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California: The Bellwether for the Rest of America

Time to take notes or suffer the same fate
Sunday, July 22, 2012, 7:44 PM
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Executive Summary

  • Escalating energy costs (direct and indirect) create a vicious cycle in the economy that further hinders growth/recovery
  • Overspending and other poor capital allocation decisions by state governments are compounding the problem
  • California spends $1 on public transit vs. $10 on automobile-related investment, a gap that energy costs will soon painfully reverse
  • Solutions are hard to come by and harder to fund, but without investment, alternative systems won't ever achieve scale
  • California's future is increasingly easy to predict; individuals and other state governments better take notes or suffer the same fate

If you have not yet read Part I: Dawn of the Great California Energy Crash, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

A key feature in the post-war industrial success of countries like South Korea and Japan, given that they had virtually no domestic energy supplies, was the ability to turn a profit from manufacturing powered by imported energy. This favorable equation relied on three key factors:

  • That imported energy remained a cheap input cost compared to the high margin value of exported goods
  • That energy producing countries had cheap energy to export
  • That purchasers of the exported goods were growing, and were running their own economies on cheap energy

These are the exact same assumptions still being made -- and extrapolated into infinity -- about California's economy.

Are we really to believe that California's GDP can forever deindustrialize, requiring fewer and fewer energy inputs, while growing in profitability, thus providing the capital to access/import energy -- at any price?

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