Those bastard libertarian iCapitalists

Of course, we need hi-tech, and Britain should be investing more in the sector. But the iCapitalist vision of society is deeply flawed, and potentially destructive. It is based on the false premise that the tech industries are a triumph of and justification for pure laissez-faire economics – refusing to