them far away from their loved ones. Any relationship they had was secondary to what would benefit the owner.

      “Just move to where the jobs are” as a mandatory solution to economic problems is a watered-down version of this.

  • People who never worry about such trifles as where their next meal is coming from, how badly their lives will be wrecked if they get pregnant or whether a police officer will look at them and open fire, like to come up with all sorts of condescending, unhelpful, contradictory, obnoxious, moronic and just plain impossible to implement life solutions for people who do worry about such things.

    However, of all the condescending, unhelpful, contradictory, obnoxious, moronic and just plain impossible to implement solutions to ever rattle around some privileged git’s head, “Move,” comes in third after “Bootstraps!” and “Needs More Prayer.”

    This is the smartest, funniest, most depressing thing I’ve read all week.

    • tsam

      Good good stuff

  • Charrua

    I’d argue that the it’s precisely the loss of countrywide factory jobs that decreased labor mobility.
    Yes, US workers used to move in search for jobs more, but it’s a whole different ballgame moving to a place where a big factory has just opened than moving to a run of the mill city and then trying to find a job there.
    My guess is that past high labor mobility was very linked to that kind of expansion-relocation industrial projects and the loss of those jobs has left the USA labor mobility lower.

    • Rob in CT

      Other possible factors:

      2-income families (though these are probably the least likely to be in serious trouble) make people less likely to move if 1 of the 2 loses a job.

      Some people stay in jobs they might otherwise leave b/c of healthcare benefits, which also lowers mobility.

      Declining labor share of income + affordable housing crises in many of the cities that are actually seeing good job growth makes the move harder. Is there actually a good job at the end of the tunnel? If so, can you afford the rent?

      • Warren Terra

        Among the many other factors:

        Social and family networks; note these can be what makes living in depressed economic conditions possible (because of generosity, favors, and shared resources). You move hopign for work, you’ve got none of that backing you up.

        Home ownership. A lot of people in depressed communities might own their own home, or be heavily invested in trying to buy it. They move, they lose that. Similarly their claim on their parents’ home, etcetera.

        • Marek

          I can’t say I know whether there’s a higher proportion of home owners these days, but I feel pretty confident in saying there’s a higher entry cost to renting or owning than there used to be.

  • Murc

    A lot of the “Just move!” people say things like “my great-great-grandpappy crossed an ocean and half a continent to find a job, why can’t these folks do the same?”

    And it’s like… first of all, these are the very same people who advocate shooting immigrants on sight. But putting that aside… that was back in an era when unskilled labor was much more widespread and valuable than it is now, and those people moved in extremis; they often literally only had the clothes on their backs and their price of passage. And in many other situations they were recruited; American companies would send agents overseas to southern and eastern Europe specifically looking for immigrants to come work in their coal mines or factories, often with nefarious intentions. Plenty of Americans would be happy to move long distances if they had a guaranteed job at the end of it.

    I’m not unsympathetic to the idea that there are communities that need to shrivel up and die. That’s going to happen to a lot of coal country in the next fifty years, and probably to a lot of Alaska eventually as well. But I’m also in favor of, you know, the sort of robust social safety net that would make transitioning out of those communities a hell of a lot easier and painful. Conservatives are not.

    • mds

      Plenty of Americans would be happy to move long distances if they had a guaranteed job at the end of it.

      But if you move to North Dakota to become a long-haul trucker, as Tyler Cowen has previously advocated, it’s practically the same thing as a guaranteed job. Just look at all the want-ad listings! Only, don’t keep reading down to the part where you have to buy your own cab. Though if your current house is paid for, well, hey, you can sleep in the cab, too.

      • Not to mention employment in North Dakota is plummeting with the oil price decline. And that there wasn’t even housing for those workers in North Dakota.

        • mds

          Housing? What part of “you can sleep in the cab” did you not understand, Erik? Sheesh.

        • Lost Left Coaster

          Yeah, chasing around “easy come, easy go” jobs that depend on high resource prices and boom-and-bust cycles may not be the most rational decision for someone who has, say, a family to support, or is older than her/his mid-20s. It works for a very limited number of people. “Let’s all move to North Dakota and milk it while it lasts” is definitely not much of a plan for blue collar workers who need well-paying jobs.

          • tsam

            San Francisco is still around. QED

            • Hogan

              See also Denver.

              • Denverite

                OK.

                [looks out window]

                It’s snowing. Bad for the commute, good for weekend skiing.

          • Bill Murray

            “Let’s all move to North Dakota and milk it while it lasts” is definitely not much of a plan for blue collar workers who need well-paying jobs.

            It’s really for early 20s, single guys, living in their trucks, by what I observed the couple of times I was up around Williston

    • DAS

      I wonder how many people who talk about their great-grandfather being a destitute poor person who moved to escape violent persecution or to find a job know the actual story of their ancestors’ immigration?

      I do happen to know the story behind how one branch of my family came to the US. They weren’t escaping Cossacks or desperately poor. My great-great grandfather was, like many Jews, impressed into the Czar’s army. Except he did really well there* … the problem was that, his military career could not go anywhere unless he converted to Christianity, which he was not about to do. So he, his wife, his teenage daughter (my great-grandmother) and his teenage second-cousin once removed or whatever he was (in addition to being his daughter’s bf and later becoming my great-grandfather … don’t judge … that branch of the family lived in a swamp!) went to American where there was (more) religious freedom. They were not doing badly in the old country: the family were relatively prosperous blacksmiths/farriers. They just figured they could do better here, which turned out to be quite true.

      * he wormed his way into the Quartermaster’s corps, which is the most important place to be because armies march on their stomachs and need supplies besides. I suspect he had a little bit of a Milo Minderbinder scam going on or something.

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        My Jewish grandparents were wealthy enough to flee Germany and Austria-Hungary before things got too intense with the Nazis (just barely, though – my grandfather then had to leave the Netherlands in – I kid you not – a rowboat on the day the Germans invaded; his brother & their family were not as swift and didn’t make it out in time). “Why didn’t those 6 million just move?” is a question that will always vex me.

        • Rob in CT

          Wow. Row row row your boat, across the English Channel…

          • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

            It gets better: the rowboat was picked up by a British patrol, and he was classified as a POW & sent to a labor camp in Nova Scotia to chop wood alongside SS officers.

            • Jackov

              SS adjacent with an axe is a harsh sentence.

            • Rob in CT

              Holy fucking shit.

              Think about what Tarantino could do with that story.

        • Warren Terra

          “Why didn’t those 6 million just move?” is a question that will always vex me.

          Of course, over half of those were in Poland alone, and so had no opportunity to move. A fair number of German Jews saw what was happening, over the course of years, and fled (though many of those fled to other parts of Europe and so were rounded up later), but the majority of Jews killed in the Holocaust had no chance to emigrate but were instead swept up in the Nazi conquest of Europe.

          • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

            Yes – sorry if that last sentence was too dry. My grandparents knew exactly how fortunate they were & had quite a bit of survivor guilt as a result.

        • LeeEsq

          Most of the Jews really did want to move out of Europe but most places in the world wouldn’t take them. The United States, Canada, Australia, Israel/Palestine, New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, the United Kingdom, any anywhere else were cut off for the lot of them. The more things change, the more things stay the same.

          • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

            Yes. Yad Vashem has an amazing collection of artifacts pertaining to how most countries kept Jewish refugees out during the Nazi years. The most profound for me was an official cable from one of the Commonwealth countries (IIRC Australia – natch) to the effect of, “At present, Australia has no Jewish Problem, and has no desire to import one.”

            • LeeEsq

              This type of reasoning continued after the end of World War II. In the Penguin History of New Zealand, there is a quote from a New Zealand immigration officer on why they did not want Jewish immigrants. “The worst thing about the Jews is that they cringe and fawn when they are weak and bully and exploit when they have power…and there is always the Jew’s uncanny ability to see one move ahead of his competitors.” This was after the war ended and the reality of the Holocaust became known. Harry Truman had to fight with Congress for years to get them to allow the Jewish DPs that did not want to go to Israel into the United States.

      • efgoldman

        My great-great grandfather was, like many Jews, impressed into the Czar’s army.

        My grandfather and great uncle emigrated to avoid the Czar’s draft. They had exactly the same problem. Ironically their other brother became a general in the Soviet Army and a hero of the Battle of Leningrad in WW2. By then, the Rosicrucians or Druids could get ahead in the army by being competent and avoiding one purge or another. He retired and lived out his years into at least the 1960s.
        [There is also a never-confirmed story that Grandpa, who never raised his voice to anybody, was an anarchist bomb-maker who might have known Lenin. He emigrated to Boston ca. 1910. Grandma came from the interior of Ukraine or Belorussia, from a shtetl like the one romanticized in Fiddler on the Roof. They met and married here. Very unusual for a young woman at that time, she was literate in four languages and taught herself English.]

        • LeeEsq

          My Ashkenazi immigrant great-grandparents were very Orthodox and stayed so till they died. My Sephardic great-grandfather was avoiding a draft into the Ottoman Army around time time of the First Balkan War. He actually had to smuggle onto the ship.

          • efgoldman

            My Ashkenazi immigrant great-grandparents were very Orthodox

            Oh, my grandparents stayed orthodox and kept kosher, as did all of their six kids except my dad. They just did it in Boston instead of Russia.

            • EF?

              What makes “kosher for Passover” flavored seltzer different from other flavored seltzer?

              • Hogan

                What makes “kosher for Passover” flavored seltzer different from all other flavored seltzers?

                FTFY

              • DAS

                Do you really wanna know what the “natural flavors” are made from? Won’t it ruin the magic?

                Also, Passover kashruth is a lot stricter than regular kashruth because there is an absolute prohibition against anything that maybe, could be leavened. Thus you have to remove all potential traces of contamination from whatever assembly line your making the seltzer and all its ingredients before it can be kosher for Passover.

                Essentially Passover observance is spring cleaning run completely amok. And the problem is that after you clean, you end up eating Matzo which gets crumbs everywhere and undoes all the cleaning!

                • LeeEsq

                  The prohibition on kitniyot is really an Ashkenazi thing. Sephardim take a more lenient stance on the issue.

              • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

                The process that provides the CO2 involves grain somehow. That’s why there’s are KFP versions of most sodas.

                • Wow, no kidding.

                • Warren Terra

                  Corn syrup is officially not kosher-for-passover (it’s because wheat rises, and corn meal can be confused for wheat flour). Hence you get (most famously) Passover Coke made with cane sugar instead of corn syrup, and also other sodas, ketchup, etcetera.

                  This also applies to corn oil, so for example some brands of potato chip that use peanut oil are kosher-for-passover, while others that use corn oil are not.

      • Marek

        Tsar, please!

    • FMguru

      There’s also a strong Surivorship Bias in those great-great-grandfather came her with nothing stories. For every young man who came off the boat from County Cork with but a ha’penny in his pocket and made his fortune, there were several who did of scarlet fever or exposure or got knifed in their sleep, but their stories don’t get told as often.

      Yglesias was also pushing the “move to North Dakota, duh!” line for a good long time until about a year ago, when he suddenly stopped. Hmmm, I wonder why?

      • efgoldman

        there were several who did of scarlet fever

        My father, the oldest (b. 1915) survived scarlet fever as a toddler, but ended up 5’2″, while all the rest of his brothers were at least 5’10’.

  • wca

    On the other hand, you have an unwillingness to move when the local economy tanks, which is very much within the control of individual workers.

    This is the part of Drum’s post that is infuriating. As Shakezula points out, moving is almost not at all in the control of individual workers whose jobs evaporate. Looks like I didn’t pick the wrong week to stop readin’ Drum**.

    **Oh, it’s a pretty white plane with wheels and it looks like a big Tylenol! Oh, Boeing’s moving your assembly plant job to China, so collect your stuff and security will show you out. But you’ll be okay … just move to where the jobs are!

    • mutterc

      The way I understood Drum’s post was “People used to move for jobs and now they don’t. We should try to understand what’s different now.”

      My theory, FWIW: all jobs are short-term nowadays (even when not explicitly temporary), so why go to the trouble/expense/uncertainty of moving for a job (especially with a family), when the new job will probably just evaporate before long?

      • lizzie

        I think there’s a lot to this. Heck, even in my relatively privileged position, I’ve never really been all that keen on moving within my own metro area to be closer to a job, because what are the chances that that job will last long enough to make it worth it?

      • so-in-so

        Before WWII workers were less likely to own their home. Much easier to move from a rental – especially if the rental is owned by a former employer who is kicking you out.

      • Brett

        I think it’s housing. Americans are vastly more likely to own their own homes than 100 years ago, and moving out from a home in an economically devastated area is much more difficult than leaving a rented apartment. You’ve got all the trouble of trying to sell the home at a price where you’re not underwater on your mortgage, and potentially leaving a ton of equity behind in the process that you’ve built up for years if you have to sell it quick.

      • jam

        The way I understood Drum’s post was “People used to move for jobs and now they don’t. We should try to understand what’s different now.”

        He sure never got around to asking that question, and it’s hard to give him the benefit of the doubt when he introduced it with “It’s hard to know how to allocate blame here.” Is there some moral virtue in performing correct allocation of blame?

        A moment’s thought would demonstrate (for Drum) that material factors are different now from 30 years ago.

        Dual-income households are far more common now, and women (especially married women) work far more hours on average than in 1980. That shift means that relocating requires a family to replace two jobs rather than one.

        Increased home ownership adds expense and trouble to a move. It’s not easy to sell a home in an area with declining employment and declining industry.

        Declining manufacturing nationwide also means that there are fewer areas looking to hire displaced manufacturing workers. Retraining into a different economic sector is a nice idea, but it may not be practical, especially since you’ll have to compete with people already working in that sector.

    • Brett

      You don’t have to move all in one go. You send any young adults in the family, or one of the parents (assuming you’ve got grandparents back home who can help with child care) ahead to look for work in the nearest city without high unemployment, and then more gradually move everyone else out there.

      They’re probably not going to be jobs as good as the lost unionized manufacturing jobs, but they’ll probably be better than what you’ll find in a decaying former factory town/city.

      • Hogan

        assuming you’ve got grandparents back home who can help with child care

        That’s one hell of a can opener.

      • ironic irony

        Even if you send one spouse ahead, you then have to pay for TWO households. That gets expensive quickly.

  • rdennist

    Surely, they don’t have summer AND winter homes in economically distressed parts of the world?

    • Warren Terra

      Well, a lot of the most distressed parts of the world are quite equatorial. No summer or winter, so no summer or winter homes.

  • libarbarian

    whether a police officer will look at them and open fire,

    I’m sorry … I thought we were talking about white Trump voters. You know, the ones who consider BLM to be a “terrorist” group and think that the police shoot too slowly. Maybe you don’t know them, but I do. They DO NOT worry about getting shot by cops. They worry that the cops aren’t shooting enough “thugs”.

    Oh .. and out-and-out Nazis. Stop making excuses for Nazis.

    These writers are assholes but that doesn’t change the fact that the person who is blaming Mexicans for losing his job might not be responsible for his loss of a job but he is responsible for his bigotry.

    Taking pleasure in the revolt of the Trump Trash is Schadenfreude for fools. These people are not “revolting” because they are wking up to the fact that they have been fed a diet of bigoted lies that are not true. They are “revolting” because they realize that the Conservative Elite has been lying about sharing their bigotry. They are angry because the GOP Elite is only “Redlining”-racist and not “Lynching”-racist like them.

    I live in Trump country. I have heard them laughing about leaving trainloads of Mexicans in the desert to fend for themselves with no food or water. Stop making excuses for Nazis.

    • Rob in CT

      I think you misread the post.

      This is specifically about blaming people for not “moving where the jobs are.”

      The rest you brought into it.

      • Maybe liberbarian just wasn’t able to read the OP, but really wanted to raise a middle finger.

    • I’m sorry … I thought we were talking about white Trump voters

      Alas.

      Stop making excuses for Nazis.

      I’m almost interested in the thought process leading up to this statement.

      • DrDick

        I’m almost interested in the thought process leading up to this statement.

        Assumes facts not in evidence.

      • The “Trump Trump Trump” blathering is the giveaway as to the thought process.

        The hostility towards the notion of “1. Sanders 2. Trump” voters is increasingly manifesting itself as outright hatred of the white working class and anything that isn’t explicitly negative towards them.

        The day after Bernie Sanders made some anodyne statement about making an economics based appeal to anti-trade, pro-Trump voters, a once-respectable diarist wrote a piece titled “Appeal to Nazis and Klansmen? Hell No!”

        • Roberta

          Seriously. Bring up the economic element of Trumpism, and I get swarmed by people telling me, in no particular order, that I’m 1. downplaying racism, and 2. condescendingly dismissing Trumpies as having “false consciousness” and voting against their interests.

          Trump supporters generally have a real interest in racism. They also have real economic grievances, which are adding some serious fuel to their interest in racism. Saying this, and thinking of ways to use those economic grievances, is not excusing racism or pretending it doesn’t exist.

          • Trump supporters generally have a real interest in racism. They also have real economic grievances, which are adding some serious fuel to their interest in racism.

            The great irony is, the people denying this (such as the DKos figure I mentioned) are people who, in every other circumstance, are so very quick to insist that racist attitudes can certainly be found among people who don’t devote themselves to full-time ideological white supremacism. “You know,” sniff sniff, condescending tone, “There’s more to racism that burning crosses and giving white-power salutes.”

            Except this time.

  • DrDick

    Thanks for this, which addresses the central fallacy of the whole “why don’t they just move” idiocy. If they had the resources, they likely would have done so already.

    • Schadenboner

      I’ve backed the “move people” proposal in the past. The basis for it would have to be a government relocation program that would stand in loco familia (not sure about that translation). It would have to essentially act as a temporary social network until people could put down new roots and make new communities. The goal would be to get people into big cities with broad labor markets to prevent economic monoculture of the sort seen in the shitburgs we’re trying to close. This would also perhaps have a multiculturalizing effect on these previously homogenous social groups.

      It would be expansive and very very expensive (because you we obviously can’t force people to move, but we can incent them to do so). There would undoubtedly be a certain amount of malingering as well. This would have to be a New Deal style program, out of vogue with our current mode of progressive thought, paternalistic by design.

      All of this means, in our modern politics, that we will do nothing and these shitburg towns will continue to fester and rot. I predict the next McVeigh will be Appalachian.

      So yeah, get ready for another 30 years of economic decay, addiction, and despair in these shitburg, no-future towns.

      • DrDick

        We had one in this country from the 1950s up through the late 1960s, for Native Americans, and it was largely a total disaster.

      • Lee Rudolph

        I predict the next McVeigh will be Appalachian.

        Wasn’t Eric “no relation” Rudolph Appalachian (in the broad sense, at least)?

      • Srsly Dad Y

        government relocation program

        No, just no.

  • tsam

    They always say “MOVE” but they never say where. I know the easiest thing for a family to do is to move to an unfamiliar place and just start living there.

    • Warren Terra

      Obviously the displaced steelworkers of Youngstown should be getting faculty jobs in Ghana.

    • JustRuss

      This. If you’re going to say the answer to joblessness is “move”, you need to say where all these great jobs just waiting to be taken are. “Move to some random city and hope for the best” is a crappy plan.

  • Yankee

    How about what’s going to happen when those people get where they’re going? “Economic migrants” are the bad kind. The Great Migration was such a success story, was it. Impoverished landless Okies in California in the ’30’s. Syrians in Calais.

    … I don’t always think of Woody Guthrie as an instrumentalist, but good pickin’ on the link.

    • Linnaeus
    • sonamib

      To be fair, the Syrians don’t want to stay in Calais. They desperately want to go to the UK, where the job market is a lot better.

      • Yankee

        Lucky for them then, ’cause they’re not going to get to stay there.

        • sonamib

          The problem is the UK doesn’t really want them either.

  • Crusty

    This move crap also undermines most of what has been preached about stable communities and all kinds of crap like that. Among many, many, other issues, if everyone’s moving who’s going to take care of 1) old people, and 2) young people, aka children?

    • guthrie

      Strange how some conservaties talk up family values, whilst others do them down at every opportunity….

      • Hogan

        Not all families are valuable.

        • Warren Terra

          Always remember that the same crackers who bang on about “family values” to exert political power, a hundred-fifty years ago they used to literally appraise the market value of families (and of individuals), also to exert and as a consequence of political power. Went to war over it, too.

    • Brett

      As I said up-thread, you do what the Chinese migrant workers have been doing – one or both working adults go ahead for at least part of the year, kids stay behind with the grandparents until you’re in a position where you can bring them with you to the new area.

      • Brad Nailer

        That assumes Gramma and Grampa are into that, or are even capable of taking on that responsibility. That’s a big assumption.

        • tsam

          Or even alive still. But yeah–totally bitchin plan, bro.

  • Joe Bob the III

    Lingering effects of the housing market crash are still a big drag on the ability of many people to sell their house and relocate.

    There is currently a serious shortage of entry-level housing in the region I live in. It was found that, even though comparatively few people are still underwater on their mortgage, about 30% of homeowners do not have enough equity to finance a move. Real estate transaction fees and direct moving costs would be a large out-of-pocket cash expenditure if they were to move. Realtor fees would be about $13,000 on a median-price home here. Ergo, they are not putting their houses on the market, which is creating the shortage of entry-level housing.

    So, think about the people that “need” to move. Ask yourself how likely it is they have $13,000 for realtors/banks plus another few thousand for a long-distance movers. Those people aren’t going anywhere until there are a few more years of increases in home values.

    • Ruviana

      In the general ballpark of housing stock, there is NOWHERE IN THE U.S. where there are livable rental units that workers on a minimum wage salary can afford. I inserted “livable” because some landlords rent shacks and suchlike to minimum-wage workers. Not that you’d be able to save any money to move somewhere else anyway.

  • GFW

    For those who can’t read the original due to paywall … (and actually wish to)
    http://www.gopbriefingroom.com/index.php?topic=198401.0

    • Hogan

      I refuse to believe that a http://www.gopbriefingroom.com link is SFW.

      • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

        It’s safe now. But you don’t want to be around for the de-briefing.

  • John F

    However, of all the condescending, unhelpful, contradictory, obnoxious, moronic and just plain impossible to implement solutions to ever rattle around some privileged git’s head, “Move,” comes in third after “Bootstraps!” and “Needs More Prayer.”

    :-)

    If you are a [young or youngish] single male, with no family to support aside from yourself, “move” may under the right circumstances be both possible and helpful… And of course the guy’s perspective on these things is all that guys like Kevin W of Frenchie comprehend and have any empathy for…

    And of course since all white males in Kevin W or Frenchie’s worldview had a fair opportunity to “move” at some point in their lives before saddling themselves with a family of other obligations it is fair for them to say, “loser you should have moved when you had the chance”

  • Turkle

    I’m disappointed that more people don’t make the connection between the excellently-named “movementarianism” and the currant anti-migrant politics affecting Europe and the US.

    Like, these are people who are literally moving where the jobs, safety, and opportunity are, and of course they are resisted as foreign invaders by those that are trying (they think) to keep what’s theirs, theirs.

    Of course “movementarianism” is possible only because of a complete, staggering lack of empathy, but one would like to think that demanding that Americans just pick up and move where the sun shines a little brighter every time the custard hits the fan, then they might spare a little fellow-feeling for refugees and migrants from the third world.

    As if that’s likely.

    • tsam

      Like, these are people who are literally moving where the jobs, safety, and opportunity are, and of course they are resisted as foreign invaders by those that are trying (they think) to keep what’s theirs, theirs.

      That’s a great point. I hadn’t made that connection until now.

    • Rob in CT

      Yeah, a good point.

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  • lhartmann

    Thank you Shakes.

    If you’re not well off (read: most people) moving is hard. With what money? where are you going that you can stay? Drum, who is relatively ok, exhibits the attitude of someone who did not grow up in the rust belt as I did. I’ve been lucky, far more than most.

    “just move” is the kind of thing that upper-middle class or higher, academic economists say, without considering whether *they* would move under any similar circumstances – which of course they cannot imagine.

  • Eli Rabett

    Not everybody in a family moves together. Usually one goes ahead and gets settled, then sends for the others. Sometimes the total family move never happens. This was the pattern with European immigrants (Jews, Italians, Poles, etc) and also Asians and Hispanics.

    It also has been the pattern in the US. Dad moved to Florida in the depression and only came back during WWII to work in the shipyards.

    • nixnutz

      That’s how my mom’s family did it. Since she was the baby she got to stay with her mom in the home where she was a maid while the older kids shuffled between various orphanages for a few years until my grandfather could get to America.

      All I hear when people offer that as a solution to widespread human suffering is, “sure, they may have to suffer for a few years, or maybe forever, but it’s potentially less bad than the current situation, therefore we need not exhaust our precious empathy on them or seek any kind of meaningful solution as a society.”

