[FoRK] The Parable of Joe and the Looters

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Sat Jul 5 23:36:33 PDT 2008

> You're right. California's perfect. Get ready, we're all moving there.
> Right before it slides into the fucking ocean. (HEY: I was *there* for
> Loma Prieta. Bite me.)
How much has fallen into the ocean so far?
> BTW, let me tell you what a server room full of racks looks like after
> a 7.1. It looks like a fucking game of pick-up stix.
So people learn to tie in server racks better.
> No thank you.
> Next?
What would you suggest?

Jeff Bone wrote:
> ... because it can't anymore, what do you think is going to happen to
> the various states? Which states are going to be in the best position
> to keep funding that all-important "safety net" and all those other
> good and valuable programs; the states with no (prior) income taxes,
> small bureaucracy, a budget process that's under control, and
> generally low taxes and a pro-business climate --- or the State of
> California, whose balance sheet is already so burdened by all the
> crazy shit the Good People of California have voted for funding
> through wealth confiscation, which programs already cause it to teeter
> on the brink of solvency? Your state's budget swings wildly from years
> of running even to running $14B in the hole most recently --- and your
> state constitution doesn't provide your legislators any tools to
> prevent this, it's entirely at the whim --- and therefore an
> ever-increasing ratchet --- of the voters.
Yea, who?
Sometimes California, with a GDP of about 1.7 Trillion (in 2006), is 14B
behind in a given year? Boo hoo...
California is at the front of a pack of states that have a lot of
everything and are so diversified that they can survive most slow
periods. Off the top of my head: California, New York, Ohio,
Pennsylvania, MA., Texas, and close ones like Florida, Virginia,
Maryland, New Jersey.

>     Economic regions
> California is also the home of several significant economic regions
> such as Hollywood
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood%2C_Los_Angeles%2C_California>
> (entertainment), the California Central Valley
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Central_Valley> (agriculture
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agriculture>), Tech Coast
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tech_Coast> and Silicon Valley
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silicon_Valley> (computers
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer> and high tech
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_tech>), and wine
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wine> producing regions such as the Napa
> Valley <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napa_Valley_AVA>, Sonoma Valley
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonoma_Valley_AVA> and Southern
> California's Santa Barbara
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Barbara%2C_California> and Paso
> Robles <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paso_Robles_AVA> areas.
>     Industries
> Agriculture <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agriculture> (including
> fruit <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fruit>, vegetables
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetable>, dairy
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dairy>, wine
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wine> and marijuana
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marijuana>) is a major California
> industry. In 2004 agriculture brought in $31.68 billion in revenue,
> making it more than twice the size of any other state's agriculture
> industry. In fact, California is the world's fifth largest supplier of
> food and agriculture commodities.^[1]
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_California#endnote_CDFA>
> Agriculture accounts for just slightly over 2% of California's $1.55
> trillion gross state product.
> The Hollywood sign is the most well-known symbol of California's huge
> entertainment industry.
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Hollywood_Sign_close_up_2006.jpg>
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Hollywood_Sign_close_up_2006.jpg>
> The Hollywood <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood> sign is the
> most well-known symbol of California's huge entertainment industry.
> Other major industries include:
>     * aerospace <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerospace>
>     * entertainment
>       <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entertainment_industry>, primarily
>       television <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Television> by dollar
>       volume, although many movies <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film>
>       are still made in California
>     * light manufacturing including computer hardware
>       <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_hardware> and software
>       <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software>, and the mining
>       <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mining> of borax
>       <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borax>.
> California also draws significant revenue from international trade and
> tourism <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourism>. The exports of goods
> made in California totaled $94 billion in 2003.^[2]
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_California#endnote_econ>
> Nearly $40 billion of that total was computers and electronics,
> followed by agriculture, non-electrical machinery, transportation, and
> chemicals <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical>.^[3]
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_California#endnote_econ>
> Total direct travel spending in California reached $82.5 billion in
> 2004, a 7.4% increase over the preceding year.^[4]
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_California#endnote_tourism>
> Los Angeles County
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_County%2C_California>
> receives the most tourism in the state.^[5]
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_California#endnote_tourism>
> Oil drilling <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_drilling> has played a
> significant role in the development of the state. There have been
> major strikes in the Bakersfield
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakersfield%2C_California>, Long Beach
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Beach%2C_California>, Los Angeles
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles%2C_California> and off the
> California coast <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coastal_California>.
> Historically, California's economy has been controlled by huge
> corporations such as the Southern Pacific Railroad
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Pacific_Railroad>, Standard Oil
> of California
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_Oil_of_California> and the
> Pacific Gas and Electric Company
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Gas_and_Electric_Company>.
>     Gross domestic product (GDP)
> California is responsible for 13% of the United States' gross domestic
> product <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_domestic_product> (GDP).
> The state's GDP is at about $1.7 trillion (as of 2006).
> The GDP increased at an annual rate of 3.1% in the first quarter of
> 2005.^[6]
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_California#endnote_GDP>
> The economy of California is often cited for how it would compare to
> other countries if California
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California> was an independent nation.
> The statistic quoted varies widely (usually placing California between
> 7th and 10th)^[10]
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_California#endnote_factbook>
> ^[11]
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_California#endnote_econ>
> ^[12]
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_California#endnote_worldranking>
> , depending on the source.
> Per capita personal income was $38,956 as of 2006, ranking 11^th in
> the nation.
> California's overall tax burden of $10.66 per $100 of personal income
> is slightly above the $10.43 average for the United States.

> And do you really think the ballot initiative is a good way to
> construct "public" budgets from parts?
> Think again.
> Apropos your California "gold rush" metaphor, the problem is that
> increasingly it's fool's gold in them thar hills. Too many obvious and
> potential (personal) existential risks completely beyond the control
> of anyone, aside from just the fundamental fairy-tale economic
> stability and sustainability.
> Did I mention the fact that at the time I lived out there the whole
> state was christened "the most flammable place on the planet?"
> Blackouts in Texas? Not really, thanks. Between that and the
> earthquakes, I wouldn't rent data center space out there for a buck a
> foot.
> Too much bad politics and bad public policy, a completely insane level
> of uncontrolled democracy, and too many natural existential and
> smaller-scale risks.
> Thanks, I think I --- and Joe the Inventor --- will stay put. And to
> suggest that the national (indeed global, because even so ours
> function better than most) capital market concern raised is invalid
> because everything is better in the Land of Plenty is just foolish and
> myopic.
> jb
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