Berkeley universities

What should California’s future look like? – Independent Marine Journal

When the Institute of Government Studies at the University of California at Berkeley conducted one of its periodic polls of California voters earlier this year, it found that only 36% of them thought the State “going in the right direction”, while 54% had a negative opinion. see.

Positive feelings about the state had fallen 10 percentage points from a previous poll just seven months earlier and were the lowest on record in a decade.

OK, so Californians are generally unhappy with the state’s direction, which means they’re sour on its future if conditions don’t change. Negative vibes may explain, at least in part, why the state is losing population.

Granted, there’s a lot to dislike about California today, including the nation’s highest level of homelessness, its highest level of poverty, its extreme economic disparity, its housing, its water supply crisis, its epidemic of forest fires, its spike in crime and, of course, its extremely high cost of living.

However, if we don’t like what is, or isn’t, happening in California, how would we want that to change? It is suspected that the 54% of Californians who dislike the direction of the state would strongly disagree about where California should go and how it should get there.

Nevertheless, thinking about the future and how to improve it is important for both people and societies – far better than passively letting it happen.

Unfortunately, politics is a poor vehicle for envisioning – and perhaps changing – the future. For most politicians, “long term” planning is the next election cycle.

There is, however, an ongoing effort to envision California’s future. Two think tanks, the Institute for the Future and California 100, have developed a “toolkit” of potential scenarios for California 10, 30, and 100 years into the future.

“The stakes have never been higher,” said Marina Gorbis, executive director of the Institute for the Future, in a statement as the organizations released their plan late last month. “As the world’s fifth-largest economy, decisions made in California today will have far-reaching implications for the country and the world – tomorrow.”

Karthick Ramakrishnan, executive director of California 100, a joint project of UC Berkeley and Stanford University, said the project hopes to “engage Californians in possible scenarios with a 10-year, 30-year, and 100-year timeline. year”. This toolkit, our research, and our innovation and engagement work will inform our engagement activities, including work with stakeholders, government agencies, community groups, and Californians in the months and year coming.

The scenarios developed by panels of researchers vary widely, but can generally be described as conservative, progressive, status quo, and self-protective. One of the 10-year scenarios, for example, is labeled “Texas Done Right,” erasing much of California’s infamous bureaucracy and regulatory thicket to allow private enterprise to thrive.

Another is the “California New Deal,” which roughly approximates the expansive welfare state that current policies, especially those introduced by Governor Gavin Newsom, would create.

The third is a passive scenario for the next decade called “Together in the fight”. He’s not trying to remake California, but plans to improve on what we already have.

Finally, there is “Protecting Your Own,” which is defined as Californians banding together in enclaves and erecting barriers against perceived threats.

These scenarios and others for farther into the future are thought-provoking, as expected, but they also leave readers wondering how any of them would be achieved, given the limitations of politics. The project would have been more useful if its authors had at least briefly listed the potential policy changes or other actions that would be needed.

Nonetheless, it’s something anyone who hasn’t lost faith in California yet should read.

Dan Walters has been a journalist for nearly 60 years, spending most of those years working for California newspapers. His commentary comes via CalMatters.org, a public interest journalism firm committed to explaining how the California State Capitol works and why it matters. To learn more, visit calmmatters.org/commentary.