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From the Los Angeles Times:

Why San Francisco’s way of doing business beat Los Angeles’

Michael Storper

For most of the 20th century, Los Angeles was one of America’s top economic success stories. From 1910 to 1970, as greater L.A. multiplied its population 21 times, it fostered high-quality growth, zooming up the ranks of income per inhabitant to become America’s fourth-ranked metropolitan area. It was at the center of the core technology industries of the moment: movies and aerospace.

Its regional rival was its northern neighbor, San Francisco, where trucking and transportation, communications equipment and corporate and banking headquarters put Bay Area residents even higher on the income scale: No. 1 in 1970.

For decades, though, the differences between No. 1 and No. 4 were minor. California’s two big-city regions were a pair of economic miracles.

Today, the five-county Los Angeles region is ranked 25th on the income scale, while the 10-county Bay Area region remains No. 1. Per capita, workers in the Bay Area make 30% more than those in greater Los Angeles. That’s almost as great a difference as divides high-income and middle-income countries.

To succeed in the new economy … Southern California has to face its mistakes over the last 30 years.

In Los Angeles, the average household income is about $40,000. In the Bay Area, it’s $62,000. Both regions have fabulously wealthy people and neighborhoods, and areas and populations of severe poverty. Even after taking into account higher housing costs, those at the bottom of the ladder in San Francisco are, on average, better off, and higher incomes there also mean greater public spending on schools, transportation and healthcare, without higher taxes.

What happened to Southern California?

Put simply, Los Angeles’ business class, its movers and shakers, were too conservative, too backward looking in their goals and their style to recognize and nurture what would become the new economy. To the world at large, Southern California seems like the least stodgy of metropolitan areas. But when it came to what counts now — a highly interconnected “ecosystem” of entrepreneurs and investors, technologists and innovators — Los Angeles stumbled.

There are plenty of examples of lost opportunities.

In 1960s and early ’70s, L.A.’s high-tech companies made more sophisticated semiconductors than firms in the Bay Area did. Computer Science Corp. in L.A. was the largest software company on the New York Stock Exchange, and the first to be listed. Los Angeles had its share of computer geniuses as well: The first Internet message was sent from Leonard Kleinrock’s computer at UCLA in 1969; Kleinrock invented the digital packet switch, one of the keys to the Internet.

But L.A.’s information technology companies — TRW, Rockwell and Lockheed Martin — were content to focus on lucrative but ultimately limited government contracts. Up north, Fairchild, Xerox, Hewlett-Packard and Schockley Semiconductors, which also worked as government contractors, saw the future and branched out into the consumer market.

There’s some truth to this: Route 128 outside Boston also was an example of a tech center that was tied down by its defense industry culture. But a lot of it is just the winner-take-all nature of geographic concentrations of industry, which the Information Superhighway was supposed to obviate. Instead, the Information Superhighway made Silicon Valley immensely rich.

Ultimately, Steve Jobs and Apple would come to symbolize just how revolutionary that shift would be.

Actually, my vague impression is that the corporate culture of both Silicon Valley and Los Angeles were somewhat underachieving at building high profit empires in the past. While Silicon Valley had some profit-obsessed companies such as Intel and Oracle, Apple, for all its fame over the last 35 years, was notoriously a boutique-scale cashflow generator for its first 25 years or so from its founding in 1977.

It was considered uncool in Silicon Valley to get Bill Gates rich or Michael Dell rich (Larry Ellison of Oracle, who is obviously one of the great businessmen in American history, was never that cool) — until Silicon Valley guys started to get that rich, at which point it became very cool.

Southern California firms seemed to be especially weak at sticking to their knitting and getting super rich. Back in the 1980s the Chicago market research firm where I worked bought a fast-growing Manhattan Beach software firm. Then the founders quickly stopped coming into the office and appeared to spend most of their time at the beach. That seemed to be pretty common at the time.

But, yeah, a big reason that Southern California’s per capita income is so much lower today than Northern California’s today is because of Moynihan’s Law of the Canadian Border. Northern California figured out how to mask elitism with liberalism earlier. I wrote in VDARE in 2004:

Now, however, it has become clear that Northern California’s traditional elitism has helped it withstand the onslaught of illegal immigration better than Southern California’s traditional populist libertarianism.

Personally, I always preferred the greater openness of Southern California society. But that kind of freedom comes at the expense of quality of life when it’s abused by millions of foreign lawbreakers.

To use David Hackett Fischer’s system for categorizing the four kinds of British immigrants, Northern Californian was largely founded by New Englanders of Puritan descent. Southern California was largely populated by Middle Westerners, whose social roots typically stretch back to colonial Pennsylvania and to the South. By the 1950s, it was the paradise of the common man.

Northern California went through the typical political evolution of post-Puritans: into Lincolnian Republicans, then reformist Progressives, then modern lifestyle liberals intent, paradoxically, on preserving old-fashioned amenities like open space, traditional architecture, higher culture, and wildlife.

In contrast, Southern California was much more conservative, as the popularity of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan testify. But in the 1990s, much of the GOP base began to be driven into the Great Basin by illegal immigration-driven population growth. Southern California’s Republican remnant, in its gated communities, is coming around to the Northern liberal point of view.

Northern California forestalled much of the dreariness of Southern California’s Hispanic areas by being a high-cost economy. Ferociously powerful unions kept wages high. Stringent aesthetic restrictions and large amounts of land devoted to parks kept housing costs high. Northern Californians spearheaded the environmentalist movement—which had the unspoken but not-unintended consequence of driving up property values even further.

Southern California, in contrast, was not heavily unionized or environmentalized. It encouraged developers to put up huge tracts of homes.

Conservatives have had a hard time grasping that homeowners often use environmental laws to thwart new developments and enhance the value of their own property. Conservatives like to think of themselves as preserving property rights from meddling environmentalists. But the fact is that property owners themselves are often among those most intent on meddling.

 
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  1. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Of course, LA, is *the* global epicenter of mass third world immigration bar none, although New Labour did their damndest to give London that dubious accolade.

    Modern economic orthodoxy has it that mass third world immigration is irreducible key to economic growth and prosperity.
    Or so The Economist magazine told me.

  2. In nyc, the landmarks law is often abused by well to do city homeowners who propose swaths of not very impressive housing stock for landmark status in order to solidify gentrification. It works, too.

  3. What was being paid for was (symbolically) an Answer to the Challenge of Sputnik: in short, an improved technological establishment. We needed to know more than we did about numerous things hitherto granted low public priority: rocketry, satellites, re-entry, instrumentation, space medicine, telemetry, weightlessness, solid-state devices, propellants, nuclear drives, the solar wind, on and on. And in a hurry. The universities were (1) to conduct research in a hundred such conceivable areas and in many ways inconceivable; (2) to teach young scientists; (3) to go on, of course, being whatever it was they were, which was doubtless a good thing to be, though Sputnik seemed to have shown it wasn’t enough. As Ike said of something else entirely, “I don’t believe I ever spoke out against it, I said this, it was just from—since I have never made a deep study of the thing, because what was the use, from my viewpoint, I said I thought on balance it was unwise.” That about summed up the plight of the liberal arts, which found themselves justifying their own relevance quite as tendentiously as any piece of research got justified on a grant application.

    Now research, until it’s been done, always sounds like a joke, one reason, undone, it’s so difficult to justify. Arthur Koestler has argued that the mental faculty that can frame jokes and the faculty that can frame scientific hypotheses work identically and may even be identical. Both a joke and a new hypothesis entail bringing together what hasn’t been thought of in one mental act before. When is a human being like a cat? When he’s in free fall, for instance adrift outside a spacecraft, and needs to alter his position with nothing to push against. And the better to train astronauts, countless cats were dropped, and how they contrived to always land on their feet was studied by high-speed photography. The dynamic analysis is very tricky. Imagine writing the Grant Proposal for that, and you grasp the usefulness of Eisenhowerese to keep the Granting Body from just bursting out laughing. (I don’t know if a proposal was ever written; maybe NASA simply rounded up some alley cats and dropped them quietly in a back room.)

    So the surreal enters, and the rhetoric of disguising surreality. And once they’ve entered, they commence to valve the flow of everything fluid: words, ideas, cash.

    “When Academe Ran a Fever” –Hugh Kenner

    “Put simply, Los Angeles’ business class, its movers and shakers, were too conservative, too backward looking in their goals and their style to recognize and nurture what would become the new economy. To the world at large, Southern California seems like the least stodgy of metropolitan areas. But when it came to what counts now — a highly interconnected “ecosystem” of entrepreneurs and investors, technologists and innovators — Los Angeles stumbled.”

    That rather sounds like being able to explain your “Grant Proposal” to an investor face-to-face is the business style of a more efficient system for allocating capital than writing up a grant proposal that a bureaucrat three thousand miles away will parse when he gets to it if he remembers to get around to it.

    But I wonder if and if so to what exact didactic use toward understanding how San Francisco outsripped LA in every good way is the career path of the proprietor here presiding? If Steve is a master of the universe, maybe Ron Unz is a microcosm of God. Anyhow…that makes me think of Dilbert.

    The proper study of mankind is cartoons. Scott Adams, a cartoonish philosopher who plays a cartoonist, wrote an amazing book in 2001, called God’s Debris. The story was a thought experiment positing that an omniscient God would know all but non-existence—which is why God blew himself up, with what we call The Big Bang. Whence a kind of pantheism ensued; and God has been collecting himself back into one mind ever since: an object that picked up speed with the world wide web; and it is not improbable that one day all human knowledge and experience will be online; at which point God will be whole once more. I’ suppose that’s about what F.H. Bradley was thinking when he said with infamous obscurity, “The Absolute enters into, but is itself incapable of, evolution and progress.”

  4. I always feel like saying to the mainstream press, it’s the demographics, stupid. I could have written a better article just using about 5 sentences. Of course, that wouldn’t fill the space, but still.

  5. In other words, “Keep Portland weird… and white.”

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    ^this
  6. Why San Francisco’s way of doing business beat Los Angeles’

    Second guessing is the most fun game around, but it is kind of cruel to run around and suggest we would all be as rich as Silicon Valley if we just played our cards right.

    I’m not sure consumer electronics is the best model to emulate, seeing that it entails selling lots of features and computing power that people don’t need/use at a high price point.

  7. What exactly is wrong with a bit of meddling? What exactly are conservatives conserving if the consideration of aesthetics and open space is seen as a devious challenge to the quick and cheap paving of one of the world’s most naturally gifted regions.

    18 million people, 100 contiguous miles of sprawl from side to side, cemented together thoughtlessly and lazily by countless developers, politicians, retailers and homeowners and lobbys, many of whom i dare say have family in Indiana rather than Oxcaca.

