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  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: June 2014

11 - Become an Economist – See the World


Childhood: The Golden State

I grew up in California in the 1950s and 1960s. I considered myself then entirely a child of that time and place. I have always enjoyed being able to tell people that I was born in San Francisco.

To me, California in that golden age had nothing to do with hedonism. During an era known for psychedelic rock in San Francisco – the late 1960s – I was probably one of the few kids in my high school never to try drugs or even touch alcohol.

California to me seemed the culmination of a linear westward march of civilization throughout history. Here is how it went. The first great civilizations arose in Asia, followed by the Egypt of the pharaohs. Progress had flowed westward ever since: the Greece of classical culture, the Rome of the Senate, the Florence of the Renaissance, the England of the Industrial Revolution, the America of the thirteen founding states, and the legendary pushing westward of the frontier.

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