Out of Control Policy Blog

Google and the California Techie Political Mindset

Joshua Trevio has written a nice essay on the curious tendency of California high-tech millionaires jump on left-wing causes. He takes Google and its "don't be evil" mantra as an example, but his observations apply equally to Apple, Oracle, Cisco and plenty of other companies who otherwise have built their brands through core capitalist values of entrepreneurialism, independent thinking, intense competitiveness and reward-for-results.

Trevio writes:

Partly this is cultural – few of the Silicon Valley set fall into anything resembling a conservative demographic, being (broadly speaking) young, ethnically diverse, irreligious, and, well, Californian. Partly, too, is it the natural effect of a self-perceived revolutionary nature, which rarely lends itself to a natural restraint or the reinforcement of tradition. The technology sector, and specifically the information-technology sector, is a natural home to those who think in transformational terms – and so it is unsurprising that they would approach all subjects in the same vein. Having benefitted from – indeed, being the creation of – state restraint and markets, it does not follow from this that they see any need to preserve or defense those things.

But market realities can't be ignored. In the end, Trevio suggests,

Google's starry-eyed leftists may see it as a motive force for change, and its clear-eyed corporate leadership may see it as an emerging monopolist, but what is objectively true is that Google is a market entity subject to market forces. Google's products are often the best on the market, and they are just as often free – the time bomb in its business model, and a direct result of "Don't Be Evil." In time, the contradiction will resolve itself.

Read the full post here.

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