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Southern California: The World's 15th Largest Economy

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    SANTA MONICA, CA - APRIL 16: The Pacific Wheel Ferris wheel, which has appeared in countless television shows, feature films, and commercials, stands lit but idle on the Santa Monica Pier as fans bid to purchase it through the online auction house, eBay, on April 16, 2008 in Santa Monica, California. The10-day bidding on the famous Los Angeles-area landmark opened at $50,000 and will close on April 25 with half of the winning bid being donated to Special Olympics Southern California. The Pacific Wheel was installed at the pier's Pacific Park amusement park in 1996 at a cost of $800,000 and was upgraded two years later to become the world's first solar-powered Ferris wheel. The 90-foot tall ride carried more than 3 million riders130 feet above the ocean on its 20 gondolas over the past 12 years. It is illuminated at night with 5,392 light bulbs. Installation of a $1.5 million more-contemporary replacement Ferris wheel is expected to begin on May 5 with a grand-opening ceremony set for May 22. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

    Most Californians have heard that their state is the world's eighth largest economy. According to a new analysis of federal data by the Center for Continuing Study of the California, the state remains 8th largest.

    This analysis also included some regional numbers that are just as striking. My favorite: if Southern California were its own country, it would be the 15th largest economy in the world -- right between Mexico (14th) and South Korea (16th). The Bay Area would be the 20th largest, between Switzerland and Belgium. San Diego would be 45th, between Nigeria and Pakistan (countries with populations of more than 150 million each).

    This data is a reminder: California is a very, very rich place. While our government may be in fiscal trouble, this state is not bankrupt. California has more than enough money to meet its needs -- provided it fixes its dysfunctional governing system.