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Tech and the Strongmen

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October 14, 2022 10:33 a.m.

I’ve been reading various commentary in recent weeks about the rightward turn by big elements of the Silicon Valley tech community. It’s a complex story with various roots. But at a macro level a significant part of it comes down to something like political physics. Tech became extremely wealthy and extremely powerful, and when government started looking at Big Tech with a more critical eye a lot of the tech people … well, they didn’t like it. That’s not terribly surprising. When you’re used to being a master of the universe and then suddenly a bureaucrat who makes less than $200,000 a year comes asking questions or says you can’t do something, that can seem a little weird and annoying. And your political outlook, if you had one, can start to change. This reminded me of a decade-old episode in the history of American political economy which I watched unfold at the time and is relevant to this discussion.

Do you remember SOPA and the activism against it?

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