Thursday, September 20, 2018

Happiness by State in the US, 2018

A study done by Wallethub (their image below) using their own 31-factor happiness index shows the Bad Stripe, along with a few other interesting patterns.

1) The Bad Stripe (West Virgina, Kentucky and Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma) is evident as a negative outlier as usual. These make up 6 of the bottom 11. For fans of Albion's Seed, this is where the Reavers are, i.e. Greater Appalachia. This also shows the limitation of a state-level analysis. There is significant structure within the states. Pennsylvania's southwest if taken separately would very likely look like West Virginia. The southeast if taken separately would be much more like New York and New Jersey. Same thing for Missouri - the northern part of the state is likely more like the Upper Midwest, and the southern part is the Ozarks, part of the Bad Stripe and more like Arkansas.

2) The Upper Midwest and Utah stand out as positive outliers, as usual. Moynihan's Law - is it the result of Yankee settlers (again Albion's Seed), non-British Isles North European immigrants, or some combination? (Map below from Wiki on German Ancestry in the USA and Canada.)

3) Very interesting that two demographically similar states like the Carolinas could be so different in this rating. North Carolina has done better economically than South Carolina, and culturally does tend to move in sync with Virgina (perhaps most famously in the 2008 presidential election predicted by Nate Silver) - which makes sense because South Carolina was largely settled from Georgia initially, and North Carolina from Virginia. Still, they're not THAT different, and they have a very different happiness outcome.

4) I can't argue for similar historical links to the Reavers for Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, who as always fare very poorly. You'll have to develop your own theory for that!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Patterns that Emerge In Both Social Conservatives and Social Liberals

The American left is beginning to curiously resemble the right - not in its positions, but in dynamics and behavior. I can't quite say "mirror" unless we're talking about a tinted fun-house mirror, because it's not the specific concrete positions of the left that resemble those of social conservatives, but rather the social dynamics and patterns of the discussions about these concrete positions that are becoming so bizarrely similar. I use "social leftist" rather than liberal or social liberal because a clear division has emerged. What I mean by this term is a group of American progressives more focused on race and gender issues than the average liberal, active and strident on social media, and demanding removal of platforms and free speech protections for political opponents. Conservatives have traditionally been divided among social, nationalist and economic conservatives ("God, country and market") and the cracks inside the GOP show these tectonic segments. The Democratic party of the late twentieth century was more divided among identity politics lines (which we're now paying for; more on this in a second) but the Dems are not immune to the realignments in American politics either, and what's emerging is something I think very like the traditional divisions within the GOP. And what's more, these divisions mirror the old GOP fault lines, for reasons of basic psychology, and similar dynamics emerge.

For the past one or two decades there has been a growing awareness that each person's political positions are strongly influenced - maybe even dominated - by our temperament. This is in turn determined by genetics (yes, really) and our early life experiences and cultural programming, none of which is within our conscious control. This is actually quite a depressing reality since in a democracy, we hope that we can change our minds about politics based on reasoning about new information, as opposed to psychotherapy or genetic engineering. The psychologist Jonathan Haidt founded the field of moral foundations theory, showing that all humans base their moral sense on five dimensions - care/harm, sanctity/purity, authority/respect, loyalty, and fairness. Only a truly disordered or feral mind ignores any of them completely. Where we differ is in the importance we assign to each. Not only do humans differ significantly, we tend to fall into clusters. Given the nature of those moral dimensions, you can already imagine how this might sort us politically, and indeed there are clear differences in which of those dimensions liberals and conservatives value.[1] This is why you can travel to other countries with open political systems and instinctively figure out who the conservatives and liberals are by talking to or seeing the kinds of people in each party, although the concrete coalitions on-the-ground that in make political engines run in the real world can mask this from time to time.[2]

And this is what's so interesting about the social left, because it's diverging from "traditional" American liberals in its emphasis on certain values that historically have been conspicuously unimportant to American liberals. What follows is an analysis of the social left's behavior and what this tells us about those emerging value differences, an explanation of the concrete moving parts in the psychology of social leftists, and a demonstration of the parallels to social conservatives.

