Silicon Valley’s Political End Game (In 15 Charts) **VERY EARLY DRAFT**

5 sentence summary:

Greg Ferenstein
Book drafts


This post is a graphic summary of an upcoming data-driven book on Silicon Valley’s political end game: the path toward overhauling the Democratic Party and orienting our lives toward innovation.

At its core, the book argues that changes in the economy also changes the political ideology in power; some personalities and value systems thrive in different occupations and industries. The growth of the knowledge economy has empowered a novelty-seeking personality that places an extreme faith in the power of information to solve the world’s problems.

A growing demographic of highly-skilled college-educated liberals will transform government’s role to be about directly investing in citizens, funding them to become as entrepreneurial, civic, and healthy as possible.

The ultimate goal is to make life as close to the college experience as possible: a life dedicated to research, exploration, and creativity, while automation ensures that everyone has enough food and leisure time to pursue their unique contribution to the world.

**All data and graphs are very preliminary. This draft is to solicit feedback**

Nearly every billionaire under 40 has come from tech industry. They will likely exert strong influence over our lives.

Tech companies, both founders and employees, are overwhelmingly Democratic; However, they don’t fit the pro-union Democratic stereotype. We can’t really fit them into a pre-existing bucket

So what do tech founders want? They have a unique mix of extreme beliefs in meritocracy, competition, collectivism, and novelty-seeking (Poll)

  • I acquired a novel representative sample of Internet founders and conducted political psychology interviews. Some questions:
  • Do personal decisions, such as eating healthy, affect most people in society, thereby justifying government involvement in our everyday decisions?
  • Should essential public services compete with one another and be run like a business?
  • Does change inevitably make things better?
  • Do you prefer new experiences or familiar faces/places?

At their core, they hold a unique faith in the power of a more informed and active citizenry to solve America’s problems

“It’s the hacker ethic that a lot of problems in the world are information inefficiencies” ~ Sean Parker, personal communication

This correlates to a series of unique beliefs in education, diplomacy, and global interdependence:

  • Can education solve nearly all problems, from violence to partisanship?
  • Should countries operate closer to a one-world government than independent sovereign nations?
  • Does dialog alone rarely solve military disputes?
  • Should we have unlimited immigration?

“Wanting to connect people is a pretty deep thing to me. It’s something that I’ve cared about since I was a kid. My mom told me these stories that a lot of boys when they’re younger have like Ninja Turtles or some toys and they’re fighting. I just wanted them to make them connect, and form villages and be peaceful and communicate. ‘Why can’t you guys just talk to each other and workout your problems?’ Why do you need to be kicking each other?’ ” ~ Mark Zuckerberg, recalling stories his mother told him on the unique way he played with action figures as a child

Today, on every major issue that divides the Democratic party, college-education is the most predictive factor separating pro-business from union-friendly

Democrats in Congress reflect this belief system: they either end up authoring laws related to optimal health, education and environmental policy, OR enacting special protections for disadvantaged groups.

  • I hand coded every single law from a representative sample of Democrats in Congress.
  • Blue represents laws related to optimal health, environmental protection, and merit-based funding of public services, such as schools.
  • Red represents legal protections and funding targeting specific disadvantaged groups, such as rural communities or minorities.
  • Notice: Democrats are usually one or the other: they want to invest in everyone’s unique contribution to society or they want to prioritize bringing up the least well off.

Upshot: there is an unlabeled, but ideologically distinct faction of the Democratic party strongly tied to Silicon Valley

II. Growing Power

There is a inescapable connection between a person’s personality, their occupation, and their political party. For Example:

The same political connection holds for tech founders and the products they build. Social Network builders are (very) liberal; cybersecurity tends conservative

(*credit to for helping merging datasets to help discover this pattern)

The electronics industry has overtaken unions as a greater lobbying force in the Democratic Party, giving the associated ideology a lot of influence

As novelty-seeking, college-educated people migrate toward cities, the share of leaders in the Democratic party from cities has also grown

Today, on every recent major issue that divides the Democratic Party, the side favoring highly-skilled workers has won over labor union opposition



Greg Ferenstein
Book drafts

Writer. Researcher. Educator. Policy Wonk. Optimist.