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As an American I don't have a say in this, nor any direct personal concerns about it one way or the other. It is a curious situation to compare, say, Hawaii to Maine. Hawaii is an Island paradise (except Honolulu) with a tropical climate, plenty of brown-skinned Hawaiians and Asians, and a relaxed culture. Maine is a wilderness (except Portland) of untamed forest, with a nasty climate 10 months of the year, an almost entirely caucasian population, and a work ethic based on "if you don't work now while it's warm, you'll freeze to death this winter."

On the other hand, both states have McDonalds, Wal-Mart, Bank of America, Chevrolet/Toyota SUVs, similar tax systems, similar attitudes towards politics, and everybody watches the same TV programs and pays the same interest rate for loans.

We're heterogeneous in some ways, and homogeneous in others. We pretty much all speak the same language, we use the same money, we vote in the same national elections. We can move freely from one state or another, but I bet that 99% of Mainiacs would not even consider moving to Hawaii, nor 99% of Hawaiians to Maine.

So in our federal system there is still a big contrast between states, and freedom of movement, but that movement has already pretty much taken place. (Exception: A general slow migration towards the southwest.)

What would it take to get France and Turkey "equalized" in such a fashion?

by asdf on Sun Jul 10th, 2005 at 10:32:56 AM EST
I guess the enforcement of the same; however, I don't wish such an 'equalizement' in the EU (viva la différence and al that). In fact, I don't wish such within a nation state either.

BTW, I wonder how the USA would look today, had there not been the big state-sponsored building of suburbia from after WWII. The programme, in part motivated by the wish to spread the population to increase the number of potential survivors of a nuclear war, in part as a measure to both settle and please returning GIs, first created the uniform living conditions that made moving much much easier, and thus also levelled cultural differences.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Jul 10th, 2005 at 12:38:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I never heard that suburbanization had anything to do with surviving a nuclear war.

I thought it was to give the returning GIs the opportunity to fulfill the American Dream, i.e. detached house and a car. If you go out of the east coast cities into the midwest, you'll find that most people, when they get the money, build 1500 square foot houses on quarter acre lots. That's pretty much been a standard since the beginning of the country: That's how New England was built in colonial times and that's how Mound City Missouri was built, for example.

One other point is that as America grew there was a lot of open space. So people who wanted to stay in the east coast cities did so and the ones who wanted out of the cities moved west. That's still an option--there are huge, huge, huge tracts of undeveloped land throughout the western part of this country. And a big chunk of the country where the population is declining. In fact, there is consideration of gradually building a new "Buffalo Commons" national park that would cover around 1,000,000 square kilometers. (Estimated based on 5 * area of South Dakota.)

Interesting gardening observation: If you go to a garden shop in the high parts of Idaho, Colorado, Utah, etc. you'll find that lots of the plant varieties are "Siberian" this or that--because the climate of the high prarie in the U.S. is comparable to parts of rural Russia. It's ironic that there are many people in America who dream of retiring to Montana but so very few people in Europe who voluntarily choose to live in the Krasnoyarsk Krai.

by asdf on Sun Jul 10th, 2005 at 02:45:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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