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Tech bosses are globalists, not libertarians (economist.com)
229 points by mastazi 10 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 208 comments

Author of the study they wrote about here. I think the NYT write up is better: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/06/technology/silicon-valley.... Study here: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/faculty-research/working-papers....

A couple thoughts:

- The survey covers just SV elites. It would be interesting to see how those beliefs compare to rank-and-file SV tech company employees (and to see that broken down further by profession). Differences in values between employees and bosses could lead to conflict further down the road.

- I'm reading more lately about the degree to which our temperament (the Big 5 personality index) influences our political beliefs. For instance, the managers and executives of established companies tend to be very high in Conscientiousness, which correlates with conservative beliefs. Entrepreneurs on the other hand score very high in Openness, which correlates with Liberal beliefs. I suspect their differences from standard Democrat politics stems from a relatively lower score in Agreeableness.

Edit: formatting and extended a thought.

Great points on both. On #2, we wanted to include those, but space constraints :/. Given the interest in this survey we'll probably do another after collecting more suggestions like these. Thanks!

the nyt open with: "Silicon Valley has long preferred to remain aloof from national politics, but the Trump era has altered that stance."

which is kinda of hard to defend since Obama constantly blocked the bay area on reelection campaigns and most of his advisors came from/went to silicon Valley companies.

I'm kind of wondering what happened between c. 1999 and now. The WTO meetings in Seattle were protested vigorously by "anarchist anti-globalists" who sought to protect American workers from the competition of outsourcing and cheap goods from overseas (China was going to enter WTO) So much so the next meetings were in Doha.

But now, these same class of people are quite a bit more pro globalization and might be considered globalists. They somewhat ironically seem to embrace some big aspects of neoliberal economics which is something they were quite antithetical to back in the early 2000's --so what gives?

Because "globalism" is a misnomer, it's shorthand for "economic globalism". Economic globalism is the exploitation of the masses by opening the borders for trade and desirable workers, whilst keeping them closed for the 99% of this planets population.

That's the kind of "globalism" the tech elite supports. They love to hide behind closed borders when it protects their wealth and power.

Those "same class of people" have always supported true globalism for the people in terms of a complete removal of borders. Don't blame them because greedy neoliberals have hijacked the term globalism.

During the TPP debate I thought there was a discussion about this type of "free trade" I think this article from C4SS sums up the position of this new globalism



"In the early 20th century, when most industrial capital was national, Western countries’ main imports were raw materials from the colonial world and their main exports were finished industrial goods. So it was in the interest of American manufacturers to restrict competition in the domestic market from imported goods manufactured in other industrialized countries. Fast forward 100 years though, and most American imports are by the Western-owned global corporations themselves, importing goods produced under contract for them so they can sell them in the domestic market at an enormous “intellectual property” markup over the cost of production.

Since the movement of goods across borders is now mostly an internal affair of global corporations themselves, outmoded tariffs that impede the movement of goods have become an inconvenience. What they need, instead, is a form of protectionism that still gives them a monopoly over selling a particular product in a particular market — but operates at corporate boundaries rather than national ones. That’s what “intellectual property” does.

Aside from the manufacturing corporations we just discussed, most of the other profitable industries in the global economy have business models centered on IP: Entertainment, software, electronics, biotech, etc.

So what’s falsely called “free trade” today isn’t a decrease in protectionism. It’s a shift from one kind of protectionism that no longer serves corporate interests, to a new kind of protectionism that better serves them."


Seattle has been growing a lot in the past decade or two. I don't think we can conclude the population in the early 2000s is the same class of people that are there now.

From what I recall mainstream media claimed that many were anarchists from all over the country --most not local. We could look at arrest records from those protests.

Often media make similar claims about the current bands or people who self identify as anarchists and progressive --but ideologically they align more with neoliberalist ideas about free trade of goods, labor etc --with a Marxist bent this time (although I don't think that's been well thought out, given the implications)

How quickly we forget :-)

I downloaded the study just to see if my company (Qualtrics) was used for the survey and sure enough it was. :)

I think more simplistically: when you take this group of people and average them out what you get are beliefs that benefit the large companies they represent. That's the signal that is correlated with running a big tech company, and the rest is probably mostly noise. That's all really, they aren't for or against free trade in aggregate, they are for their company trading profitably, on average.

Author of the study they were writing about here. That is the original expectation I had coming in, but I don't think what we find is totally consistent with that (although some is). We talk about that in the paper. Study here: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/faculty-research/working-papers....

Great work. Thanks a ton for climbing onto the hackernews thread!

When I look at chart in the article (I haven't read the paper) I get really curious about how 'support for regulation' might break down by issue. A lot of the regulation that the Trump administration is rolling back are environment rules that are strongly net positive for our economy once you account for health care externalities. While many of the regulations that hurt the economy the most (e.g. restrictions on urban housing construction.) are unchallenged.


How do you think the results would change if you broke "regulation" down by type e.g. environment/labor/business? I suspect there'd be a significant break between tech elite and the republican donor class on environmental/global warming issues. I also think there's a significant break between the tech elite and some democrats on zoning reform. Though I haven't conducted formal surveys :)

I think this is particularly interesting as it's the one issue were the tech elite didn't look like 'normal democrats' in your graphs - perhaps that outcome is more nuanced then the graphic shows.

It's hard to tell exactly what the underlying principle is from just the few questions we could get folks to answer, but the general pattern seems to be about like you describe -- on the environment, founders are pretty liberal; on issues of labor and product market regulations, they're fairly conservative; on everything else, they're fairly centrist. We have all the survey questions we asked that went into this index in the Appendix.

I quickly read your paper.

The only way in which technology entrepreneurs deviate from what you would expect, is in their support for more redistribution. But all these people are not paying normal taxes, anyway. Why would they care? Also if you consider the risk of political or economic instability, then even redistribution might just be a self-interested policy stance.

The same logic holds for founders in other industries but they don't seem to like taxes/redistribution much (although we need and are getting more data on that). Would have been nice to ask about taxation on capital gains, but survey space was limited (you folks are busy!) and that is a relatively small share of federal receipts so not as important substantively, even if it speaks to this theoretical question.

There might also be a best-use-of-capital explanation for that discrepancy. A manufacturer with a cash surplus can typically open another factory, but how does a company like twitter usefully spend excess revenue? Tech CEOs may be more in favour of redistribution because they would have to figure out what to invest in, whereas CEOs in other industries already know what they'd like to do with the money.

Maybe tech companies know that they profit from redistribution, perhaps moreso than other companies? Tech products tend to be relatively expensive, but production is generally unlimited, because a significant proportion of the price reflects the fixed costs of development, which means that a larger market usually comes with profits. This is somewhat unlike e.g. agriculture or construction, where production quantities are more difficult to increase.

The primary reason I support it, and I don't think I'm alone among founders in this, is that I think that society is not going to work very well in the long term unless we strengthen our social safety nets. I want to live in a society that functions well, because I'm happier when surrounded by happier people.

I also think that it would enable more people to take the risk of trying something new if they knew that failing didn't mean destitution, and I think that we'd see significant upside from that in terms of economic competitiveness. I think I should be paying more taxes than I am to fund that, especially on unearned income.

There's an important distinction, however, between redistribution that seeks to create a more free and just society and retribution that seeks to prevent a society without consumers.

Most tech people in favor of redistributive schemes like UBI are in favor of the later.

Ah, well, I'm in favor of UBI and both of the reasons you mention for it - the free market is still the best way we've found to allocate resources to worthwhile projects.

Thanks for the link! I'll have to actually read the study. The article alone did not give me the sense this was incomplete.

Bullshit. You're committing the fallacy that comes from Marxist thought--- that one's position/class/socio-economic-factors are the determining factors in their values and beliefs. People are not so simple, their thoughts can come from elsewhere. You're wildly underestimating the sentience of these people.

I think a better model is that: People who understand economics tend to both be entrepreneurs (they understand the rules of the game they're playing) and they are in favor of free trade and less regulation.

Free trade _does not_ benefit large companies. Large companies want, and generally get, favorable regulations and tariffs that make it hard for outsiders or for small guys.

