Back in July, The New Yorker’s Lawrence Wright published an investigation into the politics of the Lone Star State entitled “America’s Future is Texas.” The essay became one of The NewYorker’s most popular pieces of 2017.
This week Wright followed up his politics piece with a look at the Texas economy’s longstanding attachment to the fossil-fuel industry, which has resulted in a seemingly endless boom-and-bust cycle.
In the piece, Wright ponders whether the Lone Star State—and especially West Texas—will ever be able to extricate itself from the capricious fortunes of big oil. In the midst of each oil bust, Texas, notes Wright, begins to wait for the next boom to come around. The state becomes like a bleary-eyed gambler with a dwindling cup of coins, tugging at the slot machine’s arm in hopes that luck will strike again.
Texas is slowly becoming less reliant on oil, but the boom-and-bust addiction may be here to stay.