My wife and little ones are big fans of going to the beach, even though beaches in Oregon and Northern California aren't about swimming. On the way to many of our favorite spots though, we pass through lots of extremely white small towns on the coast. One thing that jumps out is the very high levels of trust that persist there (the second being the celebrity treatment my two little tiny redheads get from the many grandparents that inhabit such places). Here is an example---it strikes me as profoundly alien every single time I pass it because of all the things it implies.
In the middle of a very small parking lot---really more of a spot where one could pull off the coastal highway than a parking lot honestly---there are stacks of bundles of firewood, and a sign advertising them for sale for the customary $5 or so. Next to the sign is a bucket where you can put your payment. That's it. No watchman or clerk, no cameras...Nothing. But it's been here for years now, so apparently the guy who cuts the wood must not get ripped off often. This speaks to positively alien levels of trust by the standards of the societies that I've been a part of. I recall visiting relatives with my great-grandmother in Northern Idaho as a preteen and being similarly floored when I was told NOT to lock the front door and that the sofa in the foyer was to be kept made up in case some passer-by needed a place to crash during the night, and even more so when I confirmed with their neighbors that my relatives were NOT just weird, that this was a social norm.
From an economic standpoint, whoever runs this gets the $5 per bundle of wood that people (usually campers) expect to pay for cutting and stacking the wood, and the customers pay the going rate. But all the usual middleman costs are totally absent. Most of said middleman costs would be calculated in as part of what economists call GDP. Something to think about when one hears that economists say that 'immigration is good for the economy'. How can one take them seriously when they have not even a mechanism to measure how much the degradation of trust created by diversity costs? You could probably even argue that increasing diversity creates an artificial economy of scale benefiting larger firms versus the guy---probably a retiree, who likely enjoys cutting wood.
Medieval Geography Video
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