Smile Southern California, You're the Center of the Universe a recent book by James Flanigan, with its sunny cover and celebration of the prosperity of the region, is at first glance wildly at odds with our current economic recession and California’s enormous budget deficit (somewhere around $16 billion, at the latest estimate). James Srodes, a financial journalist at the Washington times, points out in a recent review that at first it may seem as if this book was only relevant before economic crisis; because in the time it has taken to be written and published, California has suffered the same downfalls as all the other states and in fact currently has the worst budget deficit of all the states. He goes on to say that this is not a negation of the importance of Flanigans work. In fact, the book can act as a sort of blue print for how a society can rise and prosper within the quickly changing international arena.
"First, there is international trade, which is now a leading contributor to the U.S. GDP in a world economy swelled by billions of new participants — principally the enormous populations of Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. In today's world, however, industries and countries do not merely exchange goods and services but collaborate in producing them. This is a new paradigm and a richer exchange.” (Flanigan)
No matter what criticisms may come to southern California, Flanigan makes clear that the region is a picture of globalization and flourishing trade; not to mention the fact that Southern California has become a modern “Ellis island” in terms of immigration.
"Southern California became the new Ellis Island and reaped economic energy as immigrants started businesses.” (Flanigan)
California has transformed from having a base of government funded science and technology research centers to relying on a knowledge-driven economy supported by the many world-class research universities of California; and the author shows that the research provided by these institutions can pave the way for the new administration in its quest to come out of this economic slump. Flanigan’s research itself certainly warrants national attention, and, as Srodes points out, can be used to “offer a direction that Mr. Obama and his planners would do well to consider — and promptly.”