1) Social conservatives and the social left tend to take positions that resemble tribal affiliations or identity, and any effort to reason coolly about them meets with outrage. Social conservatives and the social left seem to think that if (people stopped having casual sex and abortions, or the white power structure was destroyed) that suddenly all the world's problems would be solved, and are quite offended when asked to objectively, quantitatively measure the harms that these claimed evils are causing. People in the social arm of both ends of the spectrum tend to be much more insular and extreme. Interestingly, libertarians have a much easier time getting along with more economic leftists and rightists alike. This may be what it necessarily looks like when values which people on right and left confuse politics with uncompromise-able cultural and/or moral values, and I suspect that it's the tribal identity and in-group thinking this engenders that explains why the social arms of political affiliations demonstrate these patterns. That this would emerge in the social left is not surprising given the ongoing focus on the left on identity politics, so that now these political affiliations are associated with ethnicity and unfortunately even more set in stone, but now that here is unfortunately a white identity politics on the social right, the parallels are striking.[3]

2) While both conservatives and liberals value the care/harm value foundation, it's much more important to liberals and much more abstract, and this is exaggerated on the social left. That is, conservatives focus on active harm done to one's concrete in-group, especially family; for liberals, it can be mere absence of caring for other humans that you've never met. In fact not actively caring for certain people is constantly conflated with actively harming them. Witness the meme virtue signaling, "If you can't understand why you should care about other people, you're beyond help", usually with a conservative response having to do with neglecting one's concrete in-group peers "maybe you should take care of your kids first", etc. Many conservatives and libertarians are at best puzzled by the liberal fixation with others having a right to be cared about, and sometimes outraged at the presumptuous demand to care about strangers this places on them. The social left in particular demonizes not caring enough, and the care should be self-sacrificial of any claim to morality or authority if the obligated carer is far enough below the care-ee in the victim hierarchy.

3) The social left's extreme focus on the harm/care foundation is reinforced by the use of outrage as moral currency, and in this closely imitates social conservatives. That is, the public profession of negative affect as a sign that one has the right values, has them so much a part of their identity that threatening them causes such a strong reaction, and that this reaction will motivate the person to work in service to the tribe. Negative affect also includes sadness but sadness is a weakening emotion, and if you're using this for a status display to appear high-status to others in the tribe, negative affect mostly has to be anger.

4) A result of outrage as moral currency and well-spring of status is that any attempt by an outgroup to decrease the outrage, even by apologizing and reversing exactly the act/position/statement that incurred the outrage to begin with, will meet with even greater outrage. An outsider trying to decrease anger is profoundly threatening, because they're essentially shutting off the status-ATM that the outraged person is getting rich from. This is why apologies to either the social right or especially social left are inadvisable, because they don't ever work - in fact they cannot.

5) Among social conservatives, the outrage factory's fuel is threat to authority and sanctity, which are not as important to traditional liberals, but are important to social leftists. "Normal" liberals can get angry when conservatives don't care enough, but they don't typically appeal to personal authority or the sanctity of an abstract entity, whether it's a group of people or a symbol.[4] Point out an inconsistency in the Bible to an American social conservative, and you know what will happen. But the same will happen if you to the same with Marx or Linda Sarsour to a social leftist. (Try to quote them in support of your position and the reaction may be even worse - see #9 below.) The "victimhood hierarcy" and the groups of people in it (the groups - not the individuals, but the abstract groups) are all-important to the social left as sacred. To the social left, none of the very real historical tragedies can ever be truly corrected and to suggest concrete policies that might actually do that produce explosions of outrage, because you're dissolving the central sacred object. Imagine you invent a time machine and go to the Pope, offering to go back and stop the crucifiction of his beloved savior from taking place. His reaction won't be an immediate "yes", will it? (Smartass atheists that point out to Christians that they should be thankful to Pontius Pilate for facilitating Christ's sacrifice get the same reaction as traditional liberals who suggest to the social left that slavery reparations and affirmative action should actually really-and-truly correct the impact of slavery and racism on African-Americans.) I suspect that there is a feedback loop once any group (political or otherwise) begins to see itself as a tribe, as a group per se, and separate itself from outsiders, that induces a focus on and strengthening of authorities and sacred objects. (As opposed to a bête noire, we might call those authorities and sacred entities "white beasts". The anti-parallelism of the term makes it better than "sacred cow.")

