There are two types of deception – the deception of others and self-deception. Las Vegas thrives on both. Many would be aware of the importance of the first type of deception for the health of the Las Vegas economy, as they would for Macau, Monte Carlo, etc. Without the symbol of wealth to achieve elite global tourism status, and the ‘moth to the flame’ illusion of the likelihood of visitors to get ‘lucky’ and win great wealth, there would be no Las Vegas as it is known today. There is no other major reason to come to the city. There is no major natural resource to encourage development – no river like the Thames of England or Pasig of the Philippines cutting through, nor large mammal populations passing through ‘fruited plains’ as was once the case in the middle of the U.S., and certainly no close proximity to the productive estuaries or forests – little that would make major development inevitable. Only a few springs attracted people in early years, many of which were pumped to extinction as development increased (Deacon 2007) (Figure 1). Yet, Las Vegas occupies a unique place in global culture, buoyed by the deceptive notion that it offers a shortcut to wealth; and the far more realistic promise that it can meet most person’s hedonistic, if not repressed, desires with enough geographic disconnection from the homes of visitors to keep activities discrete. This is the ‘deal’ the city cuts with visitors.
Cities and towns – Economic aspects; Cities and towns – Social aspects; Nevada – Las Vegas; Sustainable development; Sustainable urban development
Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics | Economics | Growth and Development | Other Sociology | Real Estate
Smith, W. J.,
Las Vegas: The perils of deception fueled growth.
Human Geography: A Radical Journal, 2(2),
Institute of Human Geography.