Economic collapse may be the effect we're seeing today, but I think it's pretty clear from letters like this that the cause is bottomless Soviet-style bureaucracy:
What follows below is the fax/letter sent to dozens of surfboard manufacturers from Gordan 'Grubby' Clark, patriarch of the surfboard industry, explaining his decision to call it quits.-- Editor Scott Bass
For owning and operating Clark Foam [Ed.:—the original Surfboard company, in the birthplace of Surfing] I may be looking at very large fines, civil lawsuits, and even time in prison. I will not be saying more than is in this letter so I hope you read it carefully. I do not want to be answering questions about my decisions for the next few years.
Effective immediately Clark Foam is ceasing production and sales of surfboard blanks.
I would like to give a lot more details but keep in mind that I may have both fines and criminal charges pending at this time or in the future. Therefore I have been advised by my attorney to say as little as possible. I do not want this document to be used as an admission of wrongdoing nor am i going to help the government prosecute me. I do, however, feel I owe everyone some sort of explanation- even if it is incomplete and not a full disclosure of my problems.
A large part of the Fire Authority’s focus has been on TDI spills. This is very well documented. A few years ago I realized that any spill would create a massive response by the Fire Authority and I doubt they would know how to properly neutralize the spill or know when the spill was no longer emitting toxic fumes. To protect myself I purchased a $50,000,000 spill or release insurance policy with a $500,000 deductible. This was only necessary due to the current regulatory and legal environment in California. When we have gotten to this point it is a good sign that the game is almost over. (Furthermore, I doubt that $50,000,000 would do much more than pay the legal fees. Look up the 6,000 pound spill by General Chemical in California. The billed attorney’s fees were reported to be in excess of $900,000,000.)
In addition, you could build many blank making facilities outside the United States just for the cost of permits in California.
When Clark Foam was started it was a far different California. Businesses like Clark Foam were very welcome and considered the leading edge of innovation and technology. Somewhere along the way things have changed.