6) Just pointing out the inviolability of authority or sanctity of the white beasts of social rightists or leftists raises blood pressure, because it draws attention to their unquestionability and implies that it's possible for these things NOT to have authority or be sacred. ("I'm not disagreeing, just trying to understand. So this cracker actually IS the body of your god?" "Wait, why do black trans women have it worse than white gay men?") Many on the social left argue that some people are just so far outside the victim hierarchy that they can never really be considered to be oppressed, and if you suggest otherwise or keep asking questions, it's because you're morally bad. E.g., point out that maybe a broke single mother of four in Appalachia with a tenth-grade education is oppressed in some ways, and you'll be called a racist, and told of course you believe that because you're white (or male, or straight, whatever.) Here you are, a heathen, telling a Christian "Come on guys, actually getting crucified doesn't hurt THAT bad, and anyway the gospels aren't really that well-written." Again, this is the social left's reaction. Traditional liberals might disagree with you on something, but are likely to try to explain it instead of telling you that you're a dirty sinner and to shut up.

7) The social left's demand for censorship of dissenting voices over the past few years (both defectors and traditional opponents) is another sign of the appeal to authority previously unusual among traditional liberals. And consistent with the theory, the argument is that free speech on the right harms the most valuable people in the sacred victim hierarchy. So far the main authority where they'e been able to exert influence is universities. This is probably the behavior that contrasts the most with traditional liberal temperament and not surprisingly troubles traditional liberals the most. (And outraged social leftists - if you've gotten this far in the post, it's worth pointing out that when free speech does get restricted, it's never an intellectual or artist who's enforcing it based on just principles - see: Trotsky vs Stalin - it's the local J. Edgar Hoover or Donald Trump, deciding what offends his personal authority and taste. By demanding a roll-back of speech freedoms you're giving Trump what he wants - if not tomorrow, then next week.)

8) Outrage-as-status-currency makes it very hard for social leftists or rightists to "come in from the cold". They're only as good as their last expression of angry moral contempt. If they stop doing this, they become turncoats to the movement, inauthentic people willing to actually engage with the other side and get moral cooties. Think of a rebel leader who might not really want the civil war in his country to end, because his skillset is limited to organizing violence, and does not include drafting constitutions or getting elected to public office. (Think of the absurdity - someone fighting to get rid of the old guard, because of their entrenched interested, doesn't want the fight to end.) Turncoats are often met with more anger and derision than those who've been in the outgroup the whole time.

9) Among tribal thinkers including social conservatives and leftists, beliefs usually serve more importantly as markers of tribal loyalty than as tools to make decisions (which in politics means policy.) Even though a social leftist or conservative might say with desperate passion that they wish the government would do X - goodness forbid that a political opponent actually does X! Although a rational person would say "Good, I'm glad we got through to somebody - even though I disagree with X on everything else, at least we're moving forward on this one thing." But that's not what happens is it? No, the appropriation of a sacred value is also profoundly threatening to the moral authority of tribalist thinking. At first the outrage is that the opponent says they will do X but won't really do it, or is doing it for the wrong reasons (so what?) And then, when X actually does come to pass, strangely the tribalists aren't so interested in talking about it anymore. Witness the inexplicable anger from the left at Obama's switch to supporting marriage equality, or the irrational grumbling from the right at Bill Clinton's embrace of certain business-friendly practices. And I understand the tendency. (A self-disclosure gives a current example - Trump is the worst president we've ever had and the sooner he's gone, the better. But his administration just proposed decreasing business tax reporting from quarterly to semi-annually. I have to admit this isn't a bad idea. And yet I still feel the urge to say that he's probably just saying it and won't really put it through, that the idea probably didn't come from him, or if it did he probably has some personal tax angle on it, etc. - but it's still a good idea.)

10) It's useful to notice the specific kinds of people who've served as canaries in the political coal mine who have first noticed the curious behavior of social leftists, relative to traditional liberals - especially when the canaries are actually social liberals themselves! These people are a) little-l libertarians (who argue with their traditional liberal friends about economics but are usually on board with social issues), b) atheists (the majority of whom are at least socially liberal) and c) traditional centrist liberals. Centrist liberals are low on the authority and sanctity dimensions, as are atheists; the censorship and inability to question social leftists in good faith troubles them (even centrist-liberal Obama addressed this while he was in office.) Little-l libertarians are in addition low on the care dimension, and they resent being told who they have to help (which costs money); unlike many conservatives, libertarians have no problem with marriage equality for example, but being told they have to use certain pronouns and can't ask why certainly rubs them the wrong way. And these groups of people are increasingly pointing out the uncomfortable disconnects in social leftists' viewpoints, which of course social leftists will not explore or tolerate having questioned or pointed out. Chiefly among them is the double-standard where Christians (you would think, according to the leftists are the only oppressors of women and LGBTQ people, which puts social leftists in the bizarre position of defending the most oppressive backward and medieval religion in the world (amazingly, atheists who criticize Islam become oppressor imperialists in this narrative.) Another example which is gaining traction is the discrimination by elite colleges against Asian applicants, uncomfortable to social leftists for several reasons. First, the university is the leftists' natural home and the one place where they actually do exert any authority. Second, that there ARE elite universities which perpetuate class divisions in fact more effectively than the business world or even the racially well-integrated armed forces is not a welcome topic of inquiry. And third, that there exists an ethnic minority with its own history of institutionalized oppression (Asian-Americans) who have nonetheless succeeded superlatively in the U.S. - moreso economically than whites - cannot be acknowledged without threatening the whole edifice, along with the fact that universities are now unique among American institutions in stating openly that they discriminate against non-whites in admissions.

Unfortunately for the authoritarians of the right or left, their white beasts are in fact quite open to discussion, no matter how offended they might get.[5] People on the left, in terms of organization their people around strong central authority, often sigh and make comments about herding cats. That lack of unity is core to the psychology of people drawn to the left and has always been the left's main obstacle to power, and I suspect that this newfound authoritarianism on the social left is too unstable to last very long.


[1] There are also temperament differences between liberals and conservatives, related to the moral foundations; for example, conservatives tend to be more anxious, which could be argued is related to the conservative feature of considering authority more important. Autonomy is nice but if you're constantly under threat, you give some away to a strong protector.

[2] There may be an argument that bizarre coalitions make for less bitter politics. From the Civil War until Nixon's Southern strategy turned the blue South red, the U.S. actually had quite an odd coalition in each of its parties. The Democrats had Northern ethnic-minority labor unions and conservative Southerners (still amazingly enough voting with the unions out of spite at Abraham Lincoln.) The Republican party had Northern business and Southern minorities. This could only have lasted as long as it did in a two-party system, but Nixon recognized the fundamental mismatch that this accident of history had produced, especially obvious after the Johnson-Goldwater inversion of the electoral map in 1964. Since the Southern strategy our map in the East has looked much more like a Civil War map and the rest is an urban-rural divide and the tone of our politics has changed for the worse since then, because the parties identify more closely with immutable sociodemographic categories.

[3] You might ask, if identity politics was an earlier central influence on the left than the right, why the social left didn't emerge first. I think it has to do with access to public platforms. Before the internet era, right-wing white Christians, aligned as they were the business establishment, had more cash and therefore easier access to platforms than the left, which was relegated to a few magazines circulating in particular communities. That is to say, blame the internet. Today the right has both FOX and a lot of people on Twitter, while the left is still mostly online (MSNBC is not remotely the FOX of the left and is in any event a recent arrival.)

[4] Authority is about valuing without question, bargaining, or deliberate interpretation the word of a human. Sanctity is about doing the same for an abstract entity, which could be a symbolic physical object (e.g. the flag) or a people (e.g. the LGBTQ community.) As a result of this observation, I would bet that these two are the most closely related pair out of all possible pairs in his system.

[5] The rhetorical hostility of outrage-driven movements is easily hacked. In the same way that being the first to question a social conservative's conservative credentials will initially outrage then cow them (you can explain that you brought it up first because you're the real conservative, and now the other person is trying to explain, just like a mealy-mouthed liberal would!), when talking to a social leftist, always call them a racist immediately in the debate. They'll try to argue they're not, just like a racist would! Try it, it actually works - and in so doing, you'll be eroding the tactic's usefulness.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Dry Counties - Roughly Track the Bad Stripe

Above, map of dry counties in the US (Wiki.) Compare to one of many Bad Stripe maps, a map of Well-Being, below. This stripe pops out on various maps as a coherent region of the US ("Greater Appalachia") with various unique cultural characteristics and poor human development characteristics, here.