    The increased stress to infrastructure and quality of life from illegal immigration is obvious but to place the despoiling of SoCal solely at the feet of foreign lawbreakers feels cheap and untrue.

    • Replies: @rod1963
    So called white Conservatives did nothing but ruin Los Angeles, they made it unfit to live in. Even before the flood of illegals in the 90's, the place was going to pot. Developers and their pet council members ate up chunk after chunk of beautiful land and replaced it with junk tract homes, strip malls and assorted architectural monstrosities.

    And when they couldn't find anything left to ruin in Los Angeles proper they went to outlying areas to ruin them as well with more cookie cutter, soul sucking housing tracts that make people hate their lives, more low income apartments, more strip malls and shopping centers. City planning amounted to stuffing as many houses as possible onto a plot of land even if it is on active fault lines.

    Locals who wanted to keep their towns as they are were hit with SLAPP lawsuits to shut them up by fat cat developers or they just sued the cities to get what they wanted.

    They so over developed the place that made a water shortage all but inevitable.

    In my view the real culprits in the CA drought is a your white developer, businessmen and politicians. Who put money before all else.
  8. San Francisco grew up as a port even if LA is now a much bigger one and San Francisco’s moribund. That is why SF was the biggest city on the West Coast until the early 20th century. Prior to Silicon Valley, SF was also the financial capital of the West. Wells Fargo and Bank of America had their headquarters in SF. The nascent Silicon Valley was another world from SF, 50 miles down the peninsula. That owed more to Stanford University being the epicenter of electronic research. The big money in California in the 60’s and 70’s was in real estate development and finance. In fact, the FIRE economy pushed out blue collar workers and industry from San Francisco and its nearby suburbs and now the Tech economy is driving the FIRE industry out. Bank of America, e.g., no longer owns its signature building in downtown SF and is headquartered in Charlotte.

    I suspect Nolan Bushnell might be the true father of San Francisco’s current position as a tech capital. Atari made computer technology into a consumer good and both Jobs and Wozniak got their start working for Atari. Once computer technology became cheap enough and user friendly enough for everyday use the money poured into Silicon Valley. In a world were twenty something Yahoo entrepreneurs could make hundreds of millions of dollars and cellphone applications became billion dollar unicorn companies the idea of living in Milpitas when you could afford Pacific Heights didn’t make much sense.

  9. @Reg Cæsar
    In other words, "Keep Portland weird... and white."

    ^this

  10. They may have kept Jeb’s loving actors out of the bay area but they definitely did not succeed in keeping out Obama’s family. Personally I’ll take Oaxaca over Oakland any day of the week.

  11. Ellison not cool? He’s the only one with a lifestyle that a billionaire should have. Bond villains wish they could live like Larry!

  12. Michael Dell, you say?

    He’s actually from, or at least he started Dell in, Austin, Texas.

    Maybe the embryonic SoCal tech industry was hurt by the end of the Cold War, while the end of the Cold War didn’t affect the relatively boutique SV analogue.

    I do find it interesting now that California’s three most prominent office holders are Bay Area residents: Jerry Brown (Oakland), Feinstein (SF), and Boxer (Marin County). From what I see, the odds on favorite to replace Boxer in the Senate is state AG Kamala Harris (San Francisco), the only “Republican” who was ever said to have a prayer was Condoleezza Rice (Stanford/SV).

    And the reason why NorCal is wiping the floor with SoCal is that MIT will always beat Guatemala.

    • Replies: @SFG
    Right...I think Steve's point is that closeted-race-realist limousine liberalism made SF turn into MIT, whereas whatever they had in LA had it turn to Guatemala.
    , @MarkinLA
    Lots of middle class jobs were lost at the end of the cold war. General Dynamics had a huge production facility in Pomona. Those weren't all engineering jobs. There were plenty of jobs for machinists and technicians. Litton Industries, Hughes Aircraft Company, TRW, Dassualt Systemes. ITT Gilfillan, Ford Aerospace all had some production facilities and many are long gone or a shell of their former self.

    There is also the so-called law of large numbers. The population is much larger in LA so the average wage is generally always going to be closer to the US average than some smallish place like SF.
  13. advancedatheist [AKA "RedneckCryonicist"] says:

    OT: Steve, have you ever crossed paths with followers of Andrew J. Galambos? I know people who took courses in his screwball philosophy, and apparently back in the 1960’s and 1970’s he had a following among engineers and software developers in the Southland.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Joseph_Galambos

  14. Yet another manifestation of what Carl Oglesby called “The Yankee-Cowboy War”.

  15. What about the Castro v. West Hollywood debate? Where do you stand in that debate?

  16. “And the reason why NorCal is wiping the floor with SoCal is that MIT will always beat Guatemala.”

    Until Ahmed the Clock Boy arrives with his full scholarship from Qatar. (I see from news reports that Ahmed has been “reunited” with his clock, so I gather plans are afoot to make that marvelous invention a showpiece of Qatar’s main museum, sort of like Lindbergh’s “Spirit of St. Louis” hangs in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.)

  17. Off topic, but if you have not seen this before Steve you definitely should. In a sentence, Trump does better among non whites than Bernie Saunders.

    http://slatestarcodex.com/2015/10/23/a-whiter-shade-of-candidate/

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    "Rich people are rich because they solve difficult problems." --Donald Trump (from Think Big and Kick Ass, Harper Collins, 2007)
  18. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:

    Embedded in this story is one that sounds a lot like the Shannon Christian and Christopher Newsom case. Were the perps also members of the city’s trampled underclass?

    https://read.atavist.com/whatsoever-things-are-true

  19. The top story at the NYT is an elegy for middle-class-friendly, environmentally intact California of past decades that Steve often writes about. The writer, Daniel Duane, doesn’t get into the causes of the decline, like this blog does. He just analyzes the symptoms.

    If “California is where the future happens first,” then there are dark days ahead for the rest of America.

  20. I wonder what Joel Kotkin thinks of this analysis. He championed immigration at the beginning of his career but I sense he had gradually shifted his opinion without coming out and actually saying so.

    • Replies: @JerseyGuy
    Luke,
    I've gotten that impression too. He's slowly come to the realization that mass immigration (either unskilled or of the H1B type) does nothing to strengthen the middle class. He's pretty outspoken against Silicon Valley too.
  21. @countenance
    Michael Dell, you say?

    He's actually from, or at least he started Dell in, Austin, Texas.

    Maybe the embryonic SoCal tech industry was hurt by the end of the Cold War, while the end of the Cold War didn't affect the relatively boutique SV analogue.

    I do find it interesting now that California's three most prominent office holders are Bay Area residents: Jerry Brown (Oakland), Feinstein (SF), and Boxer (Marin County). From what I see, the odds on favorite to replace Boxer in the Senate is state AG Kamala Harris (San Francisco), the only "Republican" who was ever said to have a prayer was Condoleezza Rice (Stanford/SV).

    And the reason why NorCal is wiping the floor with SoCal is that MIT will always beat Guatemala.

    Right…I think Steve’s point is that closeted-race-realist limousine liberalism made SF turn into MIT, whereas whatever they had in LA had it turn to Guatemala.

  22. I grew up in San Diego Co. My family was there because of the defense industry, and all of my childhood friends’ fathers worked for GD, GA, M/A comm, SAIC, or the biotech firms, if they weren’t outright Navy or Marines.

    The defense industry crowd is what propelled UCSD to bring the second best engineering school in the UC system, above UCLA.

    The engineers in those companies were all transplants from the Midwest, with high hopes for their own kids. But something about San Diego killed it for their kids. Their own kids wanted to be surfers and stoners, and culture was anti work and anti intellectual. Masters and PhD holding parents were becoming okay with their kids bumming it at SDSU or surfing.

    Then the Berlin Wall collapse defense industry recession hit hard, and LA lost its aero industry, and San Diego survived because of cell phones and what became Qualcomm. But the culture wasn’t there for young twenty somethings who were nerdy because it was still overwhelmingly for stoners and surfers.

    The bay area did attract them. They were attracted to Apple, Oracle, Cisco and a hundred semi conductor manufacturers.

    Meanwhile, the nerds hated Hollywood. And after the aero collapse, LA became just a media industry town, and nerds couldn’t compete with glitx and self promotion. Young people in LA were all writing their own screenplay. Nerds wanted to get away.

    • Agree: JohnnyWalker123
    • Replies: @SFG
    Crazy thought, and I'd love to hear from any actual SoCallers--maybe the nerds turned into stoners and surfers?

    We know programmers are often highly intelligent and highly lazy, and that combination of the two makes for lots of labor-saving algorithms. Maybe, with the better weather and beaches, some of the geeks on the fence just decided to go out and surf instead?
    , @Palo Altan of old
    You've put your finger on it precisely.
    An aunt of mine and her husband, he with a doctorate , she with a masters, had four children and lived right on the beach in a place called Capistrano Beach, one of the early gated communities.When I say "right on the beach" I mean you stepped out of the house and on to the beach, where the breakers and the pristine sand stretched out for miles in either direction.
    Result: beach bum boys, not one of whom graduated from college (well, one did, but only after he realised in his mid-twenties that otherwise his already growing family was going to starve). Another was still surfing nearly full time at age 40. They were not stupid: the graduate was tested with a 150 IQ, and the surfer is a very articulate and very amusing conversationalist.
    What was it? The fatal pull of the sun, the sea and the sky I suppose.
    I was lucky in at least two ways: It all meant nothing to me, and I grew up in Palo Alto.
  23. This talk of MIT brings up the issue of college admissions. Stanford and Harvard have generated a lot more computer billionaires than Cal Tech (strict merit, no AA) and MIT (subdued AA compared to other top schools).

    It seems that the Cal Tech policy of filling the class with the highest possible non-verbal IQ does not produce software entrepreneurs like Harvard and Stanford’s “mix of the smartest and richest, together with athletes and leaders with very high IQ.”

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    This is typical of the out-of-ass speculation so common at this blog: "I don't notice many celebrity billionaires from MIT instead of Harvard-- those pointy-headed STEM geeks sure aren't too gifted at media succor i.e. net worth, ho ho! What a noticer I be" when the average annual income of the last 10 MIT classes dwarfs either Stanford's or Harvard's. It never occurs to any of you what admissions offices and their private armies of publicists do between April and October.
    , @Alice
    What MIT and Caltech lack, relative to Stanford and Harvard, is a large proportion of US students who come from money.

    The MIT report
    http://www.kauffman.org/what-we-do/research/2009/08/entrepreneurial-impact-the-role-of-mit

    shows that MIT creates great wealth. What it hasn't created are as many flashy roommates for its brilliant inventors, roommates with ties to enough seed money to get you started.
    , @PhysicistDave
    Lot wrote:

    It seems that the Cal Tech policy of filling the class with the highest possible non-verbal IQ...
     
    Actually, the latest data I have seen show Caltech tied with Harvard and Yale on the Writing part of the SAT and beating both Stanford and Princeton. Caltech ties U. of Chicago on Critical Reading and beats everyone else, including the three Ivies.

    I.e., even if you toss out the math score, Caltech still beats everyone else on a combined Writing plus Critical Reading score.

    Of course, no one can touch Caltech on math.

    Caltech is not just "non-verbal IQ."

    Dave Miller in Sacramento

  24. I wonder what the average IQ is in the Bay Area. I suspect thay for an area of its size it has by far the smartest population in the US, and probably the world.

    If the nationwide average is ~100, then the Bay has to be at least, what, 110?

  25. Stringent aesthetic restrictions and large amounts of land devoted to parks kept housing costs high.

    Here’s a chart comparing park statistics for big West Coast cities:

  26. Steve –

    the ability of people in the SF Bay area to convince themselves that their own “reality” is in fact, well, real, is amazing.

    We have just the summer moved back to San Francisco from Paris, France after a few years in Europe. It’s incredibly amusing to see the infighting here focused around housing costs (ridiculously expensive – much more so than in Paris, if you can believe it), gentrification, and “displacement.”

    The current really nasty fight is about AirBnB, where one of the city’s notorious propositions (in this case, F) is on the ballot looking to more or less hog tie people renting out property on short-term bases under the guise of addressing the shortage of traditional rental units.

    This seasoning has been added to a stew already simmering about the evil tech companies, with their shuttle buses down to the valley, and the negative impact that is being placed on “traditional” SF communities in places like the Mission District.

    The rhetoric is of course heated.

    “Tech Bros” is a frequent trope.

    Among those “at risk” are immigrant communities.

    Talk about through the looking glass.

    I wonder why the people here complaining about infiltrators (itself, odd, as most talk about long-term residents and not natives, as I think a good chunk are at least somewhat self-aware that they themselves came from elsewhere and “displaced” someone) almost always seem to focus on people ostensibly from Ohio or Illinois or New Jersey, but NEVER on people from Mexico or China.

    It’s true that there is an imbalance of supply-demand in the Bay area (perhaps as you say, this is by design).

    But if one looks at the census stats, more than one in three SF residents (36%) is foreign born. Implicitly, the reductio of this is that someone born in a foreign land is more welcome than someone born in the US.

    Not that I would advocate this, but if there were no immigrants in SF, what would the cost of housing look like?

    Add to the mix that estimates run at about one in five houses sold in the Bay area is being bought by foriegn investors (about half never occupy the house) – many with cash and sight unseen.

    THAT is disrupting the real estate market as well, and seldom if ever mentioned.

    Nope. It’s always tech companies – and then, the examples are almost always some 25 year old white guy from Indiana – that are to blame.

    • Replies: @Anonymous

    But if one looks at the census stats, more than one in three SF residents (36%) is foreign born. Implicitly, the reductio of this is that someone born in a foreign land is more welcome than someone born in the US.

    Not that I would advocate this, but if there were no immigrants in SF, what would the cost of housing look like?

    Add to the mix that estimates run at about one in five houses sold in the Bay area is being bought by foriegn investors (about half never occupy the house) – many with cash and sight unseen.

    THAT is disrupting the real estate market as well, and seldom if ever mentioned.

    Nope. It’s always tech companies – and then, the examples are almost always some 25 year old white guy from Indiana – that are to blame.
     
    Nailed it. This is similar to what's happening where I live, a bit more inland.
    , @Clifford Brown
    Agreed. It's amazing that the discussion of real estate prices whether in Los Angeles, SF or NYC almost never mention the influence of immigration rates on real estate prices. People are surrounded by immigrants yet for some reason think they play no role in determining real estate prices.
  27. @Alice
    I grew up in San Diego Co. My family was there because of the defense industry, and all of my childhood friends' fathers worked for GD, GA, M/A comm, SAIC, or the biotech firms, if they weren't outright Navy or Marines.

    The defense industry crowd is what propelled UCSD to bring the second best engineering school in the UC system, above UCLA.

    The engineers in those companies were all transplants from the Midwest, with high hopes for their own kids. But something about San Diego killed it for their kids. Their own kids wanted to be surfers and stoners, and culture was anti work and anti intellectual. Masters and PhD holding parents were becoming okay with their kids bumming it at SDSU or surfing.

    Then the Berlin Wall collapse defense industry recession hit hard, and LA lost its aero industry, and San Diego survived because of cell phones and what became Qualcomm. But the culture wasn't there for young twenty somethings who were nerdy because it was still overwhelmingly for stoners and surfers.

    The bay area did attract them. They were attracted to Apple, Oracle, Cisco and a hundred semi conductor manufacturers.

    Meanwhile, the nerds hated Hollywood. And after the aero collapse, LA became just a media industry town, and nerds couldn't compete with glitx and self promotion. Young people in LA were all writing their own screenplay. Nerds wanted to get away.

    Crazy thought, and I’d love to hear from any actual SoCallers–maybe the nerds turned into stoners and surfers?

    We know programmers are often highly intelligent and highly lazy, and that combination of the two makes for lots of labor-saving algorithms. Maybe, with the better weather and beaches, some of the geeks on the fence just decided to go out and surf instead?

    • Replies: @Ivy
    There is a large and largely invisible tech/nerd base in SoCal. One significant contingent is the remnant of the aerospace engineering talent and related job shops. Those that didn't take early retirement were recycled into numerous tech ventures such as the networking and similar firms along the 101 corridor or in the South Bay and westside.

    Their kids got the benefit of nerd parents but also the influence of social media and the SoCal lifestyle divesions, so there was a fall-off in nerdiness. Perhaps there is some handy factor or metric to describe that, such as number of pocket protectors per thousand high school students (kidding)? The SoCal engineering schools (in no particular order, UCLA, USC, UCSD, UCSB, Harvey Mudd, Cal Tech, etc) are all formidable reservoirs of talent and represent a wealth of young brilliance. There has been an Asian drift in admissions from the heyday of Anglos, as with other undergrad admissions.

    Having said that, there has been a shift toward more entrepreneurial activity by students as they saw, or heard about, the disruption in their families from the DoD budget cuts that impacted so many employers and households. Kids I talk with say that they want to be their own boss and to own their own businesses, plural.

    , @Lot
    You can surf with a wet suit in Northern California and many do.

    The type of teenage boy who becomes a surfer stoner in the beach towns in Southern California becomes a skater stoner elsewhere.

    Also from what I have seen, the average age of surfers is around 35 and old guys outnumber teenagers.
  28. @Alice
    I grew up in San Diego Co. My family was there because of the defense industry, and all of my childhood friends' fathers worked for GD, GA, M/A comm, SAIC, or the biotech firms, if they weren't outright Navy or Marines.

    The defense industry crowd is what propelled UCSD to bring the second best engineering school in the UC system, above UCLA.

    The engineers in those companies were all transplants from the Midwest, with high hopes for their own kids. But something about San Diego killed it for their kids. Their own kids wanted to be surfers and stoners, and culture was anti work and anti intellectual. Masters and PhD holding parents were becoming okay with their kids bumming it at SDSU or surfing.

    Then the Berlin Wall collapse defense industry recession hit hard, and LA lost its aero industry, and San Diego survived because of cell phones and what became Qualcomm. But the culture wasn't there for young twenty somethings who were nerdy because it was still overwhelmingly for stoners and surfers.

    The bay area did attract them. They were attracted to Apple, Oracle, Cisco and a hundred semi conductor manufacturers.

    Meanwhile, the nerds hated Hollywood. And after the aero collapse, LA became just a media industry town, and nerds couldn't compete with glitx and self promotion. Young people in LA were all writing their own screenplay. Nerds wanted to get away.

    You’ve put your finger on it precisely.
    An aunt of mine and her husband, he with a doctorate , she with a masters, had four children and lived right on the beach in a place called Capistrano Beach, one of the early gated communities.When I say “right on the beach” I mean you stepped out of the house and on to the beach, where the breakers and the pristine sand stretched out for miles in either direction.
    Result: beach bum boys, not one of whom graduated from college (well, one did, but only after he realised in his mid-twenties that otherwise his already growing family was going to starve). Another was still surfing nearly full time at age 40. They were not stupid: the graduate was tested with a 150 IQ, and the surfer is a very articulate and very amusing conversationalist.
    What was it? The fatal pull of the sun, the sea and the sky I suppose.
    I was lucky in at least two ways: It all meant nothing to me, and I grew up in Palo Alto.

    • Replies: @2Mintzin1
    Alice nailed it, alright. Ocean Beach, San Diego, where I lived in 1976, was like a surfer's ghetto. The guys would walk past the house at 4:30 pm carrying their boards, like commuters getting off the Long Island Railroad train at Huntington. Many of them rented garages to live in , and actually did nothing but surf (selling a little pot to bring in cash or picking up odd jobs) well into their '40's.

    There was also plenty of government cash being thrown around. My next door neighbor was on welfare, attended art classes at the local community college, and entertained sailors in her apartment at night for extra cash.

    It was a kind of Lotus Land back then, kind of seductive...I considered staying, but it was just too flaky.
    , @G Pinfold

    Result: beach bum boys, not one of whom graduated from college (well, one did, but only after he realised in his mid-twenties that otherwise his already growing family was going to starve). Another was still surfing nearly full time at age 40. They were not stupid: the graduate was tested with a 150 IQ, and the surfer is a very articulate and very amusing conversationalist.
     
    You left out the part, essential to the moral of the story, where bad things happen to the slackers. As it is, people may wonder...
  29. Steve, have you seen the NY Times Mag “Strange Case of Anna Stubblefield” piece yet? It’s insane — like the Frankfurt-School-Sinatra-Has-A-Cold of IQ denialism, ableism, molestation hysteria, real molestation under color of “science,” pseudo-medico-novelty obsession, and crazy PhD’s gone wild; it’s like the Citizen Kane of irreplicability, man

    • Agree: SPMoore8
    • Replies: @SPMoore8
    Thanks for bringing that article to my attention. No question the lady is insane and she molested this guy; at the same time, ten to twenty years for two counts of sexual assault is excessive. Also interesting that she invoked "tikkun olam" to justify her having sex with a severely retarded African American cerebral palsy sufferer, even while stepping out on her black tuba playing husband and two kids. Truly a "piece of work." Bottom line, all mental health professionals want to be Anne Bancroft in "The Miracle Worker."
  30. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Lot
    This talk of MIT brings up the issue of college admissions. Stanford and Harvard have generated a lot more computer billionaires than Cal Tech (strict merit, no AA) and MIT (subdued AA compared to other top schools).

