The Valley of the Shadow

How mansion-dwelling, carbon-spewing cutthroat capitalists can still be politically correct.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online


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9 thoughts on “The Valley of the Shadow”

  1. Mr Davis has a way with words, and like Joel Kotkin is pointing out some of the hypocrisies of the tech industry. However, these hypocrisies are not limited to tech but are largely shared by many in white collar professions in law, finance, academia, and entertainment. There is something of a war being raged against those industries that rely more on blue collar employees that is slowly succeeding in driving them out of California. Your audience here should really be the Hispanic and black communities and the working class of any race.

    The tech industry is fairly free of regulatory constraint, at least relative to other industries. Zoning codes permit most office activities, so there is no authority to say that yes you may write this program but not that one. If much of your actual work is done abroad local labor laws do not apply to much of your business. I suppose it could happen, but I’ve never heard of OSHA inspections in a software company’s office. Overseas profits can remain largely untaxed (the US ought to switch to a territorial system). One can support an increased regulatory state knowing that you really won’t be regulated all that much.

    On a minor quibble, the Google bus riders between SF and the peninsula are largely kids; relatively young people who make good salaries, but the 1% they are not, though perhaps hoping to be. Being young they often prefer to live in the city closer to the night life. It’s something the Silicon Valley companies have to deal with; it’s hard to argue that they cause this. San Francisco could trying being less fun for the young.

  2. Hoi Polloi Boy

    This culture of rich liberals preaching one thing and doing the opposite while holding themselves above what their politics calls for should be referred to as the Janus Complex or Janus Syndrome because it so incredibly two faced.

  3. He didn’t mention the rather glaring example of Forrest Hayes, the Google executive who was overdosed by a prostitute! What was a successful father of FIVE doing heroin on his yacht with a hooker? Seems he was a touch compulsive too: “Hayes once vented to a co-worker on a Friday about his 40-minute commute to Google in Mountain View and he said he wished he could use the carpool lane. By Monday, Hayes had bought a Chevy Volt hybrid to do just that.
    Another friend said he sent Hayes a picture of a yacht for sale. Days later, Hayes had bought it.”

  4. VDH nailed it with “The result is a bizarre 21st-century 1-percenter culture of $1,000-a-square-foot homes, $100,000 BMWs, and $500 loafers coexisting with left-wing politics and trendy pop culture. Silicon Valley valiantly tries to square the circle of driving a Mercedes or flying in a Gulfstream while lambasting those who produce its fuel.”

    I never lived in The Valley but “grew up” there in the 60’s & 70’s working for leading semiconductor firms in Silicon Valley—I saw what VDH describes, we all aspired to achieve the BMW lifestyle,not that there is anything wrong with that, there is a certain disconnect out there..

    But the key is the loss of the manufacturing jobs and perhaps more importantly – for our future- the technical/mechanical knowledge drain for for the future.

    Regarding outsourcing to Asia – Mr Obama’s friend and Head of The Administration’s “Jobs Council”, Jeff Immelt, Chairman of GE has moved the manufacture of GE Medical Imaging Devices to China, creating manufacturing job losses in the US and gains in China. Outsourcing started at GE in the ’60s when they moved consumer electronics to Hong Kong and the semiconductor companies quickly followed

    “Since Immelt took over in 2001, GE has shed 34,000 jobs in the U.S., according to its most recent annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. But it’s added 25,000 jobs overseas.” [Source:Michael Snyder, on July 29th, 2011 in the “Economic Collapse”]

  5. All one needs to remember is:being a progressive means you always shoot from the moral high ground.

    In this context the taxs SF needs is driven by regentrification by those young proffesionals, meanwhile the very same city council drives minority votes by bashing those moving there, and, those young professionals then buy into the very same eat the rich political dogma, you really have to have your head up your culo to buy both ends of this crtically fractured argument, but alas……

    I don’t remember who said it but someone once said being ‘liberal is being so broad-minded you can’t take your own side in your own fight’.

  6. Interesting, California should be cut three ways. The richest form of Capitalism exists in SF. The capitalist is in subjection to the total GNP of a nation. SF seems one of the richest areas of the nation thanks to its average per capita. Who the number of people whom the GNP will serve. For instance my father in Vietnam found out why South East Asia was so poor: Rice paddies and the humble farmer cannot compete with machinery and technology. Reganomics provided a simple lesson in economics. A mass market makes possible mass production. A market that encourages keen competition makes for a stronger America. Ryan knows economics while Bidden knows the environment. Lasissez fair economics and theory is lacking in the current administration,
    JW Carter

  7. Capitalism is a force that is sweeping the world. It is also a force that has many different faces. The common element of capitalism in the riches part of California is the factors of production, privately owned. VDH mentions the above monopolies but how does one compare capitalism to communism. in one of my articles I mentioned that the creator of face book and President Obama have created a pinto machine in the tech world. Essentially if everyone had to drive a pinto, in order for communism to work would they? Bragging rights belongs to the United States in the techno hooking of face book and other internet social networks and applications. Doesn’t Japan still have the most capitalist economy? Having had to jump from job to job due to the lack of loyalty, I might at some point have to venture off to Japan. Why? Large tech companies their not only supply intense loyalty to their employees but allow them to join and work for large companies of life. These large companies are following : The role of public sector in Japan is superior when teaching I often model my classroom’s after the Japanese model for success. No one leaves the work floor or goes home until every worker’s task has been complex. Although I do not know that info structure for sure of the companies that Victor has referred to I do know that they appear to be CAPITAL INTENSIVE….

    A better model for the America is a “closed economy.” A better model of SF. would be a huge trade imbalance in tech software and gizmos. The “Asian Tigers,” of business have have shown their faces in SF.. Victor does an excellent job once again at looking at them in this article…

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