>Bullshit. You're committing the fallacy that comes from Marxist thought--- that one's position/class/socio-economic-factors are the determining factors in their values and beliefs. People are not so simple, their thoughts can come from elsewhere. You're wildly underestimating the sentience of these people.

Humans want to believe that they are not so simple, but usually they are. We're more caricatures than snowflakes. That's why there's mainstream music and movies, and most go through the same limited number of stages in life with utmost predictability.

When money is involved that's doubly so. And if Marx's not your thing (although the notion that class/position/economic factors greatly shape the man is much older than Marxism -- heck, the aristocracy believed the exact same thing), here's Upton Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

In other words, they can have all the other thoughts they like -- as long they fit in with their role and don't come at odds with it (In other words: "any color you like as long as it is black").

This leaves them with a more limited set of corporate compatible set of thoughts. If they're gonna be buddhists, for example, they'd be the kind of "buddhists" for which driving expensive sports cars, managing people, and selling commercial trite products is a-ok for.

How to explain the behavior of people like Nick Hanauer, who advocates higher taxes on the wealthy?[1]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Hanauer

There will always be some outliers when speaking of human affairs.

I mentioned mainstream movies above and it's similar: the majority loves them and flocks to them. But still some would legitimately rather watch a Tarkovsky or some really obscure creators.

To quote myself above: "Humans want to believe that they are not so simple, but _usually_ they are" (emphasis mine). In other words, you can find one Hanauer. Heck, you could find 10 Hanauers. But I doubt you can find 10,000 or even 100. Most of the SV bosses beliefs are determined by their wealth/role/position.

Heck, even old Marx (to whom they idea that people's class/position etc determines their values/beliefs was attributed above [1]) very well knew that. His friend Engels was a wealthy industrialist heir, but very much a communist. And Kropotkin was a prince from a wealthy family -- but ended an anarchist. The overwhelming majority of industrialists and princes however never made those jumps to the other side.

[1] And he indeed wrote it and popularized it, but it was not uniquely his.

Gates and Buffet want to raise the capital gain taxes, democrat multimillionaires like B. Sanders and E. Warren are in favor of taxes. That's only for the most famous. There are a lot of rich people, less famous, concerned about inequality and favoring something not in their personal interest.

So on one hand I disagree with your "hard to find 100 Hanauer" point, but it does not mean your bigger point is wrong, just that it may not come simply from their job, but maybe education/social environment.

How does one exception change anything?

I strongly agree with your argument regarding economic-class determinism or whatever it's called. After all, some of the most progressive policies for the poor in this country were passed by the wealthiest presidents (FDR, Kennedy, Johnson).

However, if you're suggesting that Silicon Valley CEOs are in favor of libertarian free trade, I think I agree more with the article and disagree with you. Silicon Valley CEOs loyalty is not to free trade, it's to their globalist lifestyle and outlook on life. Indeed, most of these people seem to be hardcore monopolists, and with no shame for it either.

>>After all, some of the most progressive policies for the poor in this country were passed by the wealthiest presidents (FDR, Kennedy, Johnson).

You mean regressive policies that hurt the poor, right?

The War on Poverty marked the end of the decline in the American poverty rate. The social welfare state gradually sapped American industrial vitality and the labour productivity growth that had been fueling wage gains across all income classes for decades.

Ummm, no. The poverty rate continued to decline until the mid-70s. There was in fact a rapid decline with the beginning of the War on Poverty.


Per capita social spending was vastly greater in the 1980s than the 1970s and it was vastly greater in 1990s than the 1980s:



I'm not sure what that has to do with the poverty rate continuing to decline until the mid-70s and then staying down.

You said something about the regressive policies that hurt the poor. You haven't shown any evidence for this claim.

Poverty rates have failed to decline during almost the entire era of rapidly increasing social spending. There is less than a decade of poverty rate reduction during the War on Poverty era, and it is all at the beginning, when the economy and populace had still not become accustomed to large social welfare programs, and when the size of these programs was much smaller than it is now.

If social programs reduced poverty these aren't the stats you'd see.

So you are going from You mean regressive policies that hurt the poor, right? to There is less than a decade of poverty rate reduction during the War on Poverty era, ....

Cutting the Poverty Rate from about 22% to about 12% is hurting the poor. Got it.

The poverty rate was declining for decades before the War on Poverty began. After its start, when its programs were still small, it continued declining for a decade. Then the decline, which had been in place since long before the WoP began, ended, and has never again resumed, despite social spending only growing.

More extreme poverty began to increase decades into the War on Poverty, when social programs were far larger than they were at the beginning.

And in addition, there has been a major increase in single parenthood, which a lot of research indicates is largely a result of government low income subsidies making single parent households more economically viable. Single-parent households are associated with much worse socioeconomic outcomes that increase future poverty, incarceration and government dependency.

So my conclusion is that these policies are most likely harming the poor, by wiping out the poverty reduction that would otherwise be happening, and moreover, that there is very good reason to doubt that they're "progressive".

>>Cutting the Poverty Rate from about 22% to about 12% is hurting the poor. Got it.

The poverty rate was declining before the War on Poverty began. There's no reason to conclude that it is responsible for the continuation of that trend for a decade longer. There's plenty of reason to blame it for the cessation of that trend of declining poverty rates, rising wages and low rates of single parenthood.

But labor productivity growth doesn't cause any wage gains anymore, hasn't for decades upon decades.

Probably worth asking if you assert that American corporate taxes are the highest in the world: sometimes there are just major, major reality-based differences in the discourse and it's useless talking any further. I know I can't believe some of your axioms here, unfortunately.

I'm curious what you mean by that, because I've never heard anyone seriously argue against that assertion. Our top marginal corporate tax rate is one of the highest, according to Wikipedia [1], though companies are generally pretty good at not being too profitable and therefore not paying a very high tax rate, if that's what you mean.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_tax_in_the_United_St...

Excerpt: In 2014 the United States had the third highest general top marginal corporate income tax rate in the world at 39.1 percent (consisting of the 35% federal rate plus a combined state rate), exceeded only by Chad and the United Arab Emirates However, the average corporate tax rate in 2011 dipped to 12.1%, its lowest level since before World War I, largely due to the great recession and a bonus depreciation tax break.

You do understand the difference between marginal and baseline tax rates? That word 'marginal' did not slip by me, I'm afraid.

Yes, I do, and no, it wasn't meant to "slip by you", which is why I asked if you meant that companies were good at not being profitable, and thus never made it to the top rate.

It's tracked labour productivity growth very closely:


That graph shows the exact opposite. From near-parity with the output figures in 1947-1972, wage/compensation struggle to stay about half that in 2005-2014. In other words, the workers are not benefiting in proportion to productivity.

It's still highly correlated for most of recent history, meaning for most of the last 50 years. 2005 to 2014 is only a nine year period, and even during this period, compensation growth has been well half (0.9 vs 1.5) of output growth.

Beyond the obvious cherry-picking, that's some pretty serious statistical gamesmanship you're into. Maybe you should consider this little thing we call exponential growth, or "compounding" to a finance type. Let's look at the "Hourly Compensation (Output Price)" figures, which are the most favorable to your argument.

* For 1947-1972 it fell behind output by 0.2% per year, which sounds small, but that's 4.6% for the entire period.

* In 1972-1994 workers fell behind by another 4.1%

* In 1994-2005 (half the time) workers fell behind by another 2.9%

* In 2005-2014 (even less time) workers fell behind by another 4%

Over the entire span, workers' compensation has only increased 85% as much as productivity. More importantly, the gap is growing, not shrinking. Even using yearly figures to make differences look small, then grouping those numbers into oh-so-convenient unequal intervals, can't turn this into evidence of your original claim that wages have kept pace with productivity growth.

Isn't picking out a short period with the largest gap between compensation growth and output growth the cherry picking?

85% is a very high level of correlation. The original comment claimed:

>>But labor productivity growth doesn't cause any wage gains anymore,

Labour productivity growth obviously does cause wage gains. The data shows that the primary cause of the slowdown in wage growth has been a slowdown in labour productivity growth, not a decline in labour's share of revenue.

