California & the Fictions of Capital

By George L. Henderson | Go to book overview

1
Rural Commodity Regimes

A Primer

It has become something of a truism that after the 1840s, California's development was radically foreshortened--"telescopic," as Carey McWilliams has said ( 1976). From mining to livestock and grain ranches, to irrigated specialty cropping--in a matter of decades it seems that rural California reinvented itself several times over without ever looking back. In reality, these production regimes, the very stuff of California's rise to national prominence, were monetarily and otherwise connected. The crisis of the mining economy in the Sierra foothills in the 1870s, for example, was in part resolved as a massive shift to wheat in the Central Valley, just as profits from the grain economy were pumped into Southern California's struggling ranch lands and then surfaced as fabulously productive orange orchards. Around each of these transitions, each resolution of crisis, arose a new labor system, a new built environment, a new production apparatus, and widening division of labor (including California's highest-grossing industries in the early twentieth century--sugar refining, flour milling, meatpacking, canning, and packing). 1 California was a virtual laboratory for successive rounds of investment, disinvestment, and reinvestment of capital, far surpassing any place west of Chicago and its hinterland (cf. Cronon 1991). 2 Boosted by the periodic migration of new money, California's surplus values not only circulated in place, allowing single commodity sectors to prosper, but were switched from one sector to another in an intensifying brew of rural commodity production and innovation.

No single essay can do anything near justice to the story of these commodity revolutions. The point of this chapter is to simply tease out for unfamiliar readers a thumbnail sketch of rural California's commodity history through discussion of its major features--the shift to and out of wheat; large-scale and sometimes hypercommodified appropriations of land and water; the rise of high-value specialty crops and the economy of land subdivision; the problem of markets; the uneven development of the irrigation apparatus; and the wider social division of labor,

-3-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
California & the Fictions of Capital
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction - The Alchemy of Capital and Nature ix
  • Part I - Making Geographies 1
  • 1 - Rural Commodity Regimes 3
  • 2 - Nature and Fictitious Capital 28
  • 3 - Toward Rural Realism Variable Capital, Variable Capitalists, and the Fictions of Capital 81
  • Part II - Excavating Geographical Imaginations 115
  • 4 - Mussel Slough and the Contradictions of Squatter Capitalism 123
  • 5 - Realty Redux 150
  • 6 - Romancing the Sand 175
  • 7 - Take Me to the River 196
  • 8 - Conclusion 215
  • Notes 219
  • References 235
  • Index 251
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 278

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.