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According to the organizations connected to Elon Musk and his businesses, he has plans to develop his own town on newly acquired pasture and farmland outside of Austin, Texas, according to the Wall Street Journal. A town called Snailbrook has been in the process of being incorporated on at least 3,500 acres of land, according to a WSJ report on the matter. The entities are close to Austin. The name of Elon Musk Town, Snailbrook, is a nod to the mascot of Musk’s tunneling company, the Boring Company, and serves as a brief explanation for the choice of the name.
Musk reportedly intends to construct housing for his staff and charge them about $800 per month for one- and two-bedroom homes, with the condition that they would have 30 days to leave the property if they were fired or quit their jobs, according to the Journal.
Companies have been buying up towns for decades in order to establish a monopoly of power in a specific area and profit from their workforce. The basic concept of the plan seems good: in exchange for working for an employer, you get to live in the town and pay a reduced rent while having access to all the amenities.
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Company towns have a long history of creating so-called utopian communities for their residents, but they have also created settlements that resembled prison camps, with employees serving as landlords, shopkeepers, and any other required functions. Coal firms established several communities, and the employees there were routinely exploited.
The majority of company towns were developed using the labor and skills of the workforce without paying them fairly or providing for minimum standards of living. According to the Smithsonian, during the early 19th century’s booming coal, steel, and textile industries, businesses built the towns so that their employees had to live in basic housing and send their kids to business-owned schools where they were only taught from the perspective of the boss.
Additionally, the workers were paid in scrip rather than cash and were not adequately compensated. Employees could only pay for goods and services with the currency known as “Scrip,” which was only accepted at the company store, which frequently marked up its prices by about 20% compared to businesses outside the compound.
The idea of Musk’s own town has been described “as a sort of visionary Texas utopia along the Colorado River” by the employees of his company. Musk, the CEO of Twitter, hopes that his staff will be able to live and work in Snailbrook once it has been developed, as this will increase their productivity. Deeds, other land records, and people familiar with the project all indicate that Elon Musk has purchased thousands of acres of land in Texas.
This information comes after Elon Musk revealed that Tesla’s corporate headquarters and his personal residence would relocate from California to Texas in 2020. He attributed this decision to his dissatisfaction with California’s restrictions relating to the coronavirus.
Deeds and other land records, county emails, internal company communications, state licensing records, and interviews with landowners and city and county officials are all cited in the WSJ report. More than 100 homes would be built in Snailbrook town, along with a neighborhood with a pool and a space for outdoor recreation. The tech companies frequently provide a wide range of amenities on campus to attract employees and occasionally provide incentives for them to put in more time at the office. This might give more control over how things are run, in theory. In the past year, Musk’s Tesla opened a new Gigafactory manufacturing facility in Austin.
Texas is the location of his other two businesses, SpaceX, and Boring Co. The Austin American Statesman reported in February that the Boring Co. had discussions with Austin about the possibility of creating tunnels in the city. According to the meeting’s public announcement, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality would also hold a meeting to discuss the plans for a wastewater treatment plant at the same location, according to CNN.