> The original comment claimed

It's possible for both the original claim and your counterclaim to be untrue. Two lies don't make a truth. The original claim of no relationship is untrue. So is your "tracking very closely" counterclaim. There's a relationship, but it's not very strong and it's growing weaker.

> Labour productivity growth obviously does cause wage gains.

Cause? Without qualification? Not so fast, hoss. Sometimes productivity growth translates into wage increases. Other times either can change independently. The whole point - what those data really show - is that the relationship has been weakening.

> So is your "tracking very closely" counterclaim.

85% is a strong correlation. I even posted the graph for others to make up their own mind. Calling my statement a lie, when it's based on your own subjective determination of what constitutes a close correlation, is hostile and unfair.

>Cause? Without qualification? Not so fast, hoss. Sometimes productivity growth translates into wage increases

Wage growth can only come from productivity growth on any sustained basis, so yes, the latter caused the former.

> Wage growth can only come from productivity growth

To quote the top-level comment that started this thread (and which was apparently OK with everyone): bullshit. Wage growth can come increased availability of resources or funds, from regulation, from many sources besides productivity growth. Productivity growth can actually drive wage decreases, e.g. when automation makes jobs obsolete and its practitioners end up doing menial work instead. Typesetting is an example that has affected my own family. To pick another one, do you suppose that all of the long-term increase in finance-industry wage growth has been because of productivity? That repealing Glass-Steagall, or tax laws favoring certain investment vehicles and funneling trillions into mutual funds had nothing to do with it? That would be naive. The people making all that money certainly know better.

If that claim is the basis of your argument or economic beliefs, then I feel sorry for you because you're building on quicksand.

>>To quote the top-level comment that started this thread (and which was apparently OK with everyone): bullshit.

First you accuse me of lying when I was being completely honest, then you call another claim of mine "bullshit". You're being rude. Please stop if you want to carry on the discussion.

One big thing that I've started noticing, is that "migration" is incredibly easy for rich people. That may lead to their "global" mindset, and wanting it for everybody else.

There are countries out there (including America) where you can get long-term stay papers or citizenship by simply investing into the country. You're essentially "buying" your way in. Most of the necessary amounts are probably "peanuts" for the celebrities and tech-leaders we have today.

This doesn't have anything to do with Marxism. The notion that people might have ulterior motives is as old as the hills.

The actual Karl Marx, on the other hand, didn't think that people's beliefs were determined by their social class. Rather that their behavior was ultimately determined by their social class regardless of any personal beliefs.

It's true that free trade in principle doesn't benefit large companies. But in principle, it doesn't hurt them either. Free trade and largeness can be largely orthogonal issues. And so can largeness and market power.

>it doesn't hurt them either.

Sorta true, but if you are in an industry with a low entry cost (hypothetical example) dairy farming, and you have a large herd and facilities. Another smaller dairy farmer comes into the market. You see that they are taking some of your business. So you call your friend Mr. Mayor and voice your concerns about how $expensive_compliance_regualtiob is necessary to "protect consumers" and a law gets passed. Your competitors cannot to afford the afore mentioned new process and are as such drive. Out of business.

So, are big companies hurt by free trade? No, it's how most get started. But once in power, they will lobby to make sure they maintain it

I'm not arguing that they don't have other thoughts. I'm arguing that those other thoughts shouldn't be correlated with being a "tech boss" unless it has some advantage to being a tech boss, because people are largely different! Like, in a completely random sample, we would expect beliefs representative of the population, but by biasing it to only leaders of tech companies, people who dedicate their lives to giant multinational corporations, we should expect to see their beliefs to correlate with what is good for those corporations. And everything else should match the general population, in aggregate.

>Bullshit. You're committing the fallacy that comes from Marxist thought--- that one's position/class/socio-economic-factors are the determining factors in their values and beliefs. People are not so simple, their thoughts can come from elsewhere. You're wildly underestimating the sentience of these people.

People's values and beliefs usually model the reinforcement signals they've actually received, not the distribution of all such signals that a human being in our world can receive.

So yes, their values and beliefs will tend to support their interests. That is, after all, what values and beliefs are for.

This is a bit reductionist. One popular example I see on HN/Reddit is when someone is supportive of market capitalism you often see this dismissive comment in response:

> "Every American think's they are a future millionaire and from this delusion they blindly defend the rights of millionaires to their own detriment."

This sounds clever but it's based on the (fallacious) assumption that everyone's political position should be reflective of their current economic status - or that the government's economic policy should be defensive of one's current economic status - and not doing so is acting against your self-interest.

But it's entirely possible to support a political position that is advantageous to people outside of your own short-term direct self-interest, because you see it as the most beneficial to the most amount of people in the country - and ultimately to yourself, family, friends, and country in the longrun.

Self-interest is often falsely perceived to be merely only about benefiting one's current direct/personal circumstances. Given that:

a) we're social beings

b) we all must live and survive within communities over an extended period of time

a natural side-effect of any one's self-interest within a economic/political system must itself factor other people's interests and external realities.

The exception of course is when an economic/social system attempts to reduce everyone to one imaginary class of people, and a singular self-interest - which is where the Marxism analogy comes in (which opens up another can of worms).

>that one's position/class/socio-economic-factors are the determining factors in their values and beliefs.

Have you actually read Marx? Nowhere does he make this claim, nor inspire this thought. I don't know where you're getting this from. Marx does not deny the indidual's individuality. Here's a little quote, which is a criticism from Marx of the very view you are accusing him of:

>The materialist doctrine that men are products of circumstances and upbringing, and that, therefore, changed men are products of changed circumstances and changed upbringing, forgets that it is men who change circumstances and that the educator must himself be educated. Hence this doctrine is bound to divide society into two parts, one of which is superior to society. The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity or self-change [Selbstveränderung] can be conceived and rationally understood only as revolutionary practice.

(From Theses on Feuerbach)

Please don't accuse us Marxists of the fallacies you can't back up. Besides, even if Marx was accused of economic determinism, it doesn't mean that the critics are right. In fact, here's yet another statement from one of the founders of Marxism (Marx's close friend Friedrich Engels):

"Marx and I are ourselves partly to blame for the fact that the younger people sometimes lay more stress on the economic side than is due to it. We had to emphasise the main principle vis-à-vis our adversaries, who denied it, and we had not always the time, the place or the opportunity to give their due to the other elements involved in the interaction. But when it came to presenting a section of history, that is, to making a practical application, it was a different matter and there no error was permissible."

People who understand capitalism tend to be entrepreneurs, as they understand the rules of the game. But capitalism does not equal economics. I would even venture to say that people who consider themselves capitalists have a woefully limited view of the field of economics, and a general misunderstanding of the origins of money, markets, and debt. Although they certainly can do a good job of making profits within the mess of an economic/political system that we currently have to endure.

mess is the word

> People who understand economics tend to both be entrepreneurs ... and they are in favor of free trade and less regulation.

People who want to be tycoons some day tend to have those views. That's not the same as understanding economics, and is arguably detrimental to it.

Plus if you're an entrepreneur who's NOT a tycoon you might feel very differently. I've kept a business alive these past ten years in spite of anything the market threw at me, and I had to notice the sharp correlation between my own well-being, and the Fed metric for the labor share.

Globalization hurt my business just as much as it helped. Yes, overseas sales, but my domestic sales just kept getting eroded as people live on less and less money, and it got to a point where I just got onto a Patreon model because my competitors in my industry were becoming too evil: I had to get disruptive in a big way because my industry sector was in a downward spiral of dishonesty, broken promises, DRM, and increasingly ruthless business behavior.

I expect major turmoil in that market within a few years, but I jumped off the train before it went into the ravine ;)

I think these days people who understand economics lean socialist, and I see unironic embracing of even more radical doctrines. Capitalism is following an easily observable trajectory as human worker productivity gains escalate year over year, and that trajectory is not 'upward'.

