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Silicon Valley’s political endgame, summarized in 12 visuals

Greg Ferenstein
Nov 5, 2015 · 5 min read

5-Sentence Summary

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).

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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).

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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.

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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).

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New alliances will form

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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).

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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).

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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).

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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).

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San Francisco simulated with enough high-rises to be affordable to median-income families

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).

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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).

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