“Silicon Valley is a microcosm of the excesses of capitalism”

WITHIf Silicon Valley “techies” still doubted their image in the rest of the country, they were edified. Outside of Palo Alto, the problems of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) do not attract much sympathy. All weekend, social media resonated with Internet users’ sarcasm towards an environment that generally cares little about collateral damage from its innovations. “Sell private jets,” one advised.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers “Steve Jobs, Elon Musk… Tech bosses are part of a long tradition of the American entrepreneur myth”

The collapse of the SVB bank was met with cynicism comparable to the contempt of libertarians for “big government”. Venture capitalists like Pershing Square’s Bill Ackman trade warnings, doomsday scenarios, claiming that national security is at stake and that China, as the last ghost, will take advantage of the situation to deprive the United States of the next Google and SpaceX, nothing has shaken the wall enmity. “And now they want help from the government? I’m fed up,” another commenter said.

Inequality widens

Times don’t allow tears to be shed over technology. The sector has benefited greatly from the pandemic and is struggling to get back to reality. Since the spring of 2022, the industry has had to lay off about 200,000 employees, 10,000 of them in the Valley alone. Scandals are piling up. Latest: the bankruptcy of the FTX cryptocurrency platform.

First of all, inequality is increasing. In 2021, the gap between the rich and the poor widened further in the tech capital (by 5%), while it narrowed (by 3%) in the rest of the country, according to the Joint Venture Silicon Valley Institute’s annual report released February 17. %). An enclave of 120 square kilometers south of San Francisco, the Valley is home to 85 billionaires and 163,000 millionaires. In 2022, 10% of residents owned 66% of the region’s total wealth. Richest 1%: 36% of resources.

Also read the column: Article reserved for our subscribers António Guterres, UN Secretary General: “The Silicon Valleys of this world must not become death valleys for women’s rights”

Only eight taxpayers weigh more than 500,000 residents, or half the homes in the region. Seven of these very large fortunes are technology-related: Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of Google; Eric Schmidt, long-time CEO of the search engine; Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook; Jensen Huang of Nvidia; Jan Koum, creator of WhatsApp; and Lauren Powell Jobs, widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs. Eighth – Charles Schwab, founder of the financial giant that bears his name.

You have 37.22% of this article left to read. Further only for subscribers.

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker.