Magazine December 3, 2018, Issue

Pillars of Fire

Workers extract oil from wells in the Permian Basin in Midland, Tex., May 3, 2018. (Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images)
If you are looking for a free-trade success story, come to Midland

Midland–Odessa, Texas

This place is famous for two things: One of them is what locals lovingly refer to as That Goddamned Book, and the other one is oil — the oil business, oil money, and oil jobs — none of which is ever very far from the minds of the good citizens here, from shift laborers to the degreed-up nerds of Very High Tech to the inevitable rash of bankers and lawyers who crop up like mushrooms wherever money is being made, even under the pitiless glare of Buzz Bissinger’s Friday-night lights, even when all of Midland, Texas, is gathered in

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