    It seems that the Cal Tech policy of filling the class with the highest possible non-verbal IQ does not produce software entrepreneurs like Harvard and Stanford's "mix of the smartest and richest, together with athletes and leaders with very high IQ."

    This is typical of the out-of-ass speculation so common at this blog: “I don’t notice many celebrity billionaires from MIT instead of Harvard– those pointy-headed STEM geeks sure aren’t too gifted at media succor i.e. net worth, ho ho! What a noticer I be” when the average annual income of the last 10 MIT classes dwarfs either Stanford’s or Harvard’s. It never occurs to any of you what admissions offices and their private armies of publicists do between April and October.

    • Replies: @Lot

    What a noticer I be” when the average annual income of the last 10 MIT classes dwarfs either Stanford’s or Harvard’s.
     
    What counts are the big donors, not the average.

    Why the umbrage? Your start-up fail? I am not saying this is a good thing.

    Anyway, here's the 2009 list of where the Forbes 400 went to school:


    Harvard 54
    Stanford 25
    Penn 18
    Yale 16
    Columbia 16
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (11)
    Northwestern University (10)
    University of Chicago (10)
    Cornell University (9)
    University of California, Berkeley (9)
    University of Southern California (9)
    University of Texas, Austin (9).
    , @Anonymous
    A significant proportion of Harvard and Stanford undergrads go straight to graduate or professional school, depressing the average income of graduating classes. Certainly many MIT grads do the same, but more of them are able to obtain a well-paid job directly out of undergrad.
  31. We used to have this debate back in the 70s-80s.

    I’ve lived in both locations. I think overall SoCal is a nicer place to live, but I admit there are times when I travel to SF that it feels as if I’m entering civilization. But that’s probably largely because it’s an older city with top restaurants, boutiques, etc.

    And don’t forget all the surf/skate/clothing/car/motorcycle start-ups in SoCal, expecially in OC. There are a lot of e-cig and “vape”start-ups in the area, too. Costa Mesa seems to have a lot of new companies. And of course there’s a huge bio-tech community centered around UCI.

    There are so many tech start-ups in Westside LA that the area has been dubbed “Silicon Beach.”

    I get the impression that SoCal attracts a lot more wealthy foreigners than NorCal does.

    • Replies: @pyrrhus
    The last 10 Harvard classes have been loaded with females and minorities who are NOT majoring in STEM....hard for the STEM majors to make up for that!
  32. @SFG
    Crazy thought, and I'd love to hear from any actual SoCallers--maybe the nerds turned into stoners and surfers?

    We know programmers are often highly intelligent and highly lazy, and that combination of the two makes for lots of labor-saving algorithms. Maybe, with the better weather and beaches, some of the geeks on the fence just decided to go out and surf instead?

    There is a large and largely invisible tech/nerd base in SoCal. One significant contingent is the remnant of the aerospace engineering talent and related job shops. Those that didn’t take early retirement were recycled into numerous tech ventures such as the networking and similar firms along the 101 corridor or in the South Bay and westside.

    Their kids got the benefit of nerd parents but also the influence of social media and the SoCal lifestyle divesions, so there was a fall-off in nerdiness. Perhaps there is some handy factor or metric to describe that, such as number of pocket protectors per thousand high school students (kidding)? The SoCal engineering schools (in no particular order, UCLA, USC, UCSD, UCSB, Harvey Mudd, Cal Tech, etc) are all formidable reservoirs of talent and represent a wealth of young brilliance. There has been an Asian drift in admissions from the heyday of Anglos, as with other undergrad admissions.

    Having said that, there has been a shift toward more entrepreneurial activity by students as they saw, or heard about, the disruption in their families from the DoD budget cuts that impacted so many employers and households. Kids I talk with say that they want to be their own boss and to own their own businesses, plural.

  33. @Anonymous
    This is typical of the out-of-ass speculation so common at this blog: "I don't notice many celebrity billionaires from MIT instead of Harvard-- those pointy-headed STEM geeks sure aren't too gifted at media succor i.e. net worth, ho ho! What a noticer I be" when the average annual income of the last 10 MIT classes dwarfs either Stanford's or Harvard's. It never occurs to any of you what admissions offices and their private armies of publicists do between April and October.

    What a noticer I be” when the average annual income of the last 10 MIT classes dwarfs either Stanford’s or Harvard’s.

    What counts are the big donors, not the average.

    Why the umbrage? Your start-up fail? I am not saying this is a good thing.

    Anyway, here’s the 2009 list of where the Forbes 400 went to school:

    Harvard 54
    Stanford 25
    Penn 18
    Yale 16
    Columbia 16
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (11)
    Northwestern University (10)
    University of Chicago (10)
    Cornell University (9)
    University of California, Berkeley (9)
    University of Southern California (9)
    University of Texas, Austin (9).

    • Replies: @SFG
    Nice to see some data, which confirm your point, though the MIT geeks aren't doing too shabby.

    I have to say this whole 'your startup fail?' ad hominem thing gets kind of tiring; it's the same 'oh, here's a guy who couldn't get laid' bit you see on feminist blogs, or 'he must secretly be a Jew' bit slightly further out on the alt-right. Maybe we could all make a mutual agreement to drop it?

    , @Hibernian
    How many of these are inheritors, who might gravitate toward the Ivy League?
  34. The beach bum problem definitely appears to have been an issue from my youth in Santa Cruz. It’s a fun place to grow up–I had a ball–but the achievement level of the natives is not high. Most of them are very happy, so one might wonder whether achievement is all that. However, way back when it was still quite cheap to live there. Now that all the achievers have figured out how easy is to get down 17, they’ve sent housing prices into the upper atmosphere. It’s not quite so easy to be a bum there as it used to be.

  35. @SFG
    Crazy thought, and I'd love to hear from any actual SoCallers--maybe the nerds turned into stoners and surfers?

    We know programmers are often highly intelligent and highly lazy, and that combination of the two makes for lots of labor-saving algorithms. Maybe, with the better weather and beaches, some of the geeks on the fence just decided to go out and surf instead?

    You can surf with a wet suit in Northern California and many do.

    The type of teenage boy who becomes a surfer stoner in the beach towns in Southern California becomes a skater stoner elsewhere.

    Also from what I have seen, the average age of surfers is around 35 and old guys outnumber teenagers.

  36. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @DWB
    Steve -

    the ability of people in the SF Bay area to convince themselves that their own "reality" is in fact, well, real, is amazing.

    We have just the summer moved back to San Francisco from Paris, France after a few years in Europe. It's incredibly amusing to see the infighting here focused around housing costs (ridiculously expensive - much more so than in Paris, if you can believe it), gentrification, and "displacement."

    The current really nasty fight is about AirBnB, where one of the city's notorious propositions (in this case, F) is on the ballot looking to more or less hog tie people renting out property on short-term bases under the guise of addressing the shortage of traditional rental units.

    This seasoning has been added to a stew already simmering about the evil tech companies, with their shuttle buses down to the valley, and the negative impact that is being placed on "traditional" SF communities in places like the Mission District.

    The rhetoric is of course heated.

    "Tech Bros" is a frequent trope.

    Among those "at risk" are immigrant communities.

    Talk about through the looking glass.

    I wonder why the people here complaining about infiltrators (itself, odd, as most talk about long-term residents and not natives, as I think a good chunk are at least somewhat self-aware that they themselves came from elsewhere and "displaced" someone) almost always seem to focus on people ostensibly from Ohio or Illinois or New Jersey, but NEVER on people from Mexico or China.

    It's true that there is an imbalance of supply-demand in the Bay area (perhaps as you say, this is by design).

    But if one looks at the census stats, more than one in three SF residents (36%) is foreign born. Implicitly, the reductio of this is that someone born in a foreign land is more welcome than someone born in the US.

    Not that I would advocate this, but if there were no immigrants in SF, what would the cost of housing look like?

    Add to the mix that estimates run at about one in five houses sold in the Bay area is being bought by foriegn investors (about half never occupy the house) - many with cash and sight unseen.

    THAT is disrupting the real estate market as well, and seldom if ever mentioned.

    Nope. It's always tech companies - and then, the examples are almost always some 25 year old white guy from Indiana - that are to blame.

    But if one looks at the census stats, more than one in three SF residents (36%) is foreign born. Implicitly, the reductio of this is that someone born in a foreign land is more welcome than someone born in the US.

    Not that I would advocate this, but if there were no immigrants in SF, what would the cost of housing look like?

    Add to the mix that estimates run at about one in five houses sold in the Bay area is being bought by foriegn investors (about half never occupy the house) – many with cash and sight unseen.

    THAT is disrupting the real estate market as well, and seldom if ever mentioned.

    Nope. It’s always tech companies – and then, the examples are almost always some 25 year old white guy from Indiana – that are to blame.

    Nailed it. This is similar to what’s happening where I live, a bit more inland.

  37. @chrisOZ
    What exactly is wrong with a bit of meddling? What exactly are conservatives conserving if the consideration of aesthetics and open space is seen as a devious challenge to the quick and cheap paving of one of the world's most naturally gifted regions.

    18 million people, 100 contiguous miles of sprawl from side to side, cemented together thoughtlessly and lazily by countless developers, politicians, retailers and homeowners and lobbys, many of whom i dare say have family in Indiana rather than Oxcaca.

    The increased stress to infrastructure and quality of life from illegal immigration is obvious but to place the despoiling of SoCal solely at the feet of foreign lawbreakers feels cheap and untrue.

    So called white Conservatives did nothing but ruin Los Angeles, they made it unfit to live in. Even before the flood of illegals in the 90’s, the place was going to pot. Developers and their pet council members ate up chunk after chunk of beautiful land and replaced it with junk tract homes, strip malls and assorted architectural monstrosities.

    And when they couldn’t find anything left to ruin in Los Angeles proper they went to outlying areas to ruin them as well with more cookie cutter, soul sucking housing tracts that make people hate their lives, more low income apartments, more strip malls and shopping centers. City planning amounted to stuffing as many houses as possible onto a plot of land even if it is on active fault lines.

    Locals who wanted to keep their towns as they are were hit with SLAPP lawsuits to shut them up by fat cat developers or they just sued the cities to get what they wanted.

    They so over developed the place that made a water shortage all but inevitable.

    In my view the real culprits in the CA drought is a your white developer, businessmen and politicians. Who put money before all else.

