That sounds harsh, doesn’t it? Do a web search with the words “failed state” and names like Somalia, Haiti, and Sudan will appear on your computer screen.
Unfortunately, the 31st state in our union – California – is looking more and more like a “failed state” as well. And this should matter to every American, because like it or not, California is both a global economic epicenter and a spectacular place in the world.
My native homeland of California is home to the highest mountain in the contiguous forty-eight states (Mount Whitney), the lowest valley (Death Valley), Facebook, “Surf City, U.S.A.”(Huntington Beach), Apple Computers, The World Champion San Francisco Giants, the most fertile farm land in the world (San Joaquin Valley), eBay, Legoland, Cisco Systems, “the entertainment capitol of the world” (Hollywood), three U.S. Presidents (Richard Nixon by birth, and Herbert Hoover and Ronald Reagan by “adoption”), and Mitsubishi Motors of North America. It remains a global leader in the agricultural, information technology, and aerospace sectors. If it were its own country, it would comprise the eight largest national economy in the world.
This is to say that California can be and should be a place of robust economic opportunity across multiple sectors. But politicians and government employee labor unions have a stranglehold on the state (sound familiar?). Businesses and capital are now leaving while actual economic output is slumping.
Most academicians and government bureaucrats who keep track of the world’s “failed states” still won’t admit that Greece belongs on their lists, so the idea that California has in any sense “failed” isn’t even considered. But if we take seriously the criteria for determining a “failed state,” then the sad truth about California becomes painfully clear.
One of the most often quoted authorities on failed states is The Fund for Peace, a Washington, DC-based non-profit think tank organization, and among the many indicators of a failed state that “FFP” notes is “uneven economic development among group lines.” This notion of “uneven economic development” often has “life or death” implications in places like Zimbabwe or the Democratic Republic of the Congo, yet the idea is every bit as real in California as it regards the disparity between the government, and the private sector economy.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.