Oct 22, 2009

A California pick me up

For the last year, California has been portrayed as a broken state. Fast-growing debt, high unemployment, irreconcilable demands for more services and lower taxes, an intractable budget, and an impotent state government. Waterless, traffic jammed and on fire. Time magazine's Michael Grunwald suggests that only those who have it so good could whine so loudly:
Ignore the California whinery. It's still a dream state. In fact, the pioneering megastate that gave us microchips, freeways, blue jeans, tax revolts, extreme sports, energy efficiency, health clubs, Google searches, Craigslist, iPhones and the Hollywood vision of success is still the cutting edge of the American future — economically, environmentally, demographically, culturally and maybe politically. It's the greenest and most diverse state, the most globalized in general and most Asia-oriented in particular at a time when the world is heading in all those directions. It's also an unparalleled engine of innovation, the mecca of high tech, biotech and now clean tech. In 2008, California's wipeout economy attracted more venture capital than the rest of the nation combined. Somehow its supposedly hostile business climate has nurtured Google, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Facebook, Twitter, Disney, Cisco, Intel, eBay, YouTube, MySpace, the Gap and countless other companies that drive the way we live. ...

"In the depths of the breakdown, you can see the next narrative," says Mark Muro of the Brookings Institution's metropolitan-policy program. "It's California. The next economy is already in place there, and it's amazing."
The complete article is here.

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