24. Nash Equilibrium/Stackelberg Competition
23. The Production Function
22. Pareto Optimality
21. The Phillips Curve
20. The Gauss–Markov theorem
18. Say’s Law
17. The Lucas critique
16. Theory of the Firm
15. Quantity theory of money
14. Keynesian Stabilization
I stepped in it earlier this week when, as I was trying to say something about the economics of media, I mischaracterized NSFWCORP’s business. Paul Carr, their CEO, replied, I apologized to Carr in the comments, he accepted that apology, and, mercenary bastard that he is, even found a way to extract reparations, via the Conflict Tower, which turns conflict-of-interest reporting into a revenue stream.
So, with that all settled and a parade of rainbow-flavored unicorns once again frolicking in the dells of New Media Land, let me take another stab at what I wanted to say about the media business and what we can—and can’t—learn from NSFWCORP. The last thing anyone needs is more concern-trolling about mainstream media, so here’s some now.
You can’t understand NSFWCORP without understanding Las Vegas, and not just Vegas in general, but Vegas right now. And you can’t understand Vegas right now without understanding the Downtown Project, Tony Hsieh’s moonshot-scale attempt at bootstrapping a thriving cultural hub, no small job in a city where electronic dance music counts as high art.
I was barely a moment inside Walmart, studying the cucumbers and avocados, when a middle-aged man came up to say hi.
We started talking about the oil boom sweeping Williston, North Dakota. He said his coworkers were losing it out here in the middle of nowhere. Maybe he would lose it too.
“You gotta really be focused on your shit,” he said. “And it’s hard. And on that note, that’s why you should let me take you to dinner.”
I declined. He called later that evening to ask me on a date. He said he’d take me to Pizza Hut. I was not pining for a rendezvous with a roustabout that I did not know, so I invented other plans. He phoned twice more.
Other women in Williston warned me this would happen. They said they couldn’t go anywhere alone without receiving an offer of some kind from an oil worker. They said the 24-hour retailer on Route 2 was the worst. The parking lot was crammed with cars bearing license plates from dozens of states, any time of day, as guys poured in from all over the country to make their fortune.
Working in Minneapolis, I’d come across stories about the wild impact of the discovery of billions of barrels of oil in western North Dakota. The high-paying jobs. Once quiet farm roads now straining with traffic. Crime. Rents on par with Manhattan.
And another remarkable effect that only came into focus when I visited Williston myself: an influx of men—single men, married men, overworked men, lonely men, men with big dreams, men who keep their heads down and men who cause trouble—has made it an overwhelming place to be female.