Silicon Valley leaders aren’t Libertarians, they’re just Anti-Regulation/Anti-Union Liberalish

A combination of traits that doesn’t match any other political group

The leaders of Silicon Valley companies are — despite the bad rap they’ve gotten in recent years — not really libertarians. They apparently believe in taxing the rich and having the government redistribute that money for social progress. In fact, as Farhad Manjoo points out, they are very liberal in most ways:

Over all, the study [by Stanford political scientists] showed that tech entrepreneurs are very liberal — among some of the most left-leaning Democrats you can find. They are overwhelmingly in favor of economic policies that redistribute wealth, including higher taxes on rich people and lots of social services for the poor, including universal health care. Their outlook is cosmopolitan and globalist — they support free trade and more open immigration, and they score low on measures of “racial resentment.”

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source: NY Times

So, how do they deviate from being mainstream liberals?

Now for the twist. The study found one area where tech entrepreneurs strongly deviate from Democratic orthodoxy and are closer to most Republicans: They are deeply suspicious of the government’s efforts to regulate business, especially when it comes to labor. They said that it was too difficult for companies to fire people, and that the government should make it easier to do so. They also hope to see the influence of both private and public-sector unions decline.

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source: NY Times

So, this should end the libertarianism talk, but begs the question: what the hell are they? They are sui generis. Farhad says

No other group in the survey favored both greater wealth redistribution and laxer regulation. It is genuinely difficult to think of any politician who aligns with that mix.

We’ll have to see what the rise of tech liberalish thinking does to US domestic policies.

Why I didn’t fit in out there: I am pro-worker-rights. The anti-liberal/anti-union mindset is a part of the syndrome leading to underrepresentation of women and minorities, the sexual harassment, the bro culture, all of it.

Originally published at

Written by

Founder, Work Futures. Editor, GigaOm. My obsession is the ecology of work, and the anthropology of the future.

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