    • Agree: (((Owen)))
  38. @Anonymous
    Steve, have you seen the NY Times Mag "Strange Case of Anna Stubblefield" piece yet? It's insane -- like the Frankfurt-School-Sinatra-Has-A-Cold of IQ denialism, ableism, molestation hysteria, real molestation under color of "science," pseudo-medico-novelty obsession, and crazy PhD's gone wild; it's like the Citizen Kane of irreplicability, man

    Thanks for bringing that article to my attention. No question the lady is insane and she molested this guy; at the same time, ten to twenty years for two counts of sexual assault is excessive. Also interesting that she invoked “tikkun olam” to justify her having sex with a severely retarded African American cerebral palsy sufferer, even while stepping out on her black tuba playing husband and two kids. Truly a “piece of work.” Bottom line, all mental health professionals want to be Anne Bancroft in “The Miracle Worker.”

  39. Hmm, Larry Ellison, graduate of South Shore HS in Chicago… Nobel Prize DNA guy James Watson, attended South Shore… Actor Mandy Patinkin also South Shore… Suze Orman SSHS…

    Why doesn’t South Shore HS have any more illustrious alumni anymore?

    Could it be the great Black invasion from the Deep South chased off all the JEWS that inhabited the south side of Chicago?

    • Replies: @Hibernian
    The pre-1965 South Shore was not all Jewish.
    , @Mike Zwick
    Hyde Park still has a sizeable Jewish population. Ironically, many of Chicago's Jews left Chicago and moved to Southern California.
  40. Nocal’s colleges were better and luckier than Socal’s. When I was a pup applying to colleges Berkeley and Stanford were very exclusive, UCLA and SC not so. UCSF and Stanford Med currently top 10 medical research.
    Silli Valley and biotech came out of the Nocal colleges.

  41. “Ferociously powerful unions kept wages high. Stringent aesthetic restrictions and large amounts of land devoted to parks kept housing costs high. ”

    Sounds like a plan guys.

    Throw in compulsory biometric ID for all citizens/Green Card holder and jail for anyone who hires illegals. All of this is more electorally saleable than bleating about Mexican rapists.

    What the US needs is a pro-organised-labour, anti-laissez-faire capitalist, anti-illegal immigration party. But as it happens, those who talk about opposing illegal immigration also tend to be social darwinists.

  42. 2Mintzin1 [AKA "Mike"] says:
    @Palo Altan of old
    You've put your finger on it precisely.
    An aunt of mine and her husband, he with a doctorate , she with a masters, had four children and lived right on the beach in a place called Capistrano Beach, one of the early gated communities.When I say "right on the beach" I mean you stepped out of the house and on to the beach, where the breakers and the pristine sand stretched out for miles in either direction.
    Result: beach bum boys, not one of whom graduated from college (well, one did, but only after he realised in his mid-twenties that otherwise his already growing family was going to starve). Another was still surfing nearly full time at age 40. They were not stupid: the graduate was tested with a 150 IQ, and the surfer is a very articulate and very amusing conversationalist.
    What was it? The fatal pull of the sun, the sea and the sky I suppose.
    I was lucky in at least two ways: It all meant nothing to me, and I grew up in Palo Alto.

    Alice nailed it, alright. Ocean Beach, San Diego, where I lived in 1976, was like a surfer’s ghetto. The guys would walk past the house at 4:30 pm carrying their boards, like commuters getting off the Long Island Railroad train at Huntington. Many of them rented garages to live in , and actually did nothing but surf (selling a little pot to bring in cash or picking up odd jobs) well into their ’40’s.

    There was also plenty of government cash being thrown around. My next door neighbor was on welfare, attended art classes at the local community college, and entertained sailors in her apartment at night for extra cash.

    It was a kind of Lotus Land back then, kind of seductive…I considered staying, but it was just too flaky.

    • Replies: @cthulhu
    Sounds like the teens and early twentysomethings from Tom Wolfe's marvelous essay The Pump House Gang moved from La Jolla to OB as they got older.
    , @Clifford Brown
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CalXM4vyIHM

    The flakiness is part of Southern California's charms, but I have friends who moved from very pleasant Laguna Beach back to the New York orbit because they feared their sons would grow up with no ambition beyond surfing and being a chill bro. Not sure if this is a legitimate concern, but perhaps it is in certain circles.

    The Lotus Land is perfectly captured in Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice and P.T. Anderson's film adaptation. Both are highly recommended.
  43. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “Prior to Silicon Valley, SF was also the financial capital of the West. Wells Fargo and Bank of America had their headquarters in SF.”

    This is important. The SF financial industry has always been good at bankrolling rather shaky “mining rush” or railroad-boom industries. A lot of the silicon valley high tech industry used to look like that.

    Up until about a decade ago, a not-insignificant factor in the difference, is that you could still get young married engineers to move to the Bay Area. Getting them to move to LA was more difficult. (That is, wives didn’t want to relocate to LA.) These days they take one look at the cost of living and don’t want to come to the Bay Area either. Of course, these days the Indian engineers go wherever their outsourcing company tells them.

    It would be interesting to compare white emigration from LA and the Bay Area.

    The topography of the Bay Area, which has more “protected pockets”, might play a role.

    It doesn’t hurt that the Bay Area is a world-leading tourist destination. LA? Well, maybe some people want to go there.

    Of course, the bay itself and the California delta are in the Bay Area, and LA does not have an equivalent.

    Transportation might also be a factor. You can live in some places in the Bay Area without needing a car. (All those Googlers who live in SF and ride the Google buses down to Google, for instance.)

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    Yeah, nobody visits LA

    http://www.ibtimes.com/20-most-popular-us-cities-international-travelers-1549178
  44. @Palo Altan of old
    You've put your finger on it precisely.
    An aunt of mine and her husband, he with a doctorate , she with a masters, had four children and lived right on the beach in a place called Capistrano Beach, one of the early gated communities.When I say "right on the beach" I mean you stepped out of the house and on to the beach, where the breakers and the pristine sand stretched out for miles in either direction.
    Result: beach bum boys, not one of whom graduated from college (well, one did, but only after he realised in his mid-twenties that otherwise his already growing family was going to starve). Another was still surfing nearly full time at age 40. They were not stupid: the graduate was tested with a 150 IQ, and the surfer is a very articulate and very amusing conversationalist.
    What was it? The fatal pull of the sun, the sea and the sky I suppose.
    I was lucky in at least two ways: It all meant nothing to me, and I grew up in Palo Alto.

    Result: beach bum boys, not one of whom graduated from college (well, one did, but only after he realised in his mid-twenties that otherwise his already growing family was going to starve). Another was still surfing nearly full time at age 40. They were not stupid: the graduate was tested with a 150 IQ, and the surfer is a very articulate and very amusing conversationalist.

    You left out the part, essential to the moral of the story, where bad things happen to the slackers. As it is, people may wonder…

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    Touché, Mr Pinfold, and both funny and true.
    But still: perhaps they could have a done a lot more to save the world they grew up in had they been just a bit more engaged with the society around them, and what was happening to it.
  45. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “The nascent Silicon Valley was another world from SF, 50 miles down the peninsula. That owed more to Stanford University being the epicenter of electronic research.”

    There’s a strong case to be made that the real heart of silicon valley has been Moffett field. (Which also fits in well with Stanford, Terman, HP, electronic research, etc., but is often an undertold part of the story.)

    It’s also easy to overlook that a lot of radio and television (the core technology) was developed in the Bay Area. (Farnsworth, etc.) The Bay Area has never not been silicon valley-ish, even though Route 128 at one time eclipsed it for awhile.

  46. @Lot

    What a noticer I be” when the average annual income of the last 10 MIT classes dwarfs either Stanford’s or Harvard’s.
     
    What counts are the big donors, not the average.

    Why the umbrage? Your start-up fail? I am not saying this is a good thing.

    Anyway, here's the 2009 list of where the Forbes 400 went to school:


    Harvard 54
    Stanford 25
    Penn 18
    Yale 16
    Columbia 16
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (11)
    Northwestern University (10)
    University of Chicago (10)
    Cornell University (9)
    University of California, Berkeley (9)
    University of Southern California (9)
    University of Texas, Austin (9).

    Nice to see some data, which confirm your point, though the MIT geeks aren’t doing too shabby.

    I have to say this whole ‘your startup fail?’ ad hominem thing gets kind of tiring; it’s the same ‘oh, here’s a guy who couldn’t get laid’ bit you see on feminist blogs, or ‘he must secretly be a Jew’ bit slightly further out on the alt-right. Maybe we could all make a mutual agreement to drop it?

  47. @Lot
    This talk of MIT brings up the issue of college admissions. Stanford and Harvard have generated a lot more computer billionaires than Cal Tech (strict merit, no AA) and MIT (subdued AA compared to other top schools).

    It seems that the Cal Tech policy of filling the class with the highest possible non-verbal IQ does not produce software entrepreneurs like Harvard and Stanford's "mix of the smartest and richest, together with athletes and leaders with very high IQ."

    What MIT and Caltech lack, relative to Stanford and Harvard, is a large proportion of US students who come from money.

    The MIT report
    http://www.kauffman.org/what-we-do/research/2009/08/entrepreneurial-impact-the-role-of-mit

    shows that MIT creates great wealth. What it hasn’t created are as many flashy roommates for its brilliant inventors, roommates with ties to enough seed money to get you started.

  48. The bay area long ago started investing in mass transit, and while it’s not perfect, it’s kept the area from being crippled by gridlock like SoCal. LA has only recently started investing in real mass transit and it will eventually pay dividends, but for now, LA is behind SF and its BART and freeway teardowns.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    Do you even live in LA? Mass transit is worthless in a city as large as LA. Unless you have extremely high speed underground rail (over 100 MPH) getting anywhere takes a long time. Almost nobody uses it except illegal aliens and people who's car broke down.
  49. @Lot

    What a noticer I be” when the average annual income of the last 10 MIT classes dwarfs either Stanford’s or Harvard’s.
     
    What counts are the big donors, not the average.

    Why the umbrage? Your start-up fail? I am not saying this is a good thing.

    Anyway, here's the 2009 list of where the Forbes 400 went to school:


    Harvard 54
    Stanford 25
    Penn 18
    Yale 16
    Columbia 16
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (11)
    Northwestern University (10)
    University of Chicago (10)
    Cornell University (9)
    University of California, Berkeley (9)
    University of Southern California (9)
    University of Texas, Austin (9).

    How many of these are inheritors, who might gravitate toward the Ivy League?

  50. @Joe Stalin
    Hmm, Larry Ellison, graduate of South Shore HS in Chicago... Nobel Prize DNA guy James Watson, attended South Shore... Actor Mandy Patinkin also South Shore... Suze Orman SSHS...

    Why doesn't South Shore HS have any more illustrious alumni anymore?

    Could it be the great Black invasion from the Deep South chased off all the JEWS that inhabited the south side of Chicago?

    The pre-1965 South Shore was not all Jewish.