      Sure, moving is often a good idea and people have been doing for eons but IMO that has very little to do with the meaning of the piece, which was “the poor have no one to blame but themselves”. I don’t know why so many people are playing “well, actually…” here.

      • sapient

        Honestly, let’s list who the poor are going to blame:\

        [infinity]

        We, as a society, should try to address poverty. Universal Basic Income, Minimum Wage, health care, food guarantees, housing guarantees: all that, I’m on board with. I’m on board with whatever makes it possible for the wealth of the country to be distributed more fairly among the populace.

        What I’m not in favor of is labor protectionism. I think that depriving developing countries of wealth is wrong. I am happy to revisit trade agreements to make them more environmentally responsible, and more attentive to labor rights. But too many people in other countries (and I’m thinking of China and Vietnam, where I’ve been) are more comfortable because of trade.

    • Lee Rudolph

      Not everybody in a family moves together. Usually one goes ahead and gets settled, then sends for the others. Sometimes the total family move never happens.

      And I gather that, sometimes, bigamous marriages have eventuated (usually in the new place, sometimes in the old, very rarely in both).

      • sapient

        Oh, the horror.

        • Lee Rudolph

          I expressed no horror, and felt none.

        • Wow. Pure, distilled male self-centeredness. I’m sure the wives left behind were totally consenting to bigamy in that situation.

          Why can’t you just let men be free, baby?

      • N__B

        There’s a moment in Enemies where Herman is in the subway and he can’t remember which wife he’s supposed to be going home to and therefore which train he should be taking.

    • Bruce B.

      I’d like to see a list of places that one or two young guys can move, get (presumably) unskilled labor, and make enough to have any to send to the family back home.

      • Eli Rabett

        Not hard if you bunk with 15 other guys. Remittances to Mexico alone from the US amount to about 25 Billion.

        • janitor_of_lunacy

          Remittances, or sending one or two members ahead to make some money while supporting (in large part) the family left behind makes a lot of sense when moving from a place with a standard of living if 50% or less (often 10% or less) of the target location. If you can move and get a job paying X in a location, and the rest of your family is in a location where they can be supported on X/5, remittances work, as does keeping the job paying X until you get a raise/promotion/new job and make X*1.5 and can now afford to pay for your family to live with you. That works for moving from the Philippines to the US. It used to work in the US (and still does, I’m sure, in many countries) when moving from the farm to the big city. But it probably doesn’t work too well within the US.

  • Whidby

    Actually, “just move” is pretty good advice for people in those situations.’

    It worked for me.

    Is it possible for everyone? No. But it is possible for many if not most people.

    • sapient

      i admire you, Whidby. In fact, it is an option. Some people can’t do it. Some people don’t want to do it. But it is an option, and some people should do it.

    • BruceJ

      “It worked for me”

      What an amazing collection of hand-curated, locally-sourced artisanal data you have there!

      It worked for me! so it should work for most people! Look it worked for the Joads!

      Let’s see what I gots in me pocket

      • Whidby

        Bruce J

        I realize that you’re working hard to sound clever, but you actually just inadvertently made my point. What did poor folks do when everything went to shit during the depression?

        They moved! It worked for them.

        I guess your approach is, hey, lets just sit on our ass in this depressed, oxy and heroin addicted town with 15 or 20% unemployment and wait until the good times come back.
        No doubt you would have been counseling black folks not to participate in the great migration – just stick it out and any day now racism in Mississippi and Alabama is going to go away.

        • Linnaeus

          I guess your approach is, hey, lets just sit on our ass in this depressed, oxy and heroin addicted town with 15 or 20% unemployment and wait until the good times come back.
          No doubt you would have been counseling black folks not to participate in the great migration – just stick it out and any day now racism in Mississippi and Alabama is going to go away.

          No one’s arguing that here, at least from what I can see. Moving can be a solution; I did it myself (for school rather than a job, and I ended up just staying). What people are reacting to – rightly, in my view – is the overly simplistic proposal for moving as a solution without taking into account the factors that might impede someone from doing so.

          • Whidby

            I mostly agree with you but I think that the position advanced in the OP and several commenters is a bit more, um, hardened than that.

            The argument seems to be: It isn’t just the old and families can’t move. No, even “Individual workers,” can’t move because they have “relationships and attachments” you see. Nobody can ever move. It’s just too hard. To which I say: Bullshit.