How America Uses Its Land

Full map with all use-types here.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Our Future: Trading Reliability for Power

I've often heard people 40+ grumble in the following way about modern communication technology: "Yeah email and text and voicemail and all that are great. But in 1982, you called a number, and either the person answered, or they didn't. There was no 'Oh your text got buried,' 'It must've gone into my spam folder,' et cetera." (All the more annoying because they're all plausible excuses.) Having all these technologies makes our reach much greater, but ironically, much less reliable.

If you're not sure this is such a great trade, it's worth thinking about, because something similar is increasingly happening with public services. Startups are replacing a lot of the services that local government typically provides in the U.S. - e.g., information reporting for state governments (traffic light is out at Third and Grant), DMV appointments, metro bus routes, trash collection, etc. Yes, sometimes those services are already spotty. The concern is that with, say, trash collection, barring gross dereliction of duty, I know the majority of days they'll get my trash, I know who to call if they miss it, and I know next week and next month and next year it'll be my city that's doing it. In a truly efficient market, there's no guarantee that if Startup A is doing it this week that they'll be doing it next year - yes, Startup B might replace them because it's doing a better job, but with that marginal improvement comes a whole lot of friction - a new schedule, new rules to learn, etc. This is a cost which, in making this trade, I don't think is adequately appreciated. It's already enough of a pain that you have certain friends eat up your bandwidth remembering which media platform is the one the check regularly. Expand this to other domains in life, and pretty soon all you're doing is keeping lists, which change constantly.

The analogy: you have to choose between being Clark Kent who can bench a respectable 400 lbs any day of the week, vs Superman. The catch is that 20% of the time Superman is sick in bed with kryptonite flu and you never know when that will be, and the medicine for kryptonite flu is constantly sold at different pharmacies and his health insurance changes unpredictably.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Low Rainfall Predicts Assassination of Roman Emperors

Paper here, from Christian and Elbourne in Economics Letters, H/T Marginal Revolution. Nice to see a rigorous quantitative paper show the association, although it's not surprising - a simple model of Roman political history is that since there was no formal succession rule, the Emperor had to keep the army satisfied through pay and morale (successful conquest.) Low rainfall leads to starving troops in the provinces leads to a desire for a new emperor and assassination.

Interestingly enough, in 2010 Haber and Menaldo showed that democracies cluster in areas of moderate rainfall, and autocracies cluster in deserts, semi-arid areas, and the tropics. If we assume stability produces a tendency toward democracy, this is consistent with ancient Rome's experience. After all, much of Rome's territory was semi-arid areas.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Pennsylvania Economic Growth - Appalachia vs the Urban Northeast, Together in One State

There's a report out from Alter, Fuller, Sontheimer and Seigworth at Penn State, with good summary coverage by Jeff McGaw at the Reading Eagle. It shows how there are really two Pennsylvanias, economically speaking. While this isn't surprising, the degree and timing of the divergence is.

Besides being my home state, Pennsylvania might interest you because it's a swing state, which is in turn directly related to the mix of cultures and economies that comprise it. Pennsylvania is part Northeast/Mid-Atlantic, part inner Midwest/Rustbelt, and - often ignored, but quite important in these numbers - part Appalachia. Overall the state is lagging all of its Northeastern neighbors except for one (more on that in a second), because Pennsylvania's numbers are an average of two regions - the sucessful region (Philly and southeastern PA, which have done quite well after the 2008 recession) and then the rest of the state.

You can see the figures at the report and article, but here are two instructive maps. The top is the county-level 2016 presidential election data. On the bottom is (from Alter et al's article) county resident employment in the post-recession period 2008-2016. Even if you don't know PA geography, the resemblance is obvious.

It turns out the only state that Pennsylvania beats in the Northeast group is West Virginia. That's not a coincidence. The central-and-western PA counties have numbers that look remarkably similar to West Virginia's post-recession numbers in terms of jobs lost and unemployment, but when averaged with Philly and suburbs, these quite-bad numbers are obscured and you end up with one mediocre-looking state, instead of a very depressed large rural region, and a very successful metropolitan area. West Virginia comes across as struggling much more clearly, because it's the only state entirely within the Appalachians. (The Bad Stripe, a demographic region of bad quality-of-life and human development indicators, roughly corresponds to "Greater Appalachia" and does extend a bit into Pennsylvania.)