    • Replies: @Flip
    There were a lot of Irish Catholics there too is my understanding.
  51. @2Mintzin1
    Alice nailed it, alright. Ocean Beach, San Diego, where I lived in 1976, was like a surfer's ghetto. The guys would walk past the house at 4:30 pm carrying their boards, like commuters getting off the Long Island Railroad train at Huntington. Many of them rented garages to live in , and actually did nothing but surf (selling a little pot to bring in cash or picking up odd jobs) well into their '40's.

    There was also plenty of government cash being thrown around. My next door neighbor was on welfare, attended art classes at the local community college, and entertained sailors in her apartment at night for extra cash.

    It was a kind of Lotus Land back then, kind of seductive...I considered staying, but it was just too flaky.

    Sounds like the teens and early twentysomethings from Tom Wolfe’s marvelous essay The Pump House Gang moved from La Jolla to OB as they got older.

  52. The park data for Los Angeles excludes the Santa Monica Mountains National Area and the Angeles National Forest. These areas are not city parks, but they are massive areas of open space bordering the city.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    But they're pretty vertical.

    Los Angeles should have set aside a quarter mile or so on either side of the Los Angeles River for ballfields and golf courses that can absorb floodwaters, Pasadena more or less did with the Arroyo Seco, and like Palm Springs and Scottsdale have since done. But they pretty much built right up to the edge, necessitating a concrete ditch to prevent catastrophic flooding. Also, building on sand and gravel floodplains is bad news during an earthquake, as in 1994 when most of the damage was done on old floodplains.

  53. @Hibernian
    The pre-1965 South Shore was not all Jewish.

    There were a lot of Irish Catholics there too is my understanding.

  54. @Clifford Brown
    The park data for Los Angeles excludes the Santa Monica Mountains National Area and the Angeles National Forest. These areas are not city parks, but they are massive areas of open space bordering the city.

    But they’re pretty vertical.

    Los Angeles should have set aside a quarter mile or so on either side of the Los Angeles River for ballfields and golf courses that can absorb floodwaters, Pasadena more or less did with the Arroyo Seco, and like Palm Springs and Scottsdale have since done. But they pretty much built right up to the edge, necessitating a concrete ditch to prevent catastrophic flooding. Also, building on sand and gravel floodplains is bad news during an earthquake, as in 1994 when most of the damage was done on old floodplains.

    • Replies: @Clifford Brown

    But they’re pretty vertical.
     
    Even better then for your cardio. Very funny.

    I do believe that access to a park is key aspect of living in a civilized urban setting and LA is definitely lacking in that regard, but I think these studies underestimate the amount of "open space" that is available in Los Angeles because the metric is based on traditional Eastern City amenities. It's all a matter of perspective. Coming from Chicago or New York, between the beaches and the mountains, there does seem like a pleasant amount of "open space" driving up the Malibu coast which is not very far from the LA border. O'Melveny Park in the San Fernando Valley is another great open space. It is indeed "vertical", but it is quite rare to have a "vertical" experience in a major urban park in other parts of the country.

    It reminds me of how people in Silicon Valley claim there is nowhere else to build when from a New York perspective it seems like outside of the Oracle Headquarters in Redwood City (which are actually pretty short buildings), they have not yet explored their "vertical" options in terms of development. Immediately behind Stanford there is a large swath of preserved "open space" and the shoreline of the San Francisco Bay in Silicon Valley seems woefully underdeveloped. Perhaps the Chinese immigrants can eventually inspire some future Chinese style land reclamation projects in the San Francisco Bay. Moffett Field which is maybe a half mile from the Googleplex is a massive former US Air Force base that is still undeveloped. Google is planning some development of the old blimp hangar, but except for NASA and Ray Kurzweil's weirdo transhumanist Singularity University, this area of Mountain View remains eerily undeveloped.
  55. @AKAHorace
    Off topic, but if you have not seen this before Steve you definitely should. In a sentence, Trump does better among non whites than Bernie Saunders.

    http://slatestarcodex.com/2015/10/23/a-whiter-shade-of-candidate/

    “Rich people are rich because they solve difficult problems.” –Donald Trump (from Think Big and Kick Ass, Harper Collins, 2007)

  56. @DWB
    Steve -

    the ability of people in the SF Bay area to convince themselves that their own "reality" is in fact, well, real, is amazing.

    We have just the summer moved back to San Francisco from Paris, France after a few years in Europe. It's incredibly amusing to see the infighting here focused around housing costs (ridiculously expensive - much more so than in Paris, if you can believe it), gentrification, and "displacement."

    The current really nasty fight is about AirBnB, where one of the city's notorious propositions (in this case, F) is on the ballot looking to more or less hog tie people renting out property on short-term bases under the guise of addressing the shortage of traditional rental units.

    This seasoning has been added to a stew already simmering about the evil tech companies, with their shuttle buses down to the valley, and the negative impact that is being placed on "traditional" SF communities in places like the Mission District.

    The rhetoric is of course heated.

    "Tech Bros" is a frequent trope.

    Among those "at risk" are immigrant communities.

    Talk about through the looking glass.

    I wonder why the people here complaining about infiltrators (itself, odd, as most talk about long-term residents and not natives, as I think a good chunk are at least somewhat self-aware that they themselves came from elsewhere and "displaced" someone) almost always seem to focus on people ostensibly from Ohio or Illinois or New Jersey, but NEVER on people from Mexico or China.

    It's true that there is an imbalance of supply-demand in the Bay area (perhaps as you say, this is by design).

    But if one looks at the census stats, more than one in three SF residents (36%) is foreign born. Implicitly, the reductio of this is that someone born in a foreign land is more welcome than someone born in the US.

    Not that I would advocate this, but if there were no immigrants in SF, what would the cost of housing look like?

    Add to the mix that estimates run at about one in five houses sold in the Bay area is being bought by foriegn investors (about half never occupy the house) - many with cash and sight unseen.

    THAT is disrupting the real estate market as well, and seldom if ever mentioned.

    Nope. It's always tech companies - and then, the examples are almost always some 25 year old white guy from Indiana - that are to blame.

    Agreed. It’s amazing that the discussion of real estate prices whether in Los Angeles, SF or NYC almost never mention the influence of immigration rates on real estate prices. People are surrounded by immigrants yet for some reason think they play no role in determining real estate prices.

  57. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “The bay area long ago started investing in mass transit, and while it’s not perfect…”

    The Bay Area was a long-time world-leader in pre-auto mass-transit.

    The pantograph (that diamond-shaped thing on the top of many electric trains and light-rail systems that brushes against the power-lines) was invented in the Bay Area in 1903:

    “…The familiar diamond-shaped roller pantograph was invented by John Q. Brown of the Key System shops for their commuter trains which ran between San Francisco and the East Bay section of the San Francisco Bay Area in California. They appear in photographs of the first day of service, 26 October 1903. For many decades thereafter, the same diamond shape was used by electric-rail systems around the world and remains in use by some today.”

  58. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Silicon valley corresponds to the route of CalTrain, the oldest permanent rail-line in California, which connects SF to San Jose. (#2 and #3 cities in California.) Stanford, Santa Clara University, San Jose State, and a number of smaller schools all have easy access to this line. Indian students (or anyone else who wants to) can go to one of these easier programs that have extensive industry connections (say, San Jose State) and, without needing to own a car that they often can’t afford, can work at numerous silicon valley companies that can easily be reached by CalTrain. It’s an advantage of the topography (long thin valley). Some of the towns along the CalTrain line (Sunnyvale) have become near Indian enclaves.

    “Caltrain Ridership Hits All-time High – Again”, CalTrain, May 7, 2015:

    “…average weekday ridership at an all-time high at 58,245 passengers…

    …Last year, Caltrain saw record ridership numbers of more than 61,000 during the peak season…”

    Bike cars are popular, make train commuting a bit more practical:

    “…Bike ridership on Caltrain increased 5.7 percent this year, with 6,207 riders bringing bikes on Caltrain on an average weekday.”

    Then there’s BART, VTA light-rail, and the ACE train…

    • Replies: @Palo Altan of old
    My old high school, Bellarmine College Prep, had rather more than "easy access" to that line - it had and has its own stop, called College Park.
  59. @2Mintzin1
    Alice nailed it, alright. Ocean Beach, San Diego, where I lived in 1976, was like a surfer's ghetto. The guys would walk past the house at 4:30 pm carrying their boards, like commuters getting off the Long Island Railroad train at Huntington. Many of them rented garages to live in , and actually did nothing but surf (selling a little pot to bring in cash or picking up odd jobs) well into their '40's.

    There was also plenty of government cash being thrown around. My next door neighbor was on welfare, attended art classes at the local community college, and entertained sailors in her apartment at night for extra cash.

    It was a kind of Lotus Land back then, kind of seductive...I considered staying, but it was just too flaky.

    The flakiness is part of Southern California’s charms, but I have friends who moved from very pleasant Laguna Beach back to the New York orbit because they feared their sons would grow up with no ambition beyond surfing and being a chill bro. Not sure if this is a legitimate concern, but perhaps it is in certain circles.

    The Lotus Land is perfectly captured in Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice and P.T. Anderson’s film adaptation. Both are highly recommended.

    • Replies: @cthulhu
    Thanks for bringing in "Inherent Vice", about as accessible as Pynchon gets after the extreme weirdness of "Against the Day" (although AtD has some passages that burn with the white-hot brilliance of a thousand suns, it also has some real sludge in there).

    As far as flakiness goes, I continue to be bemused that in San Diego, "formal" mostly appears to mean "wear socks with your sandals", except maybe in Rancho Santa Fe and the old-money part of La Jolla. I don't know much about the beach cities in Orange County and L.A. County's South Bay; are they as laid-back and flaky as, say, Ocean Beach in San Diego?
  60. @Clifford Brown
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CalXM4vyIHM

    The flakiness is part of Southern California's charms, but I have friends who moved from very pleasant Laguna Beach back to the New York orbit because they feared their sons would grow up with no ambition beyond surfing and being a chill bro. Not sure if this is a legitimate concern, but perhaps it is in certain circles.

    The Lotus Land is perfectly captured in Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice and P.T. Anderson's film adaptation. Both are highly recommended.

    Thanks for bringing in “Inherent Vice”, about as accessible as Pynchon gets after the extreme weirdness of “Against the Day” (although AtD has some passages that burn with the white-hot brilliance of a thousand suns, it also has some real sludge in there).

    As far as flakiness goes, I continue to be bemused that in San Diego, “formal” mostly appears to mean “wear socks with your sandals”, except maybe in Rancho Santa Fe and the old-money part of La Jolla. I don’t know much about the beach cities in Orange County and L.A. County’s South Bay; are they as laid-back and flaky as, say, Ocean Beach in San Diego?

    • Replies: @Clifford Brown
    Inherent Vice is one of my favorite books of the last decade. It feels lightweight at first glance, but if you are willing to pull back the layers a bit, things still get pretty weird. Much the same can still be said of Los Angeles.

