Town Hall interview:
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Teton County, Wyoming is the richest county in the United States—a place where income inequality is more pronounced than anywhere else in the nation. Author Justin Farrell spent five years conducting hundreds of in-depth interviews throughout this community, speaking with everyone from tech CEOs and Wall Street financiers to the rural poor living and working among the wealthy. Farrell joins us at Town Hall to share insight from this penetrating account of the far-reaching consequences of the massive accrual of wealth. Drawing from his book Billionaire Wilderness: The Ultra-Wealthy and the Remaking of the American West, Farrell presents an eye-opening portrait of a changing American West where romanticizing rural poverty and conserving nature can be lucrative—socially as well as financially.
Farrell reveals how the ultra-wealthy are buying up the land and leveraging one of the most pristine ecosystems in the world to climb even higher on the socioeconomic ladder. He introduces us to the affluent of Teton County—a people burdened by stigmas, guilt, and status anxiety who are appropriating nature and rural people in order to craft more virtuous and deserving images of themselves. Join Farrell for an exploration of the hidden connections between wealth concentration and the environment, two of the most pressing and contentious issues of our time.
Justin Farrell is a professor and author at Yale University. His research tackles questions of environment, politics, human culture, and policy using a mixture of methods, blending ethnographic fieldwork with large-scale computational techniques from network science and machine learning. He is the author of The Battle for Yellowstone: Morality and the Sacred Roots of Environmental Conflict.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle.