California—a state that by itself constitutes the world’s fifth-largest economy, is endowed with vast stores of human and natural resources, and has one of the planet’s most amenable climates for human habitation—is failing.

The Golden State is host to one of the country’s worst homelessness epidemics. It’s a state in which 19th century diseases such as typhus and tuberculosis are making a comeback. More people are moving out of the state than into it. Its rates of violent crime are on the rise. It has more failing schools than any other state in the Union. And now, true to basket-case form, California is home to massive, rolling power outages. But unlike in the developing world, these blackouts are not a result of resource deficiency but the voluntary imposition of darkness on the public.

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