The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the state of California
In front of an enthusiastic crowd in Mantua's restored 16th century Palazzo San Sebastiano, Francesco Costa, vice-director of online newspaper Il Post, and Michele Masneri, journalist at Italian daily Il Foglio, traded jokes, anecdotes and commentary on the current socio-economic situation of the state of California. After covering the 2017 US election campaign, Costa took on the task of explaining America to his fellow Italians, with the crowdfunded podcast Da Costa a Costa (from coast to coast), followed by the books Questa è l'America (This is America) and Una storia americana (An American Story).
His latest, California, examines both sides, light and dark, of the Golden State. A two-hundred-and-fifty dollar haircut or a million for a house yet to be built would be crazy for most people, but in the metropolis of San Francisco prices like these are becoming more and more normal. The reasons behind this: an overall increase in average prices and in the demand for houses. The latter, aggravated by crisis in the real estate market, means a normal house has now become a luxury good. As a consequence, even Google employees and Berkeley students are obliged to sleep in tents or cars.
But if on one hand there is a deep housing crisis, accompanied by social plagues of drugs and depression, on the other, San Francisco and Los Angeles are cities that have a lot to offer. The perfect climate, wild nature and a common sense of optimism make these cities an attraction not only for tourists, but for all those who want to seek their fortune. Both journalists agreed, indeed, that California is the true land of the American dream, a place where ambitions are built and where anything can happen.