Ten Worst Things About Houston, Best State Rankings, Economic Diversification, and SF vs. TX Homes
Just a few quick items this week. October is a big work travel month for me (South Africa, Morocco, Barcelona, Connecticut), so posts may be sparse. Should be back to a more regular weekly schedule in November.
- Texas ranked near the top for residents that feel their state is the best place to live. Illinois, not so much. Excerpt:
“Texans Most Likely to View the Lone Star State as the Very Best”
Although Texas trails Montana and Alaska in terms of its residents rating it as the best or one of the best places to live, it edges out Alaska (27%) and Hawaii (25%) in the percentage of residents who rate it as the single best place to live.
Texans’ pride for their state as the single best place to live is not surprising when viewed in the context of other measures. According to Gallup Daily tracking for 2013, Texans rank high on standard of living and trust in their state government, and they are less negative than others are about the state taxes they pay. The same is true for Alaska and, to a lesser extent, Hawaii, which had relatively average scores for trust in state government and state taxes, but ranked high for standard of living. The three also have distinct histories, geographies, natural resources, and environmental features that may contribute to residents’ personal enjoyment and pride in their locale.”
- San Francisco Chronicle: Photos show the dramatic difference between an $800K home in Texas and San Francisco
- City Observatory: Why economic diversification is a poor guide to local strategy. I’ve also seen this in the economic stats of Dallas and Atlanta (diversified) vs. Houston (energy concentration) – we tend to have higher per capita salaries and metro GDP. Excerpt:
“Taken literally, the argument to diversify says that it would be a good thing if your biggest industries got smaller (that would make you more diverse). But would Seattle really be better off if Amazon, Microsoft or Boeing was half the size it is today?
Fourth, the key lesson of clusters is that firms draw competitive business advantage from having other similar and related firms nearby. By attracting talent, developing specialized suppliers, and promoting intense competition and benefiting from specialized knowledge spilling over, you get stronger, better firms, and a healthier economy. Specializations are seldom static: one specialization often provides the knowledge base for new specializations: The process of economic development is often about related diversification: being good in one technology at one time sets the stage to be good at generating the next technology at the next time. The important thing is this isn’t random: its path-dependent.”
I’ll end with a fun video on the Top Ten Worst Things About Houston. I question some of the facts quoted (3 to 1??), but it’s pretty amusing. My favorites are
- #3 no zoning (starts at 1:40)
- #6 affordable housing (starts at 4:00)
- #8 people (starts at 5:38)
Spicy language warning, especially near the end. Hat tip to George for the find.