    I only visit LA so I am not an expert on its beach culture. You can still find hints of the old flaky surfer vibe in pockets, but in general, I think it is gone. This is why "The Dude" from the Big Lebowski and Inherent Vice have a cultural pull. They are windows on a more interesting past. Flip flop casual lifestyle, though, is here to stay.

    The flakiest place in California is now the deep North of California around Garberville and environs. Not surprisingly, this is the hotbed of marijuana cultivation. Interestingly, Pynchon's 1990 novel Vineland is set in this area. Vineland about an aging Sixties hippie in Reagan's America deals with many of the same themes as Inherent Vice, but much less successfully and humorously in my opinion.

    Venice Beach used to be pretty out there and admittedly kind of dangerous. Now, it is all about conspicuous consumption. Still, there is a New Age bookstore or two that offer otherwise professional business women Tarot Card Readings and Chakra Analysis seven days a week. In general, New Age is having a bit of a resurgence.
  61. @Steve Sailer
    But they're pretty vertical.

    Los Angeles should have set aside a quarter mile or so on either side of the Los Angeles River for ballfields and golf courses that can absorb floodwaters, Pasadena more or less did with the Arroyo Seco, and like Palm Springs and Scottsdale have since done. But they pretty much built right up to the edge, necessitating a concrete ditch to prevent catastrophic flooding. Also, building on sand and gravel floodplains is bad news during an earthquake, as in 1994 when most of the damage was done on old floodplains.

    But they’re pretty vertical.

    Even better then for your cardio. Very funny.

    I do believe that access to a park is key aspect of living in a civilized urban setting and LA is definitely lacking in that regard, but I think these studies underestimate the amount of “open space” that is available in Los Angeles because the metric is based on traditional Eastern City amenities. It’s all a matter of perspective. Coming from Chicago or New York, between the beaches and the mountains, there does seem like a pleasant amount of “open space” driving up the Malibu coast which is not very far from the LA border. O’Melveny Park in the San Fernando Valley is another great open space. It is indeed “vertical”, but it is quite rare to have a “vertical” experience in a major urban park in other parts of the country.

    It reminds me of how people in Silicon Valley claim there is nowhere else to build when from a New York perspective it seems like outside of the Oracle Headquarters in Redwood City (which are actually pretty short buildings), they have not yet explored their “vertical” options in terms of development. Immediately behind Stanford there is a large swath of preserved “open space” and the shoreline of the San Francisco Bay in Silicon Valley seems woefully underdeveloped. Perhaps the Chinese immigrants can eventually inspire some future Chinese style land reclamation projects in the San Francisco Bay. Moffett Field which is maybe a half mile from the Googleplex is a massive former US Air Force base that is still undeveloped. Google is planning some development of the old blimp hangar, but except for NASA and Ray Kurzweil’s weirdo transhumanist Singularity University, this area of Mountain View remains eerily undeveloped.

  62. @Joe Stalin
    Hmm, Larry Ellison, graduate of South Shore HS in Chicago... Nobel Prize DNA guy James Watson, attended South Shore... Actor Mandy Patinkin also South Shore... Suze Orman SSHS...

    Why doesn't South Shore HS have any more illustrious alumni anymore?

    Could it be the great Black invasion from the Deep South chased off all the JEWS that inhabited the south side of Chicago?

    Hyde Park still has a sizeable Jewish population. Ironically, many of Chicago’s Jews left Chicago and moved to Southern California.

  63. @cthulhu
    Thanks for bringing in "Inherent Vice", about as accessible as Pynchon gets after the extreme weirdness of "Against the Day" (although AtD has some passages that burn with the white-hot brilliance of a thousand suns, it also has some real sludge in there).

    As far as flakiness goes, I continue to be bemused that in San Diego, "formal" mostly appears to mean "wear socks with your sandals", except maybe in Rancho Santa Fe and the old-money part of La Jolla. I don't know much about the beach cities in Orange County and L.A. County's South Bay; are they as laid-back and flaky as, say, Ocean Beach in San Diego?

    Inherent Vice is one of my favorite books of the last decade. It feels lightweight at first glance, but if you are willing to pull back the layers a bit, things still get pretty weird. Much the same can still be said of Los Angeles.

    I only visit LA so I am not an expert on its beach culture. You can still find hints of the old flaky surfer vibe in pockets, but in general, I think it is gone. This is why “The Dude” from the Big Lebowski and Inherent Vice have a cultural pull. They are windows on a more interesting past. Flip flop casual lifestyle, though, is here to stay.

    The flakiest place in California is now the deep North of California around Garberville and environs. Not surprisingly, this is the hotbed of marijuana cultivation. Interestingly, Pynchon’s 1990 novel Vineland is set in this area. Vineland about an aging Sixties hippie in Reagan’s America deals with many of the same themes as Inherent Vice, but much less successfully and humorously in my opinion.

    Venice Beach used to be pretty out there and admittedly kind of dangerous. Now, it is all about conspicuous consumption. Still, there is a New Age bookstore or two that offer otherwise professional business women Tarot Card Readings and Chakra Analysis seven days a week. In general, New Age is having a bit of a resurgence.

    • Replies: @Ripple Earthdevil
    There's also Fairfax in Marin County, fondly known as Mayberry on Acid.

    Newage (rhymes with sewage), like the hippie movement it somewhat overlaps with, never went away.
  64. @G Pinfold

    Result: beach bum boys, not one of whom graduated from college (well, one did, but only after he realised in his mid-twenties that otherwise his already growing family was going to starve). Another was still surfing nearly full time at age 40. They were not stupid: the graduate was tested with a 150 IQ, and the surfer is a very articulate and very amusing conversationalist.
     
    You left out the part, essential to the moral of the story, where bad things happen to the slackers. As it is, people may wonder...

    Touché, Mr Pinfold, and both funny and true.
    But still: perhaps they could have a done a lot more to save the world they grew up in had they been just a bit more engaged with the society around them, and what was happening to it.

  65. Isn’t it just geography and land restrictions? SF isn’t near a desert. It’s a peninsula, so it just gets more expensive all the time.

  66. @anonymous
    Silicon valley corresponds to the route of CalTrain, the oldest permanent rail-line in California, which connects SF to San Jose. (#2 and #3 cities in California.) Stanford, Santa Clara University, San Jose State, and a number of smaller schools all have easy access to this line. Indian students (or anyone else who wants to) can go to one of these easier programs that have extensive industry connections (say, San Jose State) and, without needing to own a car that they often can't afford, can work at numerous silicon valley companies that can easily be reached by CalTrain. It's an advantage of the topography (long thin valley). Some of the towns along the CalTrain line (Sunnyvale) have become near Indian enclaves.

    "Caltrain Ridership Hits All-time High - Again", CalTrain, May 7, 2015:


    "...average weekday ridership at an all-time high at 58,245 passengers...

    ...Last year, Caltrain saw record ridership numbers of more than 61,000 during the peak season..."

     

    Bike cars are popular, make train commuting a bit more practical:


    "...Bike ridership on Caltrain increased 5.7 percent this year, with 6,207 riders bringing bikes on Caltrain on an average weekday."

     

    Then there's BART, VTA light-rail, and the ACE train...

    My old high school, Bellarmine College Prep, had rather more than “easy access” to that line – it had and has its own stop, called College Park.

  67. @Laguna Beach Fogey
    We used to have this debate back in the 70s-80s.

    I've lived in both locations. I think overall SoCal is a nicer place to live, but I admit there are times when I travel to SF that it feels as if I'm entering civilization. But that's probably largely because it's an older city with top restaurants, boutiques, etc.

    And don't forget all the surf/skate/clothing/car/motorcycle start-ups in SoCal, expecially in OC. There are a lot of e-cig and "vape"start-ups in the area, too. Costa Mesa seems to have a lot of new companies. And of course there's a huge bio-tech community centered around UCI.

    There are so many tech start-ups in Westside LA that the area has been dubbed "Silicon Beach."

    I get the impression that SoCal attracts a lot more wealthy foreigners than NorCal does.

    The last 10 Harvard classes have been loaded with females and minorities who are NOT majoring in STEM….hard for the STEM majors to make up for that!

  68. “Million Dollar Shack” is a brief documentary about San Francisco Bay Area real estate. The real estate agent’s comments between 20:00 to 22:15 are packed with iSteve material.

  69. Public transportation in the Bay Area has always struck me as close to abysmal. CalTrain is OK, but most people still have to drive to reach a station and there is little to no parking. Ditto whatever they call that San Jose, Santa Clara light rail. The station at 4th and King is not convenient to most downtown offices. BART is … well, it’s better than nothing, but even the DC Metro is much better than it. For sheer filth and bummy goodness, BART is the national leader, though.

    MUNI is hands down the worst bus system in the nation.

  70. @countenance
    Michael Dell, you say?

    He's actually from, or at least he started Dell in, Austin, Texas.

    Maybe the embryonic SoCal tech industry was hurt by the end of the Cold War, while the end of the Cold War didn't affect the relatively boutique SV analogue.

    I do find it interesting now that California's three most prominent office holders are Bay Area residents: Jerry Brown (Oakland), Feinstein (SF), and Boxer (Marin County). From what I see, the odds on favorite to replace Boxer in the Senate is state AG Kamala Harris (San Francisco), the only "Republican" who was ever said to have a prayer was Condoleezza Rice (Stanford/SV).

    And the reason why NorCal is wiping the floor with SoCal is that MIT will always beat Guatemala.

    Lots of middle class jobs were lost at the end of the cold war. General Dynamics had a huge production facility in Pomona. Those weren’t all engineering jobs. There were plenty of jobs for machinists and technicians. Litton Industries, Hughes Aircraft Company, TRW, Dassualt Systemes. ITT Gilfillan, Ford Aerospace all had some production facilities and many are long gone or a shell of their former self.

    There is also the so-called law of large numbers. The population is much larger in LA so the average wage is generally always going to be closer to the US average than some smallish place like SF.

  71. @anonymous
    "Prior to Silicon Valley, SF was also the financial capital of the West. Wells Fargo and Bank of America had their headquarters in SF."

    This is important. The SF financial industry has always been good at bankrolling rather shaky "mining rush" or railroad-boom industries. A lot of the silicon valley high tech industry used to look like that.

    Up until about a decade ago, a not-insignificant factor in the difference, is that you could still get young married engineers to move to the Bay Area. Getting them to move to LA was more difficult. (That is, wives didn't want to relocate to LA.) These days they take one look at the cost of living and don't want to come to the Bay Area either. Of course, these days the Indian engineers go wherever their outsourcing company tells them.

    It would be interesting to compare white emigration from LA and the Bay Area.

