As the biggest economic power within the U.S., California levers considerable influence. Moreover, if the Golden State became its own country, it would represent the fifth largest economy in the world. Thus, the saying: as California goes, so does the rest of the country. Ironically, though, this very sentiment will turn us into a third world country.
Indeed, even the framework is startlingly similar between California and the U.S. On paper, California boasts all the desirable qualities that you’d want from an economic superpower: highly desirable metropolises and port cities, excellent weather, broad mix of high tech and agricultural prowess, and a large workforce. In the same way, the global community considers the U.S. as the paragon of economic wealth and stability.
Yet look a little deeper and you’ll see some massive cracks. For instance, while our nation boasts the biggest GDP, it’s also more than $23 trillion in debt. Moreover, we have no way to pay this back without incurring unprecedented pain. Thus, from a net basis, we look more like a third world country.
And in California, incidents that are not at all common to true economic powers have come to the forefront. Most egregiously, Los Angeles has suffered from a bout of bubonic plague, an epidemic supposedly quarantined to our history books.
But for me, that’s not the biggest concern.
Soaring Inequality a Hallmark of the Third World Country
Almost every resident in southern California that I know has gone down south to Mexico. Due to rising drug violence, I personally haven’t made the trek recently. However, the overall ambiance remains the same.
In almost any third world country, you have two classes of people: the very rich and everyone else. This is one of the reasons why emigrate into the U.S., and not so much the other way around. With a true capitalistic environment, anyone that applies themselves has a good chance of making it.
However, that’s becoming less of a reality. Thanks to increasingly restrictive laws, it’s harder for average folks to make a decent living. In California, laws such as AB 5, or the gig worker law, restricts how companies hire independent contractors. Supposedly, this law is designed to protect gig workers. Instead, it penalizes how they make a living, often forcing them out of the state.
Decades ago, few people thought that a state would actually go out of its way to stifle innovation. Yet that’s what we are today: a third world country masquerading as a first world nation.