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Mountain of Paradise

Reflections on the Emergence of Greater California as a World Civilization


Josef Chytry

Mountain of Paradise challenges conventional taxonomies of world civilizations by introducing a new and formidable candidate: the civilization of Greater California presently incubating as the evolution of California into a veritable «nation-state» or «world commonwealth» according to contemporary commentators and scholars. Through a series of reflective essays it clarifies the momentous implications of this claim by a thorough account of the genealogical origins of «California», permutation into its speculative moment of self-identity thanks to prolonged creative interchange with European thought and philosophy, advancement to status of a socio-economic powerhouse by the 1950s and 1960s, invention of distinctly Californian variants of political economy by the 1970s and 1980s, and present domination over regions formerly classified as «Greater California». In its range and originality Mountain of Paradise constitutes a robust contribution to current political, social, economic and global thematics.


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Chapter 6. Metaglobal California: California Irredenta


161 Chapter 6 Metaglobal California: California Irredenta Which leads to the closing question: Just how powerful is California? The previous chapters have entertained philological, historical, cultural, even management readings of California civilization. Some of the conclusions may be informative, perhaps edifying, but notwithstanding occasional references to strength on a global scale which draws grudging respect, little in this volume has so far systematically brought together the rock-bottom power of California. Fortunately Abraham Lowenthal’s recent summation of California’s pres- ence in a globalizing setting, Global California (2009), furnishes as effective an account as is needed.104 In a work in which much of the text is devoted to extensive documentary confirmation of the depth and range of California’s competitiveness in the world market, Lowenthal’s study is an indispensable starting-point for fur- ther reflection. At the same time Global California is committed to a specific mission: the laudable one of ensuring that optimal use be made by Californians of California’s global features and tendencies.105 While this is all to the good, it is no less important to secure a vantage-point even beyond Lowenthal’s global Califor- nia: to grasp, so to speak, a “meta”-global California which is not just expanding globally but also consolidating itself upon its own soil. 1. Before developing this issue, it is first worth cataloguing the scope and depth of California’s economic clout as narrated by Lowenthal and other sources. Overall, as earlier noted, California ranks eighth or ninth in the world in GDP rankings (see Figure 1). 104...

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