            • Ronan

              This was partly my reading aswell. I thought the op was a little overdetermined (Or could have teased it out more)

            • nixnutz

              But the article that’s referenced is about letting whole communities die. The fact that some people can get out is not in dispute, but since that fact is being used to dismiss any concerns for those left behind your “it worked for me” comes off as supporting that view.

            • Nobody can ever move.

              Nope. You’re not understanding.

              Everybody can’t move. Only, in even the best of circumstances, some can move. And that’s no answer, beyond the level of a few lucky ones, because there is still everybody else.

              • sapient

                And the answer is ….

                • …clearly not “Why don’t they all just move?”

                  Seriously, what the hell kind of a question is that? “Tell me how to solve entrenched poverty and the decline of communities suffering from dislocation, or you can’t talk about why glib little anecdotes and condescension aren’t good answers.”

                • …vastly larger than the movement of a small, particularly mobile fraction of the community.

                  …unique to each given community.

                  …something that requires, on both practical and moral consideration, the involvement of community stakeholders in designing a solution for themselves and their community.

                  …a collective one, not “every man for himself.”

                • No, seriously, the answer is, “Screw you, I got mine.” Isn’t it always?

        • Thirtyish

          I guess your approach is, hey, lets just sit on our ass in this depressed, oxy and heroin addicted town with 15 or 20% unemployment and wait until the good times come back.
          No doubt you would have been counseling black folks not to participate in the great migration – just stick it out and any day now racism in Mississippi and Alabama is going to go away.

          Well that descent into trolling happened fast.

    • Hogan

      those situations

      The nice thing about high levels of abstraction is that you get to look down on so many people.

      • Whidby

        I’m intimately familiar with some of the circumstances described. I lived them. It’s not an abstraction for me.

        I reckon you can just go fuck yourself.

        You don’t know me.

        • sapient

          Thank you, Whidby. I have to say that a lot of people here are so self-absorbed that they don’t realize that some people here could be the folks they’re talking about. Maybe they think they’re whispering?

          • Whidby

            It is interesting that what is an accepted part of life for many middle class people is presumed to be just an impossibility for teh poors.

            As in: people go to college 500 miles away from home and then send out resumes to Chicago, NYC, SF, Seattle, etc. and get the best job you can is a well-worn career path. But how dare you suggest that teh poor venture beyond Logan County WV or Detroit? How dare you?

            (And, let me just insert a little preemptive fuck you in here for shitheads like Hogan who are already ratcheting up to tell me about how teh poors don’t have the same resources, education, contacts, money, support as all those relocated college kids: No duh. Thank you for sharing the brilliant insight that life is hard as shit for people at the bottom.)

            • Linnaeus

              It isn’t the suggestion that poor people could move to improve their situation, it’s the scolding of them if they don’t. Which I’m not saying that you’re doing, but folks like Williamson over at NRO do. That’s not helpful.

            • So I guess everyone you know got out, too, huh? Or maybe you tell yourself they just don’t have your virtues.

              Or maybe you managed to fit through a very narrow door, and you know damn well in your honest moments that that’s no answer to the problems back home.

        • Hogan

          people in those situations.

          I’m intimately familiar with some of the circumstances described.

          You see the difference.

          I reckon you can just go fuck yourself.

          Taken under advisement.

          You don’t know me.

          This is true.

    • tsam

      Couch to the den? Well played, sir.

    • Bruce B.

      When did you do that? I don’t mean this confrontationally, I’m genuinely curious.

  • FinnMacCool

    ‘On the one hand, you have the big macroeconomic environmental effect of a growing trade deficit warming ocean, which is outside the control of individual workers homeowners. On the other hand, you have an unwillingness to move when the local economy tanks tides rise, which is very much within the control of individual worker homeowners.’
    -NRO Feb 2026 issue.

    Why, yes! I do have precognition. And, no. I’m not a Scottish lawyer.

  • Marek

    Great post.

  • rmgosselin

    “Picking up and moving on”–aka The Frontier–is the great American myth, and it was over long before Grapes of Wrath called out its bullshit.

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  • Eli Rabett

    Here in DC there is another common variation. A large number of guys from WV pile into vans in the middle of the night (like 3 AM or so) and head to DC to work on renovations, etc. They do this 3 or 4 days a week

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