1   The Shift and Why It Matters

There may be places in the world that are more obscure and isolated than Blanding, Utah, but I’ll bet it’s on the short list. It’s a very nice town—it doesn’t have that aura of hopelessness you get from small towns in decline. It’s just small and far away from almost everything. It’s located where the four least populous corners of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet. They meet there, but they haven’t done much with the place. The town does get some tourism from nearby Moab and the Navajo and Ute reservations, although in this part of the country, nearby means not too much more than an hour’s drive. I may well be the only person who ever went there just to visit its nursing home.

I was visiting the nursing ...

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