To generalize, businessmen feel that free trade is great for every other business, but their business is special and should be enshrined as a government enforced monopoly :-)

You have no understanding of the marxist conception of base - superstructure relations. If marxists thought class determinism was as simple as it is then they would be baffled why revolution hadn't taken place long ago.

Free trade benefits consumers at the local producers' expense.

There are no consumers anymore. Everybody's a micro-producer, and there's no market for any of it.

Proves my point as well :)

> You're committing the fallacy that comes from Marxist thought--- that one's position/class/socio-economic-factors are the determining factors in their values and beliefs.

Actually the apple doesn't fall far from the tree and yes, people in aggregate are pretty simple. If post-millennium Silicon Valley can be reduced to single idea, it is that predicting that simplicity is a business model.

Yeah, companies don't generally want regulations. It's almost always a headache and distraction from the core business. However when regulation is finally foisted upon them, they make sure to take the time to influence what regulation they are subject to so that it benefits them and becomes a barrier to entry for new entrants.

> Yeah, companies don't generally want regulations

I disagree strongly with this. The leading companies of any given industry sector routinely lobby for more regulations, or at the very least they lobby to retain existing regulations. As a younger man, I used to be perplexed by this until learned about regulatory capture.

The regulation doesn't have to be foisted upon them at all: Regulation that just harms new companies, or competitors of a very different shape, is introduced at the behalf of industry groups all the time.

What makes Silicon Valley tech special here is that most of the big companies have great network effects or economies of scale, so it's not as if adding regulations on top will help them much: The moats are already very large. On the other hand, they are all still growing, and regulation rarely helps anyone that is growing. The one case where regulation helps them though is when it removes lower levels of regulation.

Imagine you are a ride sharing company for a second. Would you rather have individual regulations per city, or limit them to one per state, or even one per country? The simpler the regulation, the better, as you want to enter new markets as easily as possible, and a big, umbrella regulation is far better than a lot of incompatible ones, even if said umbrella regulation happened to be more onerous than most local regulations.

We saw a lot of this with the strengthening of the EU. A lot of incompatible laws became unified, and thus selling to more markets became easier. You might even have a company push for said regulation when there is none, as long as it has provisions to stop new, smaller scale regulations from popping up.

Licensing is a typical regulation pushed by established businesses in order to limit the entry of new companies.

I think more simplistically: when you take this group of people and average them out what you get are beliefs that benefit the large companies they represent. That's the signal that is correlated with running a big tech company, and the rest is probably mostly noise.

Just remove "tech" and you get the same old story. "Same as it ever was..."

Why the higher support for socially liberal policies and wealth redistribution then?

You got me on the wealth redistribution, but for the socially liberal policies being inclusive gets you far more customers in the tech space than it excludes. Look at the fervor over Brendon Eich and his positions on marriage. And from where I sit in the Silicon Valley bubble, it definitely feels like that bet will continue to be good for buisiness and good for PR. To be clear, I'm not saying that it's not motivated by the ceo's conviction that it is right, just saying that it selected for, and these policies are not incompatible at all with their buisinesses.

Gloablist vs Libertarian is a strange dichotomy to me. As a Libertarian this study would mark me as a 'globalist.' I believe free trade and immigration are good, and that foreign policy is important.

They go on to ask SV if 'they are libertarians' by asking if they believe in Minarchism--that the State should only provide police and military, which most libertarians themselves don't even agree is an ideal interpretation.

What a silly piece of work.

There's a whole lot of corporate and political pushback against libertarians, which is getting to be crazy. Google defunded Ron Paul's Youtube channel, which is ridiculous.

Libertarianism is not the opposite of globalism or socialism. In fact, there exist prominent libertarian socialists, Noam Chomsky for example. The reality is libertarianism is the opposite of authoritarianism.

Thank you, I came here to say something about this, the whole article seems to misunderstand libertarianism.

The extreme fringe of libertarianism is anarchism and I think that is really what they were getting at. But most Libertarians as with any political affiliation are not at the fringe (though they may be the loudest).

This would be like judging all Republicans based on the Tea Party or all Democrats based on Socialism.

I thought chomsky was anarco-sindicalist.

There was a comment about the political influence and aspirations of certain big names in tech, but it has suddenly disappeared. It contained some criticism of Paul Graham and Sam Altman, but seemed totally reasonable to me -- can anyone say why it was deleted?

I wrote it, I don't feel like being an ass and I'm feeling overly aggressive today, not to mention I am a guest in someone else's house.

...but my overall point is that the tech elite is composed of a lot of rich white guys with connections, who naturally help each other out. Sam Altman runs YC now and as of last year was apparently seriously considering running for governor of California. That strikes me as grandiose and not good for society. Sam is 33 and because he's a tech billionaire thinks that he should run the most developed economy in the world? He genuinely believes that people outside of tech and business know who he is? He's qualified, because he's shook hands with the best off of society for the past decade?

Why does he deserve that power? Why does Zuckerberg deserve to be president? What makes him qualified? He made a PHP app that got big. Come on. That's what all this boils down to: money and power and a lot of people value that more than anything else in life.

How about we be honest with ourselves as individuals and societies and stop enabling that?

Trump lowered the bar so much that most people think they can do a better job than the current president, and are probably right.

What they miss is that running as a republican is very different than running as a democrat (as I guess most tech people would want to). Zuckberg would beat Trump in the democratic primaries, no question about that. But he won't be in front of Trump, he would be in front of many experiences politicians who actually have a clue about how one manages a country.

> Zuckberg would beat Trump in the democratic primaries, no question about that.

So, where is this all coming from -- that Zuckerberg wants to run for president? I'll bet my house and every last penny I own, he does not want to be president, he will never run for president.

Oh, and he would never win. He's an insanely smart dude, but he hasn't got the charisma to win presidency.

(I do think that a lot of people on HN should run for some higher office in gov't, particularly tptacek and rayiner).

It's very possible that a lot of his current rhetoric and actions are part of PR and image control for Facebook as a brand and even a genuine desire to extend his horizons.

However, some of his actions are distinctly political.


He hired "Joel Benenson, a former top adviser and longtime pollster to President Barack Obama and the chief strategist of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign", and prior to that he hired "David Plouffe, campaign manager for Obama’s 2008 presidential run".

Your statement is exactly what I'm talking about. I'm not sure Zuckerberg is actually "insanely smart". He's similar intelligence to a lot of people on HN, but people conflate power and success with visionary ability. Maybe he is that, or maybe he's just a relatively smart guy with lots of connections, a very favorable background, and the same hangups, limitations, biases, and delusions as everyone else.

> He's an insanely smart dude

That's why I agree with you that he wouldn't run for president.

In all fairness, the prior President was a one-term Senator, who pretty much started running for President just 18 months into that one term.

The actual merits of Trump or Obama notwithstanding, it's been three election cycles now since without traditional career politician in the White House. I'm not sure I can fault tech billionaires for thinking that this might be a real emerging trend, rather than just a pair of consecutive flukes.

Obama was a community organiser in 1985, 22 years before the presidental election. He had already made political speeches in college previous to that (where he majored in political science). After that he was a civil rights attorney, and his first elected position was to the Illinois senate in 1996, 8 years before he was elected to the United States Senate.

That is 100% traditional career politician in almost every way, it's just he was good enough to do it faster than most people.

From state legislator to launching an (ultimately successful!) Presidential campaign in a year-and-a-half? We'll have to agree to disagree.

Either way, if anything in U.S. politics is non-controversial... it should be the observation that three Presidential cycles in a row have been won by upstarts, whose credentials are strikingly out of place alongside their peers of the past century. That's not arguing equivalence, but ignoring all commonality is absurd.

Maybe it's attributable to being "good", or "lucky", or "racist", or some other factors of sheer coincidence. Or maybe it's a symptom of fundamental social or media shift, and signifies a new norm.

George W Bush was not an upstart by any definition of the word. To be sure, he had no particular claim to talent but then his father had been President and his grandfather had been Senator.

He's also outside the range that I just said.

As old as this might make one feel, George W. Bush's last victory was four election cycles ago.

And he'd been a governor.

FWIW Texas is a weak governor system. Pretty much the only thing the governor does is throw the switch during executions which W did with abandon.

The Roman Republic had a concept, the New Man. W was not a New Man nor was his father. Neither were upstarts.

If you feel like you can do a better job of winning an election against a Clinton and the entirety of mainstream media, you should run in 2020. Against Trump, naturally, so we confirm the hypothesis.

Trump was not opposed by mainstream media, he was enabled by it.

It boggles the mind that some people think that utter and complete feathering and tarring of Trump in the runup to the election can even be interpreted as any kind of "enablement".

My point was, the dude is not as clueless as the media and pundits portray him, and he did accomplish the impossible more than once in his life, most recently in the 2016 election.

Trump was opposed by mainstream media, and he capitalized off it.

> What they miss is that running as a republican is very different than running as a democrat

Yeah the republican primaries are more fair and balanced - we all saw what happened to Bernie in the democratic primaries.

> we all saw what happened to Bernie in the democratic primaries

I don't know what you saw, but I saw Clinton winning 55% of the vote.

I voted for Bernie in the CA primary. Hillary won the Democratic primary pretty handily. Actually, I was surprised by how well Bernie did. In November, I voted for Hillary.

Which, as somebody who voted for Hillary the whole way through, I really appreciate. I wish that the fact-free narratives that came up hadn't helped convince a number of other Bernie supporters not to do the sane thing.

I have my doubts that Bernie would have won the primaries even if he was the one being helped. He ended up losing by 3.7e6 votes.

> Sam Altman runs YC now and as of last year was apparently seriously considering running for governor of California. That strikes me as grandiose and not good for society

Arnold Schwarzenegger was the Governor of California. At least as far as the 'what makes him qualified' thing goes, apparently that's not a real concern for voters :)

Let's not forget Grey Davis' being a politician didn't help California against rolling brownouts and massive deficits in the 2000s.

> Let's not forget Grey Davis' being a politician didn't help California against rolling brownouts and massive deficits in the 2000s.

The correct spelling is Gray Davis [1].

The rolling brownouts were caused by Enron [2] who was enabled by legislation (AB 1890) that his predecessor Pete Wilson signed in 1996 [3]. People went to jail for that. [4]

There were no massive deficits under Davis. When the tech bubble burst in 2001, there was a revenue decline but that's about it.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_Davis

[2] https://www.ferc.gov/industries/electric/indus-act/wec/enron...

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_electricity_crisis

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enron_scandal

Arianna Huffington has a different take on the issue. Others do as well. Davis blames federal regulation while at the sane time has retrospectively apologized for being slow to act as the crisis began.

No, Davis doesn't blame Federal regulation because it wasn't Federal regulation that caused the California energy crisis. The crisis was caused by state de-regulation. That de-regulation (AB 1890) was engineered and signed by Governor Pete Wilson.

  Staff concludes that supply-demand imbalance, flawed
  market design and inconsistent rules made possible 
  significant market manipulation as delineated in final
  investigation report. Without underlying market
  dysfunction, attempts to manipulate the market
  would not be successful.
This wasn't on Davis; this was on Wilson and Enron. As for Arianna Huffington, she ran as an independent against Davis is the recall election engineered by Darrell Issa. She'd been a conservative commentator (supporting Newt Gingrich) before she and Andrew Breitbart launched HuffPo.

Et cetera.

Still Pete or Gray, their experience in politics did not prepare them for the events that followed. All major players have some blame, Pete, Gray and Enron. Enron was greedy and Pete and Gray, as evidenced by their political careers, didn't handle the sitch well in the eyes of the public.

As a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, I'm greedy, quite greedy. But Enron wasn't just greedy, it was a criminal organization. As such, people went to jail and it went out of business. The job losses at Enron were 4000 but they were 85,000 at Arthur Anderson, its accounting firm.

Wilson enabled this although to be fair, he didn't foresee it. The CA energy crisis was the result of mid-90s neoliberal hubris. Like supply side voodoo economics, its lessons get quickly forgotten. Hubris is like that.

From that Wiki article you linked (just about everyone gets blamed) And to note, some of the contracts were signed by Davis:

>Some critics, such as Arianna Huffington, alleged that Davis was lulled to inaction by campaign contributions from energy producers.[28] In addition, the California State Legislature would sometimes push Davis to act decisively by taking over power plants which were known to have been gamed and place them back under control of the utilities, ensuring a more steady supply and slapping the nose of the worst manipulators . Meanwhile, conservatives argued that Davis signed overpriced energy contracts, employed incompetent negotiators, and refused to allow prices to rise for residences statewide much like they did in San Diego, which they argue could have given Davis more leverage against the energy traders and encouraged more conservation.[29] More criticism is given in the book Conspiracy of Fools, which gives the details of a meeting between the governor and his officials; Clinton Administration Treasury officials; and energy executives, including market manipulators such as Enron, where Gray Davis disagreed with the treasury officials and energy executives<

Again, these are opinions and in Huffington's case not disinterested opinions. She ran for governor in the recall.

The fact remains that the CA energy crisis was enabled by Republicans for the benefit of Ken Lay's Enron Corp. Then when it happened Republicans complained loudly and political advantage of their created crisis.

Yeah, he was powerless against the Uber of its day: Enron.

I'm not sure the fault there was Grey Davis's. Seems there was skulduggery afoot (it's actually a really interesting story, and seemingly a perennial one)

I welcome it. I'd much rather have a crowded field than what we had in the last election on the Democratic side - a field emptied by the presence of a dominant presumptive nominee. More competition is a good thing.

More competition is also how we got Trump on the republican side because the number of candidates lowered the bar for receiving a plurality of the votes. Trump never would have beaten someone like Cruz, Rubio, or even Jeb in a primary straight up.

I dont agree at all, and I do not think the data backs it up. Jeb is a clear loss mono e mono against trump in the primary, no question.

the candidates you mentioned only did well in limited/specific geographies (such as their home state). i followed the primaries on both sides, and had you consolidated the votes to trump vs other, trump would have won. its also very unlikely that 'other' would all vote for 'other' if they weren't specifically allowed to vote for someone like Cruz.

>the candidates you mentioned only did well in limited/specific geographies

That is because the other candidates all took their own piece of the pie. The republican and democratic primaries were very similar. You had someone framed as a populist outsider who was selling themselves on their ability to fix the system. On the democratic side you had one other establishment candidate who more or less campaigned on the status quo. On the republican side you had numerous establishment candidates that basically campaigned on the status quo who split the vote and several outsider candidates that never had much support at all. The democratic side was consolidated much earlier around their candidate. The republican side never consolidated around an establishment candidate because it was never clear which establishment candidate was the favorite. This allowed Trump to succeed with his consistent 20-30% of republicans in early primaries.

Maybe, but even at the end when it was Trump vs. Cruz vs. Kasich Trump polled well ahead. I don't think that quantity really was the determining factor -- I think Trump is just the natural end state for the way America seems to be at the moment with its massive political division and the inability for either side to treat the other with good intentions.

Really agree with this post


People like voting for winners and it was clear that Trump was going to win the plurality of the vote by that point. It also came at the end of a long and grueling primary that served to normalize Trump and rally establishment republican behind him. There is no way he would have won against a generic republican if the race started with only two candidates.

Not always. You don't want just one or two, but you also don't want the situation where they have to have a JV debate beforehand because they can't fit all the candidates.

I think we see similar behavior with other famous/rich people; Hollywood stars are always involving themselves in politics (and are often surprised when their engagement means nothing).

That being said, the point of campaigning for office is to demonstrate why you deserve the votes. Nothing wrong with a young successful guy giving it a try. Who knows - maybe the qualities that made him successful would translate well to governing. If anything, I think we should encourage more non-lawyers to run!

I suppose everyone thinks "Trump did it, why shouldn't I? I'm certainly better than that guy!"... but I think they forget that they weren't playing a successful authority figure on TV for years.

The society can't ever be honest and collectively stop enabling whatever. Everyone all the time responds to incentives, and power goes to whoever is lucky and good at collecting votes and support. Competence, technological acumen or vision is an extra. Altman being governor would be a high percentile outcome considering all of this.

