The U.S.-Mexico border as arbitrage

As you exit the pedestrian gate at the U.S.-Mexico border crossing at Algodones, you find dentistry, a pharmacy and cheap liquor. In other words, the international line created a sharp gradient, over which money from Northside accordingly spilled; and Mexicans came from all over Southside to be nourished by that money. – William T. Vollman, …

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Water is different than other industrial raw materials, but how, and why?

NPR’s Dan Charles had a nice piece on California’s drought this week digging down a layer into how farmers are actually responding to California’s drought. They are: Fallowing fields of annual crops like corn to ensure they have enough water for their permanent crops, like almonds. Sarah Woolf takes me on a tour of her …

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How much should Rio Rancho charge for this water?

Rio Rancho, New Mexico, has a dilemma. My colleague Rosalie Rayburn has been writing about the trials and tribulations of the privately owned Chamisa Hills Golf and Country Club, which has had a lot of both. In her latest story, Rosalie describes … a recent request by potential Chamisa Hills buyers Bob Gallagher and Jhett Browne …

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Moving water to where it’s needed

User “A” has some water rights that he or she would like to put to use for economic benefit, but with the current amount available and the current economics of the business in question, it’s just not penciling out. User “B” comes along offering to pay to put the water to an alternative use. What’s …

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The importance of technology, barbed wire edition

[T]he traditional wooden fences of earlier American frontiers were simply not feasible in a landscape whose most distinctive feature was its lack of trees. Ranchers could of course get any amount of wood they needed from lumber merchants in Chicago and the Mississippi Valley – if they could afford it. Earlier fencing styles were so …

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