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This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

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13

Hector Padilla is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who arrived in Teton County about ten years ago with his wife Dolorita and their two children. At Julie’s conservation event that opened this chapter, Hector was working in one of the four garages attached to the house, mostly cooking hors d’oeuvres and serving drinks. He typically works twelve hours each day, six days a week, laying brick for a construction company that specializes in elaborate homes, and then, to help make ends meet, he picks up a few more hours at night doing catering jobs for folks like Julie. Dolorita also works for Julie and a few other well-to-do families, cleaning and doing domestic odds and ends around their homes, as well as helping out with childcare. Between the two of them, they just barely cover rent for the small trailer they share with two other families, where they all take turns sleeping on the bed, couch, or floor.

[...] The previous month, the Padillas were unexpectedly and immediately evicted from their trailer to clear the way for a new upscale development called “Nature’s Escape.”11 Despite pleading with the developers for more time, they were forced out in two weeks. Unable to find affordable housing in town, they were pushed forty-five minutes away into Idaho, on the other side of the treacherous Teton Pass, where a good majority of the working poor now live. Each day, both Hector and Dolorita make the dangerous and sometimes even deadly drive to work and back, up and over the steep 8,431-foot mountain pass. Living on razor-thin margins, Hector says he doesn’t have time to bemoan setbacks that seem to be more frequent—instead, he mostly keeps his head down and focuses on his work and his family. He expresses gratitude to people like Julie who provide him with a second job.

aaaahhh

—p.13 by Justin Farrell 3 years, 1 month ago

Hector Padilla is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who arrived in Teton County about ten years ago with his wife Dolorita and their two children. At Julie’s conservation event that opened this chapter, Hector was working in one of the four garages attached to the house, mostly cooking hors d’oeuvres and serving drinks. He typically works twelve hours each day, six days a week, laying brick for a construction company that specializes in elaborate homes, and then, to help make ends meet, he picks up a few more hours at night doing catering jobs for folks like Julie. Dolorita also works for Julie and a few other well-to-do families, cleaning and doing domestic odds and ends around their homes, as well as helping out with childcare. Between the two of them, they just barely cover rent for the small trailer they share with two other families, where they all take turns sleeping on the bed, couch, or floor.

[...] The previous month, the Padillas were unexpectedly and immediately evicted from their trailer to clear the way for a new upscale development called “Nature’s Escape.”11 Despite pleading with the developers for more time, they were forced out in two weeks. Unable to find affordable housing in town, they were pushed forty-five minutes away into Idaho, on the other side of the treacherous Teton Pass, where a good majority of the working poor now live. Each day, both Hector and Dolorita make the dangerous and sometimes even deadly drive to work and back, up and over the steep 8,431-foot mountain pass. Living on razor-thin margins, Hector says he doesn’t have time to bemoan setbacks that seem to be more frequent—instead, he mostly keeps his head down and focuses on his work and his family. He expresses gratitude to people like Julie who provide him with a second job.

aaaahhh

—p.13 by Justin Farrell 3 years, 1 month ago
24

Teton County, Wyoming, proved to be an exemplary case study site because, as noted earlier, not only is it the richest county in the United States, and the county with highest levels of income inequality, but it is also a place where these patterns developed rapidly over the last thirty years or so, providing me a unique window into the unfolding of these dynamics over a relatively short period of time. Further, this community exists within the larger social context of Wyoming, a state in which, as a new report from Stanford University has documented, 1 percent of the population owns the largest share of the wealth (50 percent). Thus, it is representative of national inequality and at the same time offers the opportunity to examine a distinctly rural locale, the type of place too often ignored in mainstream research.

—p.24 by Justin Farrell 3 years, 1 month ago

Teton County, Wyoming, proved to be an exemplary case study site because, as noted earlier, not only is it the richest county in the United States, and the county with highest levels of income inequality, but it is also a place where these patterns developed rapidly over the last thirty years or so, providing me a unique window into the unfolding of these dynamics over a relatively short period of time. Further, this community exists within the larger social context of Wyoming, a state in which, as a new report from Stanford University has documented, 1 percent of the population owns the largest share of the wealth (50 percent). Thus, it is representative of national inequality and at the same time offers the opportunity to examine a distinctly rural locale, the type of place too often ignored in mainstream research.

—p.24 by Justin Farrell 3 years, 1 month ago
35

[...] Data show that the majority came from financial investments, rather than wages or salaries people take home from a typical 9-to-5 job. It was not always this way. During the early and mid-twentieth century, income from investments in Teton County mirrored that of the rest of the United States. But come the 1980s, investment income began to climb, making up 30 percent of all income in the area. It accelerated further, hitting the 40 percent mark in the 1990s, and still even further in the 2000s, when investment income made up more than half of all income in 2004.

Unrelenting, income from finance refused to slow. Surging further, in 2015, nearly 8 out of every 10 dollars of income made here was coming not from traditional wages or salary, but from financial interest and dividends. Put in real terms, in 1970, only $52 million in annual income came from investments, but by 2015, this number grew to $3.4 billion—an increase to the tune of 6,500 percent. These local numbers are astounding, yet they fit within data on national and global trends, where the finance, banking, and investment industry has created more billionaires than any other industry. In other words, we see skyrocketing income levels in this community because people moving in are leveraging wealth they have already made to create more.

—p.35 by Justin Farrell 3 years, 1 month ago

[...] Data show that the majority came from financial investments, rather than wages or salaries people take home from a typical 9-to-5 job. It was not always this way. During the early and mid-twentieth century, income from investments in Teton County mirrored that of the rest of the United States. But come the 1980s, investment income began to climb, making up 30 percent of all income in the area. It accelerated further, hitting the 40 percent mark in the 1990s, and still even further in the 2000s, when investment income made up more than half of all income in 2004.

Unrelenting, income from finance refused to slow. Surging further, in 2015, nearly 8 out of every 10 dollars of income made here was coming not from traditional wages or salary, but from financial interest and dividends. Put in real terms, in 1970, only $52 million in annual income came from investments, but by 2015, this number grew to $3.4 billion—an increase to the tune of 6,500 percent. These local numbers are astounding, yet they fit within data on national and global trends, where the finance, banking, and investment industry has created more billionaires than any other industry. In other words, we see skyrocketing income levels in this community because people moving in are leveraging wealth they have already made to create more.

—p.35 by Justin Farrell 3 years, 1 month ago
37

To the first main cause, it is well-known that the state of Wyoming does not collect personal income tax. Nor does it levy a corporate income tax. It also has one of the lowest sales tax rates in the country. In addition to its cultural and political aversion to taxes, Wyoming has not needed to collect such taxes because, more than any other state, it has long enjoyed record windfalls from oil, gas, and coal production. But these windfalls are fewer and far between in recent years, and point toward an uncertain future, and even potential crisis, for the state. Nevertheless, income tax is not being levied, even with skyrocketing population and income growth among the very wealthy here, almost all of whom are nonnative Wyomingites—some genuinely contributing to the community, but many others who have simply parked their personal money, or created a corporate shell, beneath this lucrative tax shelter.

—p.37 by Justin Farrell 3 years, 1 month ago

To the first main cause, it is well-known that the state of Wyoming does not collect personal income tax. Nor does it levy a corporate income tax. It also has one of the lowest sales tax rates in the country. In addition to its cultural and political aversion to taxes, Wyoming has not needed to collect such taxes because, more than any other state, it has long enjoyed record windfalls from oil, gas, and coal production. But these windfalls are fewer and far between in recent years, and point toward an uncertain future, and even potential crisis, for the state. Nevertheless, income tax is not being levied, even with skyrocketing population and income growth among the very wealthy here, almost all of whom are nonnative Wyomingites—some genuinely contributing to the community, but many others who have simply parked their personal money, or created a corporate shell, beneath this lucrative tax shelter.

—p.37 by Justin Farrell 3 years, 1 month ago
42
  • The average income for the top 1 percent in Teton County is $28.2 million. This is by far the highest for all counties in the United States. To put in context, the lowest is Quitman County, Georgia, where the 1 percent makes $127,425 a year.
  • The top 1 percent in Teton County make 233 times more than the bottom 99 percent. This is the highest income disparity of all counties in the United States.
    Median income in Teton County is in the top 2.6 percent nationally, and average income is the highest in the nation.
  • 90 percent of all income in Teton County is earned by 8 percent of households.
  • The metro area of Jackson, Wyoming, has the highest income inequality of any metro area in the entire United States. The top 1 percent make $19,995,834, which is 213 times more than the bottom 99 percent.
  • From 1979 to 2011, incomes for the bottom 99 percent in Wyoming actually declined (–2.5 percent), while incomes for the top 1 percent did not decline, but grew enormously (+172 percent). Only three other states saw rising incomes among the 1 percent at all, much less such a large increase.
  • The average income of the top 0.01 percent in Wyoming is $368,823,036. This is by far the highest of all fifty states (Connecticut at $83.9 million and New York at $69.9 million).
  • The top 1 percent in Wyoming control 50 percent of total income in the state. This is the highest of all 50 states.
  • The top 10 percent in Wyoming control 65 percent of total income in the state. This is the highest of all 50 states.

just incredible

—p.42 by Justin Farrell 3 years, 1 month ago
  • The average income for the top 1 percent in Teton County is $28.2 million. This is by far the highest for all counties in the United States. To put in context, the lowest is Quitman County, Georgia, where the 1 percent makes $127,425 a year.
  • The top 1 percent in Teton County make 233 times more than the bottom 99 percent. This is the highest income disparity of all counties in the United States.
    Median income in Teton County is in the top 2.6 percent nationally, and average income is the highest in the nation.
  • 90 percent of all income in Teton County is earned by 8 percent of households.
  • The metro area of Jackson, Wyoming, has the highest income inequality of any metro area in the entire United States. The top 1 percent make $19,995,834, which is 213 times more than the bottom 99 percent.
  • From 1979 to 2011, incomes for the bottom 99 percent in Wyoming actually declined (–2.5 percent), while incomes for the top 1 percent did not decline, but grew enormously (+172 percent). Only three other states saw rising incomes among the 1 percent at all, much less such a large increase.
  • The average income of the top 0.01 percent in Wyoming is $368,823,036. This is by far the highest of all fifty states (Connecticut at $83.9 million and New York at $69.9 million).
  • The top 1 percent in Wyoming control 50 percent of total income in the state. This is the highest of all 50 states.
  • The top 10 percent in Wyoming control 65 percent of total income in the state. This is the highest of all 50 states.

just incredible

—p.42 by Justin Farrell 3 years, 1 month ago
50

Most Americans have never heard of the über-private Yellowstone Club, an ultra-wealthy enclave where Jack and a few hundred families are members. Located about fifty miles northwest of Teton County, it is not hyperbole to say that it is perhaps the most exclusive private club in the world. Owning an entire mountain to itself, larger than most ski resorts in the United States, it is the only entirely private ski and golf resort on the globe, and it counts some of the richest in the world as its members. Among these are billionaires like Bill Gates and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt; top executives of corporations like Citigroup, Comcast, News Corp., and Apple; politicians like Dan Quayle and Jack Kemp; sports stars like Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady, and Greg LeMond; A-list entertainers like Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck; and many other titans of the pharmaceutical and finance industries.

The club opened in 1997, right in the midst of the massive increase in wealth that flooded this region, detailed in chapter 1. The club filled a growing niche, aiming to attract the wealthiest of the wealthy, the elite of the elite. Optimism was high. So much so, for example, that several years ago the club set out to build and sell the most expensive home in the world, a $155 million, 53,000-square-foot mansion made of stone and wood that included its own indoor ski-lift and ice rink. According to billionaire founder of the club, Tim Blixseth, “You can’t believe the number of people interested in this [house].… And the guys who are calling aren’t going to have to borrow any money.” Average single-family homes in the club cost much less, hovering between $10 and $18 million. All come with the advertised promise of “security and open space, luxury and wilderness.”

how do you OWN a MOUNTAIN

—p.50 by Justin Farrell 3 years, 1 month ago

Most Americans have never heard of the über-private Yellowstone Club, an ultra-wealthy enclave where Jack and a few hundred families are members. Located about fifty miles northwest of Teton County, it is not hyperbole to say that it is perhaps the most exclusive private club in the world. Owning an entire mountain to itself, larger than most ski resorts in the United States, it is the only entirely private ski and golf resort on the globe, and it counts some of the richest in the world as its members. Among these are billionaires like Bill Gates and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt; top executives of corporations like Citigroup, Comcast, News Corp., and Apple; politicians like Dan Quayle and Jack Kemp; sports stars like Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady, and Greg LeMond; A-list entertainers like Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck; and many other titans of the pharmaceutical and finance industries.