How does one measure, compare and conclude that California is the most developed economy in the world?

It doesn't make much sense. California doesn't have a super high median income or GDP per capita compared to other rich US states. The US has around a dozen states with median incomes equal to or higher than Switzerland.

California ranks #8 in GDP per capita in the US among states. It's around $59,000 for 2017, which is high globally but not particularly high vs the overall US figure of ~$57,000.

California ranks near the bottom in education and is 35th in poverty rate.

The title of most developed US state goes to Massachusetts most likely. It has a super high GDP per capita and median income, and is generally highly developed in most regards including education, poverty, and median standard of living. The problem is, it's the size of a Scandinavian nation. New Hampshire is even worse: they have one of the world's highest median incomes and GDP per capita figures, but only 1.3 million people.

GDP per capita probably. If California was a country, it would be on the top 10 list, only beat by some small oil rich countries.

Why should all of our leaders be charismatic lawyers? How are they more qualified? Or in some cases, famous actors. The current president's main qualification was inheriting a ton of money and being good at getting in the news.

The bar is not terribly high and I think successful tech leaders are probably more qualified than anyone else that shows up.

I think the idea of having representatives and leaders is a bit old fashioned to begin with. But if we are going to have them, they should be the most competent intelligent people we can find from outside of politics.

I wouldn't want to vote for them, but do you think that your actual politicians are qualified or deep thinkers? By "qualified" I don't mean "better than Trump", that's a very low bar.

Did you delete that post yourself?

Yes, there's no funny business going on.

Sorry, didn't mean to drag you back into the discussion! I posted my question because I was concerned that maybe a moderator deleted it. I guess I was being a little paranoid!

I'll be honest I had no idea who Sam Altman is so I read his wikipedia page and I still don't quite understand how he got to where he is today? Was his success started by the Loopt sale?

He's a very smart guy, according to a lot of people, and he's also nice. He made an app that was reasonably successful, sold it. When in YC, pg recognized his genius... and over time decided he's the guy who should run YC.

He got to where he is today because Paul Graham took him under his wing and made him his de facto son. It's not really a replicable model.


When it suits the privilege narrative, Jewish people are white.

What's odd to me is that this seems like it should be bad for Jews, and that they wouldn't want this to be the case, and that in general people wouldn't want a minority treated as the majority group in these cases...

But instead I've been flagged.

Eh, it is what it is. I am politically liberal, all for BLM/LGBT marches, equal rights, believe white privilege is a real thing, etc. Voted for Sanders. Still getting downvoted because the mere mention or skepticism of how privilege is applied attracts the usual attention.

As far as I can tell, my Jewish friends are considered white when they are referred to regarding privilege (by the left) and a minority by the alt-right. They get the worst of both worlds. Asian-Americans get it on a similar, if lower level.

Because, in general, those who like to point out that someone is Jewish are the alt-right. And they don't point that out because they love Mel Brooks movies and matzo balls.

This isn't news, is it? Google hates decentralization. Visa and money transfer restrictions force them to improve the areas they're based out of. Open communication makes it harder for them to control public opinion. Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, coauthored a book, The New Digital Age, about how in the future there won't be any border restrictions and 'fake news' will be censored away. Here, I have quotes!

More effective communication across borders and languages will build trust and create opportunities for hardworking and talented individuals around the world. Bureaucratic obstacles that prevent this level of decentralized operation today, like visa restrictions and regulations around money transfers, will become either irrelevant or be circumvented as digital solutions are discovered.

Imagine all of your accounts -- Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Google+, Netflix, New York Times subscription -- linked to an "official profile." Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results.

People who try to perpetuate myths about religion, culture, ethnicity or anything else will struggle to keep their narratives afloat amid a sea of newly informed listeners.

Oh, and if any of you disagree with them, don't worry. They made a point of saying they can't be held responsible, and that boycotting their products or refusing to work for them will hurt you more than them.

It is, after all, much easier to blame a single product or company for a particularly evil application of technology than to acknowledge the limitations of personal responsibility.

Certain subsections of the technology industry that receive particularly negative attention will have trouble recruiting engineers or attracting users to and monetizing their products, despite the fact that such atrophying will not solve the problem (and will only hurt the community of users in the end, by denying them the full benefits of innovation.)

Don't be evil. Don't be Google.

> People who try to perpetuate myths about religion, culture, ethnicity or anything else will struggle to keep their narratives afloat amid a sea of newly informed listeners.

This is pretty damn terrifying.

Who is the authority on what qualifies as a "myth" or a "lie"?

We're coming closer to a Ministry of Truth every single day. And people who I would otherwise call 'smart' are actively cheering for it if it protects their own sacred belifs

Mathematicians are globalists. Software is like High Latin or sheet music. CPU's are its translators or maybe pipe organs. What could anyone miss here? This was, is and shall remain the very overt and enduring goal of cultured people. I did get to study nuclear strategy relevant game theory with Thomas Schelling decades back. But I should not be newly informing software guru CPU composers that "good jobs for good wages to impress ladies" or "sky bomber tools" are not goals. Those are minimal essential system basslines or nothing. Math applies everywhere we listen. There is no politics or wishing to it whatsoever. Just more math and music.

Please excuse my ignorance with modern political parlance, but I always got the feeling that "globalists" was actually dogwhistle codeword for Jew. Is that the case?

Interesting, that's never been my understanding. More refers to anyone who desires world government (or the diminishing of local governments) and who finds the desire to preserve one's culture, community, and national identity as backwards and unenlightened.

I suppose it could be used by some as a dogwhistle, but it seems there's also a meaningful set of ideas that can be represented by that term.

Refers to anyone who desires world government (or the diminishing of local governments) and who finds the desire to preserve one's culture, community, and national identity as backwards and unenlightened.

That's not what 'globalist' means outside of the fringes. It's certainly not the way the linked article uses it.

Well, I'll have to re-read the linked article. In any case, while I probably did not phrase it in the language that globalists themselves would use, but would they flat out refute my definition? Or would they merely nuance it?


First of all, Breitbart may use a definition like the one I provided, but I think so would the rather more mild-mannered Front Porch Republic[0], which should be noted has contributing members that identify more with the communitarian left than anything right-wing.

As for your suggestion to "just google" it, I decided to take you up on it. The first result I got was a definition from Wordnik:

"A national geopolitical policy in which the entire world is regarded as the appropriate sphere for a state's influence."

That seems to match up quite well with the first clause of my definition. Does Steve Bannon own Wordnik or the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language? I doubt it. Wikipedia doesn't really go into detail about specific ideological commitments.

How about the second clause? Well, certainly the phrase "backwards and unenlightened" implies that I perceive globalists as haughty and vain. What of it? I don't think they're evil incarnate. I've met a fair few. They seem decent enough.

Nonetheless, I think that if you believe that national boundaries should go away, and you come from a relatively high educational background (which many globalists seem to) then, in a dispassionate way, "unenlightened" is exactly how you are going to view those who insist on maintain local hegemony based on traditional institutions.

> If I defined 'libertarians' as, say, 'people who won't answer the question "How often do you beat your spouse?" with a simple yes or no'

It wouldn't be a terribly bad start. By not identifying with either Conservative or Liberal your making it clear that you reject binary politics and false dichotomies.


"A national geopolitical policy in which the entire world is regarded as the appropriate sphere for a state's influence." and "Anyone who desires world government (or the diminishing of local governments)" do not 'match up'. It's not the same ballpark, it's not even the same game. There is absolutely nothing in the former that implies or suggests a desire for world government. There really isn't any serious mainstream political movement or ideology that really desires a world government and there never has been - this is pure Bircher stuff, never mind Bannon. I am honestly at a loss how you see this as supporting your definition at all.

If you are keen on making up some political ideology full of people who are chomping at the bit to give up national sovereignty and culture, by all means. If you want to call them 'globalists', ok fine, that's your personal definition of 'globalist'. But to pull out a definition that says 'entire world is regarded as the appropriate sphere of a state's influence' and declare it equivalent to 'desire for world government', that is just at odds with, I dunno, words, meanings of things, logic.

