Government and Community Reaction to Boomtown Growth theory

1) Enthusiasm as officials and residents concentrate on the positive economic impacts of job growth and retail spending that are espoused by energy industry spokespeople, while the possible negative impacts are either unknown or are dismissed as unlikely in their specific area; 2) Uncertainty, as the town starts to change as new workers arrive in
noticeable numbers. It is realized that some negative impacts have arrived along with the positive benefits, and that these negative impacts will likely grow. Officials begin to perform preliminary research; however, there are few resources or experienced staff to draw upon, while industry and state government claims there is nothing that can be done. Divisions emerge within the community as to whether the growth is detrimental or beneficial; 3) Near Panic, as the industrial activity and associated impacts grow much quicker than anticipated and the community character changes dramatically in the eyes of longer-term residents who become confused and angry at local officials and each other. Government services are overwhelmed and quality of services declines while officials realize that any increase in revenues will not offset the expenditures in the near future or at all. Government officials find that they are ill-equipped, unprepared or do not have jurisdiction to make the necessary policy decisions while longer term residents feel new
government polices are an affront to the community’s historic way of life; and 4) Adaptation, as the core problems are eventually identified and planning/mitigation strategies are developed. Residents become solidified in their beliefs; however, they begin to accept the reality of the situation at hand. Residents and officials feel a sense of progress.

Freudenburg, W. 1981 “Women and Men in an Energy Boomtown: Adjustment, Alienation, Adaptation” Rural Sciology 46:2:220-244

 

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Rational choice and spatial based solidarity problems

“Strategies that are rational at the level of the individual can lead to unintended consequences or suboptimal outcomes at group or society level, thereby creating solidarity and inequality problems”

Source

 

I would also add, strategies that are rational at local level can lead to unintended consequences at national or international level, thereby creating territorial based solidarity and inequality problems. Well, I am right now thinking in my abstract for the nex midterm conference of the European Sociological Association research network “energy and society”:

Since the oil crisis and continuing until the mid-eighties, many projects to exploit natural resources on a large scale were carried out in the United States and Europe. Due to the demographic and economic boom, the phenomenon became known as energy boomtown, having received the attention of many sociologists up to date, but mainly from the American environmental sociologist William Freudenburg. His legacy is now essential to understand the social impact of large scale energy projects, but also suggests how regional factors play a crucial role in the configuration of energy national strategies. By mean a case study, this paper aims to test and further develop the William Freudenburg theory on the addictive character of the economies that someday harboured a large scale energy project, that is, boomtowns. After having performed seventeen semi-structure interviews, the discourse analysis reveals the existence of both political and trade union forces that struggle to keep the old power plant opened while hoping to live a new boom effect by attracting new large scale projects. The formers know about the electoral benefits and the latter would have more difficult its action in a more dispersed labor market. Results suggest that the implementation of energy transition national strategies is also subjected to the influence power of certain local and regional forces on the central government.

Both solidarity and inequality problems are solved as far as there exist concessions from individuals by mean the creation of norms, a important dimension of social capital.