Monday, July 03, 2017

The Golden Rule, Cynic Version

The Post has an article today on development in Prince William county, interesting on several points. It seems that Loudoun County has 70+ data centers, Fairfax 43, and developers are working to put data centers in Prince William ("Prince Billy county" as my wife sometimes calls it) county, just south of Fairfax.

The cynical version of the Golden Rule is: them that has the gold, rules.  Which I take to mean there's a tendency for the wealthy and powerful to become more so, and also for the poor and weak to become more so.  The siting of data centers is an example: there's advantages to having your data center near  other centers--transferring data between them is faster when the distance is shorter.  (Michael Lewis has a book on the super-fast stock traders, who exploit micro-second difference in timing to make profits.) So the Virginia suburbs of DC were an early center for Internet cabling, which has led over time to the concentration of data centers.

There's another case for the cynical version in the article.  Indeed, the hook of the article is the plight of an Afro-American community near Haymarket, a community mostly of descendants from freed slaves who have owned land there and passed it on over the years.  But now progress is coming.

It's a complicated story--data centers require lots of electricity.  In this case there's a data center being constructed in one neighborhood and Dominion Power needs to run new transmission lines for several miles to supply the data center, using eminent domain when necessary to get the right of way for the lines.There are several logical routes to consider, but as the story says:
"Set in a remote area off Lee Highway, the Carver Road neighborhood became the chosen route by default, after other options were either deemed too costly or torpedoed by opposition from local homeowners associations."
The homeowner associations are, of course, wealthier and more influential than the African-American community.   The Golden Rule applies

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