It wouldn't be a terribly bad start. By not identifying with either Conservative or Liberal your making it clear that you reject binary politics and false dichotomies.

I don't know what any of that means. Misdescribing someone doesn't somehow become right or a virtue simply because you are 'rejecting binary politics and false dichotomies'. It's still plainly and factually wrong.

> "A national geopolitical policy in which the entire world is regarded as the appropriate sphere for a state's influence." and "Anyone who desires world government (or the diminishing of local governments)" do not 'match up'. It's not the same ballpark, it's not even the same game.

Is there a distinction to be made? Sure. Not in the same ballpark? Hardly. Power and influence are zero sum. If one state exerts its influence over the whole globe, the influence remaining to the other states is diminished. Is there a principled limit to the amount of influence to be exerted?

Are there not those who a for the end of immigration restrictions, for the free flow of goods and people between all parts of the globe, and for greater unity in combating poverty, injustice, and global climate change under the auspices of international agencies? Certainly this would involve at least the diminishing of the sovereignty of individual nations, and the accrual of power and influence to those uniting agencies? Understand that I'm not making a value judgement here, just talking about the practical implications of the power dynamics.

A smaller example: is not the logical end state of the EU more or less a single European nation? Correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding was that the EU was more or less modeled on the United States, which originally was a loose confederation of individual sovereign states - but has not been for quite some time.

As borders go down and trade and immigration increase, the desire for a single currency, a single language, and single set of laws and customs increases in order to decrease the friction of trade and increase legibility for policy makers.

> If you are keen on making up some political ideology full of people who are chomping at the bit to give up national sovereignty and culture, by all means.

How about people who desire to unite in common cause with other nations, and embrace multiculturalism? Again, I'm not passing judgement here. I'm just not sure how these policies don't necessarily entail the diminishing of national sovereignty and established local culture.

>> It wouldn't be a terribly bad start. By not identifying with either Conservative or Liberal your making it clear that you reject binary politics and false dichotomies.

> I don't know what any of that means. Misdescribing someone doesn't somehow become right or a virtue simply because you are 'rejecting binary politics and false dichotomies'. It's still plainly and factually wrong.

I was meaning that if your specific misdescription, if taken metaphorically, might be a tool for a Libertarian to explain to those only familiar with the two-party system what it means to be a Libertarian.

Listen, I've looked up globalism liked you ask. I think the distinction between "global influence for a state" and "world hegemony" is merely pragmatics, not principles. I've met many people who earnestly desire a world government. I'm not trying to posit the existence of some conspiracy, but rather talk through the natural endpoint of a highly-integrated global society.

And yet you still claim I'm mis-characterizing globalism without actually telling me what you think globalism is. If you have an actual definition they say it. I promise I won't get on your case. You can count on my reaction being one of three things:

1) I don't see how that differs from what I said 2) I see the distinction between our definitions, but I think mine is more accurate 3) I see that your definition is more accurate than the one I provided

I think if you'd found that the definition of 'globalist' meant 'a person who likes turnips' you'd have written the same lengthy missive explaining how that dietary preference is equivalent to support for world government, possibly based on the self-evident idea that turnip-fancy is zero sum. This isn't argument, it's just throwing around terms with enough coinciding letters to try to reach a pre-determined conclusion/idée fixe. Let's call it a day before you end up having to connect the turnipists to the globular clusterists and the black helicopterists.

No, on Breitbart it definitely just means Jew.

This made me laugh. It's also sad to think that it might be true.

That's the first I've heard of that connection and it seems like a pretty rocky connection based on what I just read [1].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_antisemitism#Anti-globaliz...

As a Jewish person: yes it is. It really should not be used by any legitimate publication anymore because of the dogwhistle status it has gained.

I don't like these categories but while we are playing this game:

Aren't libertarians also globalists?

The current global trade (non-software) relies on security provided by US Navy. Global Trade is not Free Trade! You need a security under-writer for it. I think Libertarians have a "blind-spot" there.

I'm not sure about that, unless you're conflating libertarians with anarcho-capitalists. Minarchist libertarians would actually consider that making free trade possible through military might is in the purview of the state.

You may be right, but what is libertarian idea of maritime trade in hostile world and how would a free market established in such circumstances.

(I am not asking for full answer.. you can point me books or links)

You might want to check out what the US Navy did to the pirates.


You are saying that the minarchist Night Watchman State will have 10 carrier strike groups? I don't think that word means what you think it means.

If that's what's required to ensure the freedom of the Night Watchman State citizens, sure.

If you're a Libertarian and you believe spurring on global trade strengthens the right to property and disrupts governments from legislating moral imperatives, then you might be a globalist. Being neutral to OK with globalism is not the same thing as being a globalist.

I just think of a globalist as believing in free trade and immigration. Surely a position that a libertarian would support.

I would say yes, take away national governments and you empower multinationals to essentially turn the world into their corporate serfs, with the rule if law gone corporation's are free to impose their own rules without any vote by the people on the matter.

yes, right wing libertarians are globalists, and anarchocapitalist.

If they favor free trade and redistribution of wealth, then they're still able to be libertarians.

Libertarianism and globalism are not mutually exclusive. There's a whole spectrum of libertarians from anarcho-capitalists to libertarian socialists (I'm somewhere in the middle-left, I'd reckon). The unifying trait is the belief that individual freedom is paramount.

The stereotypical right-wing position is, "This government program is poorly-run; let's get rid of it"

The stereotypical left-wing position is, "This government program should be left alone, even if it's poorly-run"

The stereotypical Gray Tribe position is, "This government program is poorly-run; let's debug it"

> The stereotypical Gray Tribe position is, "This government program is poorly-run; let's debug it"

Until the Gray-Triber realizes that there's no real feedback loop between policy effectiveness and actual policy and end up as either a resigned left-winger or bitter right-winger

There is currently no feedback loop or there can never be a feedback loop?

It depends on how cynical you are, I guess. Seeing how even nominally intelligent and educated people approach politics and policy, I'm pretty firmly on the "never" side.

Why would the left-wing not want to improve a poorly run program?

Sometimes it's a enemy-of-my-enemy effect. Acknowledging that a government program needs substantial improvements may mean admitting that the evil conservatives and libertarians who were criticizing it had a point. (And yes, this often happens to the right as well when they can't acknowledge that a particular government program has worked well).

Because of donations and assurances of bloc voting from the entities profiting from the inefficiencies and corruption, just like the other side.

That's a bit reductive. There's another thought - the government program might feel poorly run, but there are in fact a million contingencies that they have to pay attention to, that a startup doesn't; or the government program is poorly run, but it's better than the alternative (a profit seeking corporation driving down costs, but, ultimately, providing worse service at the expense of returns - see prisons).

I guess it all comes down to your definition of "poorly run".

The left wing position isn't to just leave it alone. It's to throw/flush more money at it in the hopes that it fixes the problem.

> The stereotypical left-wing position is, "This government program should be left alone, even if it's poorly-run"

Think it's more like "Lets spend more money to fix it".

No one on the left wants more military spending.

It's worth it to pay attention to voices most critical of the biggest, most broken government program.

The rest is quibbling over minutiae.

I assume you're talking about the Federal Insurance program (Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security). Because a lot of people on the left want to spend more money on those.

Those are some of the most functional, most loved programs in this country. Social security is our sovereign wealth fund, and only comes into crisis when it is tapped for purposes it wasn't intended for. Medicaid/care allows a profitable, private health insurance industry to exist. These programs basically saved capitalism in this country, be grateful.

And as far as I can tell, no one on the right wants to get rid of the military.

Oh honey, you haven't met some of the "mercenaries/private military contractors can solve everything" libertarians.

>>The stereotypical left-wing position is, "This government program should be left alone, even if it's poorly-run"

No, it is "This government program is poorly-run probably because it is severely underfunded."

After all, "government is poorly-run" tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy: it is used to justify spending cuts, which does in fact result in performance problems.

That is true -- it's a very effective playbook to starve a program of funding and then argue it should be eliminated because "it doesn't work".


"I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub." -Grover Norquist, 2001

So is the other playbook, where effectively every excuse always boils down to "we need more money" or "we're underfunded".

So why not perform studies and actually look into whether the inefficiencies and performance problems are caused by insufficient funds?

Oh wait, studies require funding too, so we can't have those.

I mean do you honestly believe that a Republican would propose increasing funding of a non-military, non-security agency if they were shown hard evidence that said agency's problems were in fact caused by lack of money?

Anecdotally, I've worked as a business analyst with many government agencies, and I've found that in most cases they are underfunded, sometimes horrifyingly so.

I'd be interested in seeing some of your analysis on government agencies. Especially considering most government agencies are bureaucratic nightmares filled with unions more concerned with head counts than efficiency.

More likely than not, an honest analysis would see the 80/20 rule show up, dozens of needless and redundant positions will be exposed, and when presented with the data the agency is most likely to scoff at the idea of cutting headcount and spending through efficiency as that means a smaller budget for next year. A fun example of this is Detroit Water and Sewer's egregious spending on asinine positions such as a farrier, despite having no horses.


Ironically, I believe that we should be throwing money at problems, even as a Libertarian. Government program funding was what turned me into a libertarian. I couldn't for the life of me reconcile how we can task an entity (the government) to fix a problem, and then look idly-by as its agents throw table-scraps at the program that is instituted to complete that task.

E.g. Crime in inner-city neighbourhoods. It's 2017, we should be able to put cameras (facial-recognition and license-plate-reading) at every street corner, inside every store, track every single gang-member, and subsequently institute curfews for them that would probably eliminate 90% of crime. But, we don't. We skirt around the issue, we try fix it using "round-about" "ways, means, incentives" and all other manner of things instead of tackling a problem head-on with near-unlimited funding. If it was up to me, I'd ramp up funding to a ridiculous degree, and then start scaling back after the problem is solved. Not the other way around, whereby the program and society as a whole has to beg politicians and the rest of us to fund things properly.

Which is often another ways of saying "This government program is poorly-run. So lets double it!".

> The stereotypical Gray Tribe position is, "This government program is poorly-run; let's debug it"

Just skimming google for Gray Tribe stuff and seeing that it's basically another name for 'libertarian tech workers', this isn't their stereotype. The stereotypical libertarian position on government programs, poorly-run or not, is the same as the right-wing position: "let's get rid of it".

Gray Tribe is wildly different from Libertarian. The former supports universal healthcare, free high-quality public education, and generally a strong social safety net paid for by high taxes on the wealthy.

Everything I skimmed talked about them as libertarians, and keep coming back to the same two articles as source material which describe libertarianism as a starting feature. I didn't get a sense that they were for strong welfare and public education. It doesn't matter anyway, because the issue itself is 'tribal politics', and so 'making a new tribe' doesn't solve that problem.

To be honest, the OP's description where the favoured group was clearly superior than the dumb-as-rocks alternatives reminded me of a book I once saw. The author had decided that since there were 13 lunar months in a year, there should be 13 zodiac signs. So she invented a new one - the spider. It's defining features were 'magic' and 'mystery' and it was just all-around better than the other signs... and conveniently her birthday happened to fall in the range of this new sign. :)

[1] http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/09/30/i-can-tolerate-anything...

[2] https://paxdickinson.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/three-modern-g...

Classical liberalism does not oppose universal healthcare. When you had prohibition, in Denmark we had classical liberalism, universal healthcare and a marginal taxrate of <15% (1/4 of yours). This is the society that I prefer and hopefully Denmark can get back on the right track :)

Anyone else here familiar with "liberaltarianism"? I think that might be what the data is showing: the desire for a robust and efficient free market tethered to a redistributive social safety net.

I think it's a pretty good idea.

Good idea but an awful name.

"Liberal" has an existing meaning which has been warped by American politics. Both the American parties have a liberal heritage. Republicans are conservative liberals, and Democrats are largely progressive liberals. Libertarianism is a reactionary liberal ideology that seeks to return to a freer, less-regulated market.

The confusion happened due to FDR. He ran on a progressive platform but the term "progressive" was poisoned in American politics at the time, so he called himself "liberal".

There is already a term for what you're describing, simply "left-libertarianism" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-libertarianism

I agree with what you said about liberalism, but I think you're off the mark with regards to left-libertarianism. It's a disparate label, but I can't imagine any of these schools of thought showcasing "the desire for a robust and efficient free market" the parent comment calls for.

Liberal markets + social safety net sounds like garden variety Nordic model democracy to me. The term "left-libertarian" is usually ascribed to groups like Catalonian anarchists or Zapatistas.

Yep, that is exactly what the we find and argue. I think the NYT article about our work does a better job highlighting that central finding: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/06/technology/silicon-valley....

> a robust and efficient free market tethered to a redistributive social safety net.

The latter would destroy or corrupt the former. It's a horrible idea.

their categories are broad enough to arrive at any result they wanted. still I never ever considered any of the SV bosses to anything close to libertarians.

I think that SV founders fall into a pretty solid category of people who were raised by educated, successful people.

My main concern with this is that people raised by successful, hard-working people don't understand poverty and the culture around it.

Zuckerberg is a perfect example. He's a guy who preaches about tolerance, diversity, and inclusion, but he grew up in an upper middle class suburb that was lily white and had no diversity itself.

As a guy who grew up in a working class family with major cultural dysfunction that was mirrored by people all around me, I recognize that the typical "solutions" tossed out by these people are useless.

I WISH that the only reason minorities were underrepresented in tech was racism. The real reason is the culture of poverty. This spans race. How many white people from trailer parks in West Virginia or Kentucky do you encounter in the tech scene? Probably a similar number to black people from poor inner-city neighborhoods. Almost none.

In fact, when you encounter minorities in SV, they are typically from middle class families with college-educated parents. It's a perfect example of why the "surface" aspects of diversity are not only a bad metric, but one that contributes to the problem by acting as a red herring from true root causes.

Yet the SV CEOs think they know everything because they built a web app that streams music.

Exactly. It drives me crazy to hear people who never moved 20 minutes outside of downtown Manhattan and went to a 30k a year high school act like they possibly understand what it's like to be working class or that they can begin to diagnose major issues in society. They've never seen anything but the upper crust of it.

I also think its something that is regional. About 50% of the Asian population lives on the West Coast, so it makes sense that you might see more of them in big tech firms, even the ones from historically underrepresented ethnic groups (filipinos etc.).

Sometimes I wonder how the conversation would shift if Silicon Valley were instead Silicon Delta or someplace else Southern. For instance Atlanta has a fairly robust black middle class and has long been a hub in the South. Would we be having the same kinds of conversations about minority representation if Silicon Valley were centered in a region that gave a geographic advantage to another minority? In the same way that half of the Asian population is concentrated on the West Coast, half of the Black population is concentrated in the south, as well as a good chunk of the black middle class. Would we see a lot more black people in tech if the tech industry called Atlanta rather than San Francisco home?

Even so, could decentralization and remote work be seen as an avenue to increase diversity? I don't know the answers to these questions but I would love to see stuff where researchers have asked them.

>The real reason is the culture of poverty.

That's a bold claim.

first generation rich people tend to be different than later ones. SV bosses who are owners of successful startups would fall in the former category imho.

that explains most traits attributed by OP to the SV people.

Do you have numbers to back this up? The first generation of tech darlings almost exclusively come from upper middle and above backgrounds. I'm genuinely interested if that has changed.

"would like to live in a society where government does nothing except provide national defence and police protection, so that people could be left alone to earn whatever they could," -- obviously encapsulates the libertarian philosophy.

It's one of those things that sounds so simple and great on paper but has a huge impedance mismatch with reality.

How do we know? It's never existed in reality.

(Of course, I'll admit, neither has "true" Communism ... or so its supporters claim.)

What are these strict categories good for? The real image is much more complex.

There is a category called left libertarian that describes them pretty close. Basically american libertarian + UBI (or other types of wealth redistribution).

the survey seems not to be anonymous and people lie if they know that their position as a ceo would be associated with their political views.

I think some sarcastic slow clapping is appropriate here.

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