Vollman on the economics of Imperial Valley farming

Imperial Valley housing development, east of Brawley, March 2014

Imperial Valley housing development, east of Brawley, March 2014


Driving up through the Imperial Valley in March, I chanced upon this example of the fading hopes of the town of Brawley.

In his maddeningly intriguing book Imperial, William Vollman briefly slips out of the obtuse into this rare moment of clarity:

When I began to study the history of the period, my mind remained unbiased by knowledge. All I knew was that somehow Imperial County had altered from being one of the richest bits of farmland in the United States to the poorest county in California, and I couldn’t fathom how.

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