So these maps tell two stories. First, it's a cliche of campaign strategists and the cultural commentariat that Pennsylvania is "Philly on one end, Pittsburgh on the other, and Alabama in between." But that's not exactly right. Pennsylvania is Appalachia, with Philly and suburbs in one corner. And remember all those angry unemployed coal miners we've heard so much about? They live in Appalachia. Second, the late 90s/early aughts began the renaissance of the Northeastern American city, and even the recession couldn't stop that positive momentum. The divergence you see in these numbers and maps of Pennsylvania is both these stories, playing out in the same state and hidden by being averaged together.

The problem is that coal has been dead in PA for decades, and many of the people demanding its return at this point have never even worked in the industry - more likely, their fathers did, and that's what they view as important valuable work. It's a cultural problem. We all know that coal is not coming back and that it has everything to do with changing technology and nothing to do with regulations, a narrative that people in this part of the country have a hard time accepting. (Abstract economic forces are much harder to viscerally hate than bad people hurting you by design.) What's worse, the big cities like Philly, filled with untrustworthy people unlike you, have come roaring back; worse still, this happened just as media became all-pervasive and started constantly reminding you that these people look down their nose at you. Att least before, you might have been unemployed and living in Clearfield County, without being constantly reminded you were on the bottom of a status hierarchy that was exactly inverted, with the most immoral people at the top.[1]

The reality is, for all us blue-staters in the suburbs and cities, these numbers show you that even though your suburb might be getting better all the time, things really are bad out there in the hinterlands, and this is why they were so desperate for a change they voted for Trump. And they're going to vote for Trump again as long as we don't show some solidarity with our countrymen and ignore their problems or even dismiss them with active contempt,[2] which I admit I've been tempted to do myself. It may be taking a while for people to accept that coal is dead, but it's certainly not their fault. I don't have a clear policy prescription for how to help life get better in interior Pennsylvania, but taking people's problems seriously seems like a good place to start - which I deeply hope the Democrats can do in 2018 and 2020, or Trump will get re-elected.

[1] Many people called the 2008 recession a "man-cession", with men disproportionately hit relative to women. Nowhere was this more likely to be true than Pennsylvania, with effects lingering until today. Construction and construction-adjacent industries were propped up by capital flowing in from the cities, and now that those easy loans have dried up, construction isn't coming back either. This region is part of the "health belt", because it has an overabundance of older people, and the one source of capital coming into this region that has grown is Federal dollars in the form of Medicare disbursements. Therefore, many of the un- and under-employed men in the regions lost their construction-related jobs, and have wives working in nursing or other healthcare fields who became the breadwinners, a final slap in the face for many men in the region.

[2] More than once, both online and in person, I've seen urban and suburban centrists or liberals express sympathy for the plight of people in another country whose luck went south when the local mineral deposit was played out, then in the same conversation, say about fellow Americans essentially, "Coal is dead, get over it losers." If Democrats want to win elections at some point, this attitude has to stop, because human beings are good at detecting contempt - especially ones going through tough times - and they don't react well to it.

[3] Mountainous regions tend to be poorer than non-mountainous regions because it's hard to grow crops there - and the difficulty of agriculture means little opportunity for a service economy to develop on top of a farming and trading population. There are exceptions to the rule (e.g. Jackson, WY) but those are based on outside capital brought in by wealthy in-migrants or tourists in recent times. Out of curiosity I looked at Colorado to see if a similar relationship exists between election returns, economics and mountains, as in PA (the eastern half of CO is flat prairie and the western half is the Rockies.) Eyeballing it, there may be some pattern, but certainly not as clear as for PA. Speculatively, it could be that PA's mountains are smaller, and have been settled for (generations) longer, therefore producing an actual population that shows the impact of "bad mountain economies" - as opposed to CO, which has a much more thinly scattered population and may be more mobile relative to what resources there are. Concretely: a coal mine opens in the PA Appalachians in 1850 and a town grows up around it, which doesn't just evaporate when the mine is played out by 1970 - by this point the families have been there for generations, and the climate isn't so harsh, and leaving just isn't really considered. (Although counter to my theory, there are ghost towns in PA.) Versus CO, where an unobtainium mine opened in 1950, and today is just about played out - but the settlement around it is a high-turnover one of mostly youngish men who aren't living at 10,000 feet elevation for fun, and they clear out (or a few remain and develop the area for tourism, e.g. Leadville.)