El síndrome de California

STANFORD – California ha sido durante mucho tiempo una precursora de tendencias nacionales y mundiales (unas estupendas y otras excesivas), lugar de nacimiento de innovaciones de todas clases: desde la tecnología hasta los estilos de vida, pasando por el espectáculo. Las más importantes empresas de tecnología del mundo siguen naciendo –y teniendo su sede– en California: Apple, Intel, Oracle, Google y Facebook, por nombrar sólo algunas de la zona en la que yo doy clases y vivo.

En tiempos, California propició niveles de vida en aumento para una gran mayoría de la población y una tremenda movilidad económica ascendente. Ese estado tenía las mejores escuelas públicas y universidades estatales de los Estados Unidos. Sus ciudadanos estaban menos estratificados social y económicamente que en muchos otros de los Estados Unidos. Después de la segunda guerra mundial, los americanos no cesaron de emigrar a California, tierra de oportunidades y gran belleza natural y con algunas de las tierras agrícolas más fértiles del mundo.

Pero después hubo un profundo empeoramiento y la comprensión de sus causas brinda enseñanzas a los gobiernos nacionales y subnacionales de todo el mundo. La economía de California, cuyos resultados solían ser mejores que los del resto del país, ahora son mucho peores. La tasa de desempleo, de 12,4 por ciento, es la más alta de todos los estados, exceptuado el de Nevada.

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