A Journey Through Oligarch Valley
A road guide to California's agricultural heartland and the billionaires who own it.
By Yasha Levine
NSFWCORP (June 2013) [PDF]
California's Central Valley — the area along the 5 from Silicon Valley to Los Angeles County — is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the United States. And it's owned by a small group of billionaires — billionaires who can trace their roots back to the landholdings of America’s most notorious criminal visionaries and syndicates: the Union Pacific Railroad, John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, Los Angeles Times owner and super-speculator Harry Chandler, obsessive-compulsive cattle baron Henry Miller... the list goes on and on.
These people run the place like their very own banana republic. They commute in on private jets to attend to the business of the day: buying politicians, taking over entire towns, importing immigrant slave labor, organizing astroturf campaigns, picking welfare checks, polluting and generally plundering with impunity...
But for all the wealth the region generates for its small low-key aristocracy, Oligarch Valley exists in a perpetual state of third-world impoverishment. It rates as one of the poorest areas in the United States, with a disproportionate share of illiteracy, teen pregnancies, birth defects, agri-industrial pollution and rape. And the flies... the fucking flies.
Read the book... (June 2013) [PDF]