A Journal of the Plague Year 2023–chapter 282

Ah, nature.

May 10

Elon Musk has just done me a favor.

He comes across as a pretty self-centered individual. Maybe. But Musk’s announcement that he intends to build one or two company towns in Texas has been a gift to my otherwise shy and retiring self—possibly even prompting some sales of my book on company towns. 

Articles—largely denouncing Musk as a Gilded Age throwback—have already appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Bloomberg. The Wall Street Journal has published several news accounts of developments. And now, the Journal has just conducted a lengthy video with me in which I get to show off my knowledge on such things as the definition of a company town, the history of such places, utopian leanings vs. dystopian ones, housing subsidies, possible conflicts with Texas citizens, and more.

Musk has spoken of building only around 110 housing units and a small Montessori school for a dozen students. But he has also talked of attracting thousands of high-tech workers to Texas to serve in his Space X, Tesla, and Boring Co. facilities.

How will all of this work out? Musk’s representatives aren’t saying a lot, and it could be that nothing much will result. But the business press, at least, seems to be taking him seriously. There are plans afoot for lots more press coverage—so stay tuned.