Silicon Valley’s political endgame, summarized in 12 visuals
(Beta Draft Version 0.5)
This is a visual table of contents for data-driven book about Silicon Valley’s political endgame: the path toward overhauling the Democratic Party and orienting our lives toward innovation.
The central argument is that changes in the economy also change the political ideology in power; some personalities and value systems thrive in different occupations and industries. The growth of the knowledge economy has empowered an ancient, idealistic ideology 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.
**Note: Links to chapters are presented before each image. You’ll get the gist of the entire book in this short summary. The book itself is composed of stand-alone, bit-sized, data-visual-heavy blog posts. It’s designed to be an extraordinarly quick read.**
A New Political Ideology
The first representative political opinion poll of startup founders reveals that Silicon Valley represents a novel libertarian-like ideology growing within the Democratic party (Chapter 1).
“Most of Silicon Valley, most of the executives, tend to be Democrats” ~ Paypal Co-founder, Peter Thiel (personal communication)
Silicon Valley’s vision for government
Technologists want the government to be an investor in citizens, rather than as a protector from capitalism. They want the government to heavily fund education, encourage more active citizenship, pursue binding international trade alliances, and open borders to all immigrants. It combines the meritocracy obsession of libertarians with the collectivism of liberals (Chapter 1).
Silicon Valley’s Philosophy
Founders’ political and moral beliefs are based on a rather extreme idealism about human nature, society, and the future. The tend to believe all change over the long run ends up being good. Likewise, they reject the notion that there are inherent conflicts of interests between citizens, the government, corporations or other nations.
Silicon Valley’s Congressional Representatives
In Congress, Democratic members with lots of high-skilled professional constituents are more likely to author laws that promote modernization and maximizing citizens’ contribution to society, rather than protect specific demographics from capitalism (Chapter 2).
New alliances will form
II. Growing Power
An Ancient Ideology, Now A Path To Profitability
The tech industry is built on an ancient ideology that believes the discovery of new information is the best way to solve social ills (Chapter 7, coming soon).
Founders of information economy startups are far more liberal and wealthier than those who make tools for finance, privacy, or security. Politically, innovators who design products to encourage sharing are more comfortable with collectivist government policies (Chapter 5, coming soon).
For the past American century, leadership positions in the Democratic party have increasingly gone to congressmen who represent large cities with a greater portion of high-skilled workers than labor unions (Chapter 2).
III. A Glimpse of The Future
Dense cities are home to more innovation and income equality. Many technologists believe urbanization is a moral imperative. A plan to densify the once quaint neighborhoods of San Francisco is a microcosm of the transition much of humanity will undergo as economic forces encourage suburban and rural residents to migrate toward big, dense cities (Chapter 3).
Privacy, as we understand it, is only about 150 years old. For 3,000 years, people have generally chosen convenience or money over privacy — a trend that continues today. Given the extraordinary benefits of new information technologies, especially related to health, most people will likely choose a level of privacy that has existed for most of human history (Chapter 4).
“Privacy may actually be an anomaly…Privacy is something which has emerged out of the urban boom coming from the industrial revolution,” ~ Google executive and ‘Godfather’ of the military’s early Internet prototype, Vinton Cerf
Economically, the technology industry exacerbates inequality between the rich and middle-class, but eradicates poverty by making essential goods freely accessible. Ultimately, this will trend toward a two-class society of extremely wealthy workaholics who create technologies that allow the rest of society to enjoy leisurely prosperity. The cost for this prosperity will be inequality of influence (Chapter 5, coming soon).
Compare and Follow
Chapters for all of this graphics be released in a series of free bite-sized, picture-filled blog posts starting in November. Sign up for the email list here. You can also reach me at greg @ greg ferenstein [dot] com.