The following is my first attempt at a Classification Essay for my college class at Moorpark college. I thought I'd run it by my friends to see what you think. So here goes.
Professor Randy Gifford
7 February 2009
In 1857 in his maiden speech before the United States Senate, California Senator David C. Broderick stated, "There is no state [speaking of California] in the Union, no place on earth, where labor is so honored and so well rewarded; no time and no place since the Almighty doomed the sons of Adam to toil, where the curse, if it be a curse, rests so lightly as now on the people of California." (1 Lynch, p. 175). In 2009, people still flock to California in search of “The Dream” of making it big. Generally speaking, wages are still higher here than in other state. Opportunities for employment are more plentiful and there are a greater variety of jobs here than any other place in the nation. In spite of recent economic downturns, Californians on the whole, are still better off than most major populous cities in the rest of the world. And though the state’s economy has fluctuated from the sixth largest in the world to the current standing of tenth, people still find labor to be rewarding and lucrative. Many businesses and industries thrive in California. From mom and pop shops to import/export magnets to Fortune 500 companies—all employ vast armies of people. The following three industries consistently hail among the top ten producers of California goods and services: the farmers who toil and sweat to cultivate and grow crops in the fertile fields and valleys of this rich land, the technological geniuses that have sparked the computer information revolution, and the brilliantly talented and creative moguls of the film industry.
The leading economic industry of California has always been farming and agriculture. What is the driving force behind the California farmer who grows food for a nation as well as the entire world? Who are these people? "The farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn't still be a farmer." (2 Rogers).These people—these optimistic farmers have to ask themselves—why do I farm and where? There are many reasons. Some people farm on something called a “stewardship” farm because they are the type of people who want to “help conserve and care for the land and other natural resources of the farm”. (3 Ikerd ). And others grow food solely for commercial gain. Still other people farm because they were raised on a farm. It’s in their blood. The live for the feel of the soil, the passion to watch things grow and to enjoy the gamble. They place their bets against the uncontrollable elements, water and irrigation problems, market prices, transportation issues, property taxes, higher production costs and governmental interference. These hardy people farm because it is a family tradition and a heritage from generations past. One such family grower in the local area of Ventura County is Underwood farms in Moorpark, California. Sara Jane and Craig Underwood are the current owners of the farm and oversee the day to day operations as well as the overall care for the soil, the manipulation of crops and care for vital pollinating insects. The farm has been in Craig’s family since 1867. They are especially known for their innovation in baby and specialty vegetables. People can go to their farm and hand pick right from the fields or orchards. They have their own roadside markets that serve the community and participate in thirteen different Farmer’s Markets that bring the fresh product directly into the community and into the hands of the end consumers. Pride in accomplishment, gratitude for the cooperation of Mother Nature and a loyalty to family heritage is what drives the Underwoods and other farmers to maintain excellence in farming.
Another factor in driving the economy of California is the computer information technology industry. The majority, but not all individuals that engineer, build and compute their way into the information industry have keen minds and highly developed intellects. Stanford University is a leading factor in the development and facilitation of information technology and culminating in many opportunities for enterprising young people. One such industry leader is Larry Page who became the innovator and co-creator of the Internet’s most popular search engine—Google. Shakespeare said: "Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em". (4 Shakespeare). Larry was a product of all three of those descriptions. Can the home environment and the way one is raised be the catalyst behind the career path a child chooses? Definitely. Larry was raised by a father who was a professor of computer science and a mother who taught computer programming. Engineering and computer magazines littered their home—literally. Larry said he always knew he wanted to invent things even as a young boy. Then at the age of twelve, he decided he would start his own company someday. When he went to Stanford for the PhD program, his research turned into something called a “search engine,” then other people thrust him into the limelight.“We didn't start out to do a search engine at all. In late 1995, I started collecting the links on the Web, because my advisor and I decided that would be a good thing to do. We didn't know exactly what I was going to do with it, but it seemed like no one was really looking at the links on the Web -- which pages link to which pages. In computer science, there's a lot of big graphs. Right now, (the Web) has like five billion edges and two billion nodes. So it is a huge graph. I figured I could get a dissertation and do something fun and perhaps practical at the same time, which is really what motivates me.” (5 Interview: Larry Page). Millions of people have been affected by the efforts, drive and genius of Larry Page. The word “Google” is actually considered a verb now. Who hasn’t “Googled” for a web site, map, directions, on-line images and a view of the earth from a satellite? From home nurturing to desire and drive to creative innovation, Larry Page has put his personal stamp on the economy of California and on the world.
Other major contributors to the economy of California are the people who drive the film industry. These talented and creative people use their genius to entertain and enliven. Who are these people and what are they like? Are they formally educated, have they had years of training in the industry or just have a stupendous amount of luck? For some movie moguls it is a combination of all three factors. One such mogul who has flooded the world with a treasure trove of entertainment, is the talented and creative director and producer, Steven Spielberg. Millions of people have spent billions of dollars to be entertained, scared stiff or to lose themselves in a world of fantasy and adventure all due to the unparalleled contributions of Steven Spielberg. He once reported that film making was in his blood. He made little films of blowing up Lionel trains as a young child, filming them then charging his friends to watch them. He had his little sister selling popcorn. Thus began his journey into film production.Steven made his own inroads into the business. After being denied entrance into prestigious film schools, he attended the University of Long Beach and studied English. On a ride around Universal Studios, he hopped off the tram, found a small janitorial closet and set up business. The studio people just got used to having him around so he stayed. Each step in Steven’s career led him upward. He made his first amateur film; an eight minute Western called The Last Gun, which eventually led him down the path to the ultimate dream fulfillment. From his first full length picture, he has also brought us alien fantasies such as E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial, action horror films such as Jaws, and adventurous romps such as the Raiders of the Lost Ark series. Then he has caused us to think with movies like The Color Purple and Schindler's List. He has captivated the kids with cartoons such as "Tiny Toon Adventures", and "Pinky and the Brain". California and the rest of the world will not soon forget the impact Steven Spielberg has had on the film industry. The State's economy had benefited immensely from the $4,613,000,000.00 his films have grossed. Roger Ebert (Sun-Times film critic) has stated, “If Spielberg never directed another film, his place in movie history would be secure. No other director has been more successful at the box office and few have placed more titles on various lists of great films. No director or producer has ever put together a more popular body of work. That’s why the movies we’re seeing are made in his image.” (6 Wills).
When the rest of the nation and the world—for that matter—look for a model of financial prowess, economic success and people who are willing to lay it all on the line for the industries they represent,California leads the way. From the humble people who bring crops from the ground sometimes with nothing more than their bare hands to the heads of major film studios, people of many unusual backgrounds and upbringing and differing fields of expertise can change the face of business and the economy. These three types of Californians, the farmers like the Underwoods, the technologically gifted entrepreneurs like Larry Page and men with vision and creativity like Steven Spielberg have changed forever the face of California industry and economics. They have influenced all of California—if not the rest of the world—with their hard work and devotion to a dream. Their labors have been richly rewarded and the world honors them.
1 Lynch, Jeremiah, 1849-1917, The Life of David C. Broderick, A Senator of the Fifties,1911); San Francisco, A.M. Robertson publisher, p. 175
2 Rogers, Will, http://www.willrogerstoday.com/will_rogers_quotes/quotes.cfm?qID=5
3 Ikerd, John, Why Do Small Farmers Farm? Published in Small Farm Today Magazine,September-October, 2003
4 Shakespeare’s play, Twelfth Night (Act II, v, 156-159)
5 Interview: Larry Page, Founding CEO, Google Inc. October 28, 2000; London, England; Academy of Achievement at www.achievement.org. This page last revised on Mar 1, 2007 13:44 PS
6 Wills, Dominic;http://www.tiscali.co.uk/entertainment/film/biographies/steven_spielberg_biog/8
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