The club opened in 1997, right in the midst of the massive increase in wealth that flooded this region, detailed in chapter 1. The club filled a growing niche, aiming to attract the wealthiest of the wealthy, the elite of the elite. Optimism was high. So much so, for example, that several years ago the club set out to build and sell the most expensive home in the world, a $155 million, 53,000-square-foot mansion made of stone and wood that included its own indoor ski-lift and ice rink. According to billionaire founder of the club, Tim Blixseth, “You can’t believe the number of people interested in this [house].… And the guys who are calling aren’t going to have to borrow any money.” Average single-family homes in the club cost much less, hovering between $10 and $18 million. All come with the advertised promise of “security and open space, luxury and wilderness.”

how do you OWN a MOUNTAIN

—p.50 by Justin Farrell 3 years, 1 month ago
63

The remainder of the day I sought to more deeply observe something that rarely, if ever, came up voluntarily in my participant observation at the club, or in the formal interviews I conducted later: How are racial and ethnic boundaries constructed and maintained? What I discovered is consistent with recent research on rural immigration, gentrification, and racialized divisions of labor.11 I found, through firsthand observation at the club and through interviews with club employees and outside small business owners (for example, contractors, architects), that people of color are more likely to be placed in the back-of-the-house spaces out of the view of members (for example, kitchens, housekeeping, construction labor), while non-Hispanic whites are placed in front-of-house spaces where face-to-face interaction and socialization with members was necessary (for example, bartenders, wait staff, ski-lift operators, ski-rental technicians, gift shop cashiers). In later chapters, I consider reasons for these stark racial and ethnic differences, which are certainly not unique to the Yellowstone Club, but are part of historically entrenched conceptions of nature—particularly with regard to how whiteness is associated with nature (for example, idealized purity of rural landscape) and rural Western culture (for example, mythology of the white explorer and cowboy).

—p.63 by Justin Farrell 3 years, 1 month ago

The remainder of the day I sought to more deeply observe something that rarely, if ever, came up voluntarily in my participant observation at the club, or in the formal interviews I conducted later: How are racial and ethnic boundaries constructed and maintained? What I discovered is consistent with recent research on rural immigration, gentrification, and racialized divisions of labor.11 I found, through firsthand observation at the club and through interviews with club employees and outside small business owners (for example, contractors, architects), that people of color are more likely to be placed in the back-of-the-house spaces out of the view of members (for example, kitchens, housekeeping, construction labor), while non-Hispanic whites are placed in front-of-house spaces where face-to-face interaction and socialization with members was necessary (for example, bartenders, wait staff, ski-lift operators, ski-rental technicians, gift shop cashiers). In later chapters, I consider reasons for these stark racial and ethnic differences, which are certainly not unique to the Yellowstone Club, but are part of historically entrenched conceptions of nature—particularly with regard to how whiteness is associated with nature (for example, idealized purity of rural landscape) and rural Western culture (for example, mythology of the white explorer and cowboy).

—p.63 by Justin Farrell 3 years, 1 month ago
66

Continuing this line of thought, and questioning local criticism of the club itself, Colin reiterates that 90 percent of the club members are self-made, full of folks who have worked tirelessly—80 and 90 hours a week he says—and need desperately somewhere to relax, and to enjoy the fruits of their labor. “You know, work hard and then play hard,” he says. Colin makes room for one exception, admitting that there are some club members who have benefited from the tech bubble, and these members aren’t as respected by other ultra-wealthy people because they haven’t put in the time to steadily earn their wealth.

lmaooooo

—p.66 by Justin Farrell 3 years, 1 month ago

Continuing this line of thought, and questioning local criticism of the club itself, Colin reiterates that 90 percent of the club members are self-made, full of folks who have worked tirelessly—80 and 90 hours a week he says—and need desperately somewhere to relax, and to enjoy the fruits of their labor. “You know, work hard and then play hard,” he says. Colin makes room for one exception, admitting that there are some club members who have benefited from the tech bubble, and these members aren’t as respected by other ultra-wealthy people because they haven’t put in the time to steadily earn their wealth.

