Since its inception, California has always portrayed itself as the land of opportunity. Kind of like a dream within the American dream. It’s the California dream to be precise, and while it has taken on many forms over the years, the song has always remained the same.
That song preaches that anyone can become fabulously wealthy here. But unlike the American dream, the California dream does not demand effort, at least not in its current form. Instead, it offers low hanging fruit. It claims to be overflowing with opportunities, just waiting to be exploited. The grass is always greener here, and a new millionaire is made every day. So why not you? What are you waiting for? Anybody can make it big in the Golden State, haven’t you heard? You’d be a damn fool to stay in your podunk Midwestern town. Get over here already!
Of course, if you ask anyone who actually lives here, they’ll tell you the truth. The only people getting rich from the dream are the ones who made it up. They prey on the gullible masses who think they can move here and become movies stars, and tech CEO’s. But more importantly, this dream is the lifeblood of our vampiric state, and always has been. Like the myths surrounding the Great Wall of China, our foundations are layered with those who fell while chasing the dream. We owe our very existence to this ever evolving scam.
It all started with the gold rush. The first of our get rich quick schemes. As soon as word got out that there was gold in those hills, the rubes poured in by the thousands. The only folks who got rich were the ones who sold picks, pans and shovels to the miners at outrageous prices.
Then came the movie industry, which produces the one lie that never seems to die. There are always just enough success stories about talentless nobodies making it big, that the Hollywood machine will always have an abundance of starry eyed wannabes hoping to ride the gravy train to fame and fortune. Few ever “make it” of course, and the rest would be fortunate enough to get a second chance in the porn industry.
And who could forget the hippies? Ahhh the hippies. That one managed to suck in thousands angsty teenagers, who now make their living as either college professors or strung out homeless panhandlers, depending on who you ask. This scam was unique for it was not a get rich quick scheme in the financial sense, but in the spiritual and political sense. Hunter S. Thompson so astutely described them as “All those pathetically eager acid freaks who thought they could buy Peace and Understanding for three bucks a hit.”
You might be thinking to yourself “But how do you house and feed all these gullible masses?” I would say, as inefficiently as humanly possible. Only in California would they build gigantic cities hundreds of miles away from the nearest source of fresh water, because the weather is just so darn pleasant in LA. Then they feed those people with crops grown on thousands of square miles of desert. Not even Las Vegas can hold a torch to that kind of madness.
And between the poorly regulated water supply and the sublime weather conditions, you have the perfect recipe for the marijuana bubble, which hasn’t quite reached its peak. There are plenty of folks who think they can show up and make hundreds of thousands of dollars growing pot. They’re in for a rude awakening once the plant is fully legalized, and Philip Morris starts growing Mary Jane in such vast quantities, that it cost half as much as it does now, and runs all these people out of business.
By the way, our water supply didn’t just make our sprawling dystopian cities a reality. There’s no housing bubble if you don’t have houses and cities right? While California doesn’t carry all the blame for the housing crash of 2007, would it really be the same without this state? I seem to recall that the price of housing was pretty stable in other parts of the country, while it was ballooning to ridiculous levels every year in California. Our state was practically the epicenter of the “house flipping” fad.
Do you see what I’m getting at here? California is the pump and dump state. The history of California is a cascade of overlapping economic bubbles and ridiculous lies, each one bigger than the last. It’s the only thing that sustains us. The get rich quick scheme is our oldest trick, and it has never failed suck up an abundance of money and talent that would have never arrived here otherwise. The ever-changing Cali graft continues to operate to this day, though it’s finally starting to get repetitive.
Everyone remembers the dot-com crash right? Call me crazy, but aren’t we starting to see the same thing now with all these startups? We keep hearing stories about these young nobodies making millions after selling their tech companies. It’s kind of ridiculous isn’t it?
It’s the next gold rush, and just like all previous gold rushes, very few people are making that kind of money. The vast majority of these new companies you hear about, fail miserably. Silicon Valley is not the easy money tech mecca they want us all to believe in, and yet, people keep putting millions of dollars into these companies. It hasn’t even been 20 years since the last tech bubble burst, and now we’re in another one.
You see the same situation unfolding in the real estate market. When someone buys a 750sq foot fixer upper in San Francisco for $1.5 million, or when sharing a room with three people costs $1,000 a month per person, one must wonder if another real estate bubble is being inflated courtesy of the California dream, whose hallmarks are blind optimism and blissful ignorance.
The tech bubble and the housing bubble were responsible for the greatest financial losses in recent memory, and now they’re both back with a vengeance, and they appear primed to burst at the same time. And when they do, you can thank the California dream, the most outrageous and pervasive scam in American history. The century spanning hustle that just won’t die.
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Contributed by Joshua Krause of The Daily Sheeple.
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .