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


She is “techies” from Silicon Valley still had doubts about their image in the rest of the country, they were edified. Beyond Palo Alto, the troubles of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) have not attracted much sympathy. All weekend, social networks resounded with the sarcasm of Internet users towards an environment that generally cares little about the collateral damage of its innovations. “ Sell ​​private jets »advised one of them.

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The collapse of the SVB bank was greeted with a cynicism comparable to the libertarians’ contempt for the “big government”. Venture capitalists, like Bill Ackman of Pershing Square, have been peddling warnings, doomsday scenarios, asserting that national security is in jeopardy and that, as the ultimate bogeyman, China will take advantage of the situation. to deprive the United States of the next Google and SpaceX, nothing has shaken the wall of animosity. “And now they want a bailout from the government? I’m laughing “meant another commenter.

Inequalities are widening

The times do not lend themselves to shedding tears over tech. The sector has benefited a lot from the pandemic, it is struggling to face the return to reality. Since the spring of 2022, the industry has had to lay off some 200,000 employees – and 10,000 in the Valley alone. The scandals are piling up. Latest: the bankruptcy of the FTX cryptocurrency platform.

Above all, inequalities are widening. According to the annual report of the Joint Venture Silicon Valley institute, published on February 17, the gap between rich and poor widened further in 2021 in the technology capital (by 5%), while it decreased in the rest of the country (by 3%). A 120 square kilometer enclave south of San Francisco, the Valley is home to 85 billionaires and 163,000 millionaires. In 2022, 10% of the inhabitants owned 66% of the region’s total wealth. The richest 1%: 36% of the resources.

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Eight taxpayers alone weigh more than 500,000 inhabitants, or half of the homes in the region. Seven of these very large fortunes come from technologies: Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, Eric Schmidt, who was for a long time the CEO of the search engine; Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook; Jensen Huang, from Nvidia; Jan Koum, the creator of WhatsApp; and Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs. The eighth is Charles Schwab, the founder of the financial giant that bears his name.

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