The White Working Class Will Come for Silicon Valley Next

Stanford’s position on tech development and entrepreneurship should be crystal clear: it should be as unconstrained and unregulated by the government as possible.

The economics leaves no question but that this produces the best result. Worker displacement by technology is a well-known issue, and it is also well understood that impeding tech that the market wants through regulation and outright bans is always the choice that costs society the most. Truck drivers may find less employment, but the cost of moving goods will be reduced, making all consumers wealthier.

The best way to minimize the impact on displaced workers is for them to have the greatest number of alternatives open to them. That is provided by a robust, frothy private sector that operates under minimal constraint by government. The cost of excessive government regulation is a sluggish, tentative economy that is hard-pressed to soak up displaced workers and get them back into the workforce.

The warning to Stanford students should be: all humans pursue their own interests. That includes those who are in government. Their interest will often be asserting control over others; that is what government does. They will sell that control as being for the good of the people they govern. But often it will make goods and services more expensive, create unemployment and uncertain employment and dim prospects for workers and their children. Stanford students have the brains to keep their eye on the economics and to be skeptical of regulators claiming to the need to push back on what consumers evidently want in the name of supposedly helping those very people. If you want to look at tech development holistically, look at the benefits as well as the costs; the incentives of the regulators as well as those of the entrepreneurs.

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