lmaooooo

—p.66 by Justin Farrell 3 years, 1 month ago
69

With regard to the first, Colin talked at length about the current assault on the rich within national politics, propelled by a secret, but growing, movement toward socialism. High-tax environments like Connecticut, California, New York, and others are, for Colin, essentially “communism,” subscribing to the myth that the wealthy deserve to be exploited. Predicting a dire future, and speaking to me prior to the unexpected results of the 2016 presidential election, Colin says, “I tell my kids that after Obama and the inevitable [socialist] revolution where all hell breaks loose—with Texas and others seceding—head for Montana!” Talking with Colin, I can tell that his decision to buy a place up here is not simply about escaping from high-tax environments, but it’s also about being in what he perceives to be a more friendly “Wild West” cultural environment where he feels more insulated from exploitation by the federal government. “We needed a place where we could live among like-minded people.… Besides marrying my wife, it’s the best thing I ever did.”

this guy clearly has a really interesting definition of exploitation

—p.69 by Justin Farrell 3 years, 1 month ago

With regard to the first, Colin talked at length about the current assault on the rich within national politics, propelled by a secret, but growing, movement toward socialism. High-tax environments like Connecticut, California, New York, and others are, for Colin, essentially “communism,” subscribing to the myth that the wealthy deserve to be exploited. Predicting a dire future, and speaking to me prior to the unexpected results of the 2016 presidential election, Colin says, “I tell my kids that after Obama and the inevitable [socialist] revolution where all hell breaks loose—with Texas and others seceding—head for Montana!” Talking with Colin, I can tell that his decision to buy a place up here is not simply about escaping from high-tax environments, but it’s also about being in what he perceives to be a more friendly “Wild West” cultural environment where he feels more insulated from exploitation by the federal government. “We needed a place where we could live among like-minded people.… Besides marrying my wife, it’s the best thing I ever did.”

this guy clearly has a really interesting definition of exploitation

—p.69 by Justin Farrell 3 years, 1 month ago
95

With that said, what is the relationship between conservation and the intensification of inequality? First, we must understand the taken-for-granted macroeconomic theory that I found operating beneath the surface. My dinner partner Bob sums it up well with an aphorism and a story. The aphorism is a popular one: “A rising tide lifts all boats.” In story form, Bob tells about his friend who recently purchased a 200-foot yacht. With a price tag of $42 million, Bob notes that a cynic might view this purchase to be a selfish act that benefits only the privileged few who get to enjoy such luxurious ocean escapes. But, he argues, somewhat forcefully with an emotional tone to his voice, that these critics fail to realize just how many jobs this creates. “It provides a job for an entire year for a lot of different people.”

In the same way, he says that spending money for the purpose of enjoying nature—an activity that was often lumped in with conservation itself—provides a hell of a lot of jobs in the community: as the logic goes, for example, building a 7,000-square-foot house with local construction workers, hiring housekeepers, dining at expensive restaurants, employing exclusive fishing guides, and so on, all have widespread economic benefits to the general economy, especially to middle- and lower-income groups. This does not even begin to include the philanthropic giving to local conservation groups.

oh boy

—p.95 by Justin Farrell 3 years, 1 month ago

With that said, what is the relationship between conservation and the intensification of inequality? First, we must understand the taken-for-granted macroeconomic theory that I found operating beneath the surface. My dinner partner Bob sums it up well with an aphorism and a story. The aphorism is a popular one: “A rising tide lifts all boats.” In story form, Bob tells about his friend who recently purchased a 200-foot yacht. With a price tag of $42 million, Bob notes that a cynic might view this purchase to be a selfish act that benefits only the privileged few who get to enjoy such luxurious ocean escapes. But, he argues, somewhat forcefully with an emotional tone to his voice, that these critics fail to realize just how many jobs this creates. “It provides a job for an entire year for a lot of different people.”

In the same way, he says that spending money for the purpose of enjoying nature—an activity that was often lumped in with conservation itself—provides a hell of a lot of jobs in the community: as the logic goes, for example, building a 7,000-square-foot house with local construction workers, hiring housekeepers, dining at expensive restaurants, employing exclusive fishing guides, and so on, all have widespread economic benefits to the general economy, especially to middle- and lower-income groups. This does not even begin to include the philanthropic giving to local conservation groups.

oh boy

—p.95 by Justin Farrell 3 years, 1 month ago