    The topography of the Bay Area, which has more "protected pockets", might play a role.

    It doesn't hurt that the Bay Area is a world-leading tourist destination. LA? Well, maybe some people want to go there.

    Of course, the bay itself and the California delta are in the Bay Area, and LA does not have an equivalent.

    Transportation might also be a factor. You can live in some places in the Bay Area without needing a car. (All those Googlers who live in SF and ride the Google buses down to Google, for instance.)
  72. @vinny
    The bay area long ago started investing in mass transit, and while it's not perfect, it's kept the area from being crippled by gridlock like SoCal. LA has only recently started investing in real mass transit and it will eventually pay dividends, but for now, LA is behind SF and its BART and freeway teardowns.

    Do you even live in LA? Mass transit is worthless in a city as large as LA. Unless you have extremely high speed underground rail (over 100 MPH) getting anywhere takes a long time. Almost nobody uses it except illegal aliens and people who’s car broke down.

    • Replies: @Brutusale
    Let's not forget the endgame of public transportation built anywhere but the SWPLest of locales. My girlfriend's text's from last Friday afternoon about her experience on Boston's not-so-rapid transit system may be instructive:

    Her: "I have HAD it with the T! Some guy just tried to get on the bus dripping blood all over the place and he told the driver he got shot in the hand. The driver kicked him off. Then I get on the train at Mass Ave. and it smells like vomit. There's a puddle of it halfway up the car. Ugh!"

    Me: "WTF?"

    Her: "I wish they ran a separate service that cost 3X more to keep the shitbags off! The shitbags are just WAY shittier now."
  73. @Luke Lea
    I wonder what Joel Kotkin thinks of this analysis. He championed immigration at the beginning of his career but I sense he had gradually shifted his opinion without coming out and actually saying so.

    Luke,
    I’ve gotten that impression too. He’s slowly come to the realization that mass immigration (either unskilled or of the H1B type) does nothing to strengthen the middle class. He’s pretty outspoken against Silicon Valley too.

  74. @Clifford Brown
    Inherent Vice is one of my favorite books of the last decade. It feels lightweight at first glance, but if you are willing to pull back the layers a bit, things still get pretty weird. Much the same can still be said of Los Angeles.

    I only visit LA so I am not an expert on its beach culture. You can still find hints of the old flaky surfer vibe in pockets, but in general, I think it is gone. This is why "The Dude" from the Big Lebowski and Inherent Vice have a cultural pull. They are windows on a more interesting past. Flip flop casual lifestyle, though, is here to stay.

    The flakiest place in California is now the deep North of California around Garberville and environs. Not surprisingly, this is the hotbed of marijuana cultivation. Interestingly, Pynchon's 1990 novel Vineland is set in this area. Vineland about an aging Sixties hippie in Reagan's America deals with many of the same themes as Inherent Vice, but much less successfully and humorously in my opinion.

    Venice Beach used to be pretty out there and admittedly kind of dangerous. Now, it is all about conspicuous consumption. Still, there is a New Age bookstore or two that offer otherwise professional business women Tarot Card Readings and Chakra Analysis seven days a week. In general, New Age is having a bit of a resurgence.

    There’s also Fairfax in Marin County, fondly known as Mayberry on Acid.

    Newage (rhymes with sewage), like the hippie movement it somewhat overlaps with, never went away.

  75. @Lot
    This talk of MIT brings up the issue of college admissions. Stanford and Harvard have generated a lot more computer billionaires than Cal Tech (strict merit, no AA) and MIT (subdued AA compared to other top schools).

    It seems that the Cal Tech policy of filling the class with the highest possible non-verbal IQ does not produce software entrepreneurs like Harvard and Stanford's "mix of the smartest and richest, together with athletes and leaders with very high IQ."

    Lot wrote:

    It seems that the Cal Tech policy of filling the class with the highest possible non-verbal IQ…

    Actually, the latest data I have seen show Caltech tied with Harvard and Yale on the Writing part of the SAT and beating both Stanford and Princeton. Caltech ties U. of Chicago on Critical Reading and beats everyone else, including the three Ivies.

    I.e., even if you toss out the math score, Caltech still beats everyone else on a combined Writing plus Critical Reading score.

    Of course, no one can touch Caltech on math.

    Caltech is not just “non-verbal IQ.”

    Dave Miller in Sacramento

    • Replies: @Lot

    Caltech is not just “non-verbal IQ.”
     
    I agree. And all types of IQ are strongly correlated.

    That said, I bet if you exclude NAMs and football players Harvard beats CalTech on average verbal IQ/SAT. And nobody cares about the writing section, which Steve noted recently is going to get dropped entirely or already has.
  76. @MarkinLA
    Do you even live in LA? Mass transit is worthless in a city as large as LA. Unless you have extremely high speed underground rail (over 100 MPH) getting anywhere takes a long time. Almost nobody uses it except illegal aliens and people who's car broke down.

    Let’s not forget the endgame of public transportation built anywhere but the SWPLest of locales. My girlfriend’s text’s from last Friday afternoon about her experience on Boston’s not-so-rapid transit system may be instructive:

    Her: “I have HAD it with the T! Some guy just tried to get on the bus dripping blood all over the place and he told the driver he got shot in the hand. The driver kicked him off. Then I get on the train at Mass Ave. and it smells like vomit. There’s a puddle of it halfway up the car. Ugh!”

    Me: “WTF?”

    Her: “I wish they ran a separate service that cost 3X more to keep the shitbags off! The shitbags are just WAY shittier now.”

  77. @PhysicistDave
    Lot wrote:

    It seems that the Cal Tech policy of filling the class with the highest possible non-verbal IQ...
     
    Actually, the latest data I have seen show Caltech tied with Harvard and Yale on the Writing part of the SAT and beating both Stanford and Princeton. Caltech ties U. of Chicago on Critical Reading and beats everyone else, including the three Ivies.

    I.e., even if you toss out the math score, Caltech still beats everyone else on a combined Writing plus Critical Reading score.

    Of course, no one can touch Caltech on math.

    Caltech is not just "non-verbal IQ."

    Dave Miller in Sacramento

    Caltech is not just “non-verbal IQ.”

    I agree. And all types of IQ are strongly correlated.

    That said, I bet if you exclude NAMs and football players Harvard beats CalTech on average verbal IQ/SAT. And nobody cares about the writing section, which Steve noted recently is going to get dropped entirely or already has.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    Lot wrote:

    And nobody cares about the writing section...
     
    But... as I said, Caltech beats the Ivies more decisively on Critical Reading than on Writing.

    Lot also wrote:

    I bet if you exclude NAMs and football players Harvard beats CalTech on average verbal IQ/SAT.
     
    And I bet that if you exclude the whites and NAMs, Caltech beats Harvard: I knew a bunch of black and Hispanic students when I was an undergrad at Caltech -- they were bright.

    Anyway, why exclude the Asians (or the dumb Harvard jocks, legacy admits, etc.)? They are part of the student mix.

    In fact, Caltech was beating the Ivies on SAT scores even back around 1970, when the Asian influx had yet to happen.

    Caltech grads are indeed less likely to rise to the top financially for a very simple reason: the ethos at 'Tech is centered very, very strongly on research science, not on entrepreneurial activity. When I was a student at 'Tech, it was considered unseemly to even consider a career based on money: the only group of students who did so were the chemical engineering majors, and they were subject to incessant (friendly) teasing as a result.

    Looking back forty years later, I do think 'Tech over-emphasized research science: we need super-bright people in industry as well as in the academic world. I would now tend to advise bright students to choose MIT, or perhaps Stanford, over Caltech. Nonetheless, Caltech does indeed beat the Ivies on verbal IQ, decisively.

    Of course, if there were an "Arrogance Quotient," Harvard would win hands down (my kid brother went to Harvard... you have no idea).

    Dave
  78. @Lot

    Caltech is not just “non-verbal IQ.”
     
    I agree. And all types of IQ are strongly correlated.

    That said, I bet if you exclude NAMs and football players Harvard beats CalTech on average verbal IQ/SAT. And nobody cares about the writing section, which Steve noted recently is going to get dropped entirely or already has.

    Lot wrote:

    And nobody cares about the writing section…

    But… as I said, Caltech beats the Ivies more decisively on Critical Reading than on Writing.

    Lot also wrote:

    I bet if you exclude NAMs and football players Harvard beats CalTech on average verbal IQ/SAT.

    And I bet that if you exclude the whites and NAMs, Caltech beats Harvard: I knew a bunch of black and Hispanic students when I was an undergrad at Caltech — they were bright.

    Anyway, why exclude the Asians (or the dumb Harvard jocks, legacy admits, etc.)? They are part of the student mix.

    In fact, Caltech was beating the Ivies on SAT scores even back around 1970, when the Asian influx had yet to happen.

    Caltech grads are indeed less likely to rise to the top financially for a very simple reason: the ethos at ‘Tech is centered very, very strongly on research science, not on entrepreneurial activity. When I was a student at ‘Tech, it was considered unseemly to even consider a career based on money: the only group of students who did so were the chemical engineering majors, and they were subject to incessant (friendly) teasing as a result.

    Looking back forty years later, I do think ‘Tech over-emphasized research science: we need super-bright people in industry as well as in the academic world. I would now tend to advise bright students to choose MIT, or perhaps Stanford, over Caltech. Nonetheless, Caltech does indeed beat the Ivies on verbal IQ, decisively.

    Of course, if there were an “Arrogance Quotient,” Harvard would win hands down (my kid brother went to Harvard… you have no idea).

    Dave

  79. @Anonymous
    This is typical of the out-of-ass speculation so common at this blog: "I don't notice many celebrity billionaires from MIT instead of Harvard-- those pointy-headed STEM geeks sure aren't too gifted at media succor i.e. net worth, ho ho! What a noticer I be" when the average annual income of the last 10 MIT classes dwarfs either Stanford's or Harvard's. It never occurs to any of you what admissions offices and their private armies of publicists do between April and October.

    A significant proportion of Harvard and Stanford undergrads go straight to graduate or professional school, depressing the average income of graduating classes. Certainly many MIT grads do the same, but more of them are able to obtain a well-paid job directly out of undergrad.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The STEM college Harvey Mudd does spectacularly well in statistics that measure graduates' immediate salaries because it specializes in excellent education that makes 22 year olds worth a lot on the job market.
  80. @Anonymous
    A significant proportion of Harvard and Stanford undergrads go straight to graduate or professional school, depressing the average income of graduating classes. Certainly many MIT grads do the same, but more of them are able to obtain a well-paid job directly out of undergrad.

    The STEM college Harvey Mudd does spectacularly well in statistics that measure graduates’ immediate salaries because it specializes in excellent education that makes 22 year olds worth a lot on the job market.

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