drwex (drwex) wrote,

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Some (rich) people do get it

Elsewhere (on a private email list) I have been arguing that the recent backlash against tech people and companies including Google is often self-generated. Rich (tech) people with blind eyes and tin ears fail to see both how they benefit from the less-rich and non-tech and how they affect the world around them.

Today I came across this quote from Jim Manzi, who used to run Lotus back in its heyday and has since done a lot of venture capital work:
Many entrepreneurs hold the opinion that “I did it all on my own,” which may be well adapted to leadership success in certain situations, but it is objectively myopic. The entrepreneur relies on an ecosystem of venture capitalists, risk-taking purchasers, and so on. This ecosystem itself rests on a deeper foundation of collective, government-led enterprise. The delivery of our software, for example, depended on the existence of the Internet, which is the product of a series of government-sponsored R&D efforts, in combination with subsequent massive private commercial development. Government funding has been essential to much of the university science that entrepreneurs have exploited. Honest courts and police are required for functioning capital markets and protection of assets; physical infrastructure is required for the roads and running water without which we would not spend much time thinking about artificial intelligence software. At the absolute foundation, national armed forces protect the whole system against external aggression. All of our exciting technical and economic innovations ultimately require men to stand watch all night looking through Starlight scopes mounted on assault rifles—and die if necessary—to protect our commercial, law-bound society. Would you do this to protect a billionaire hedge-fund manager who sees his country as nothing more than lines on a map?

Too bad the tech whiz-kids who think they can talk Californians into splitting up their state five ways don't read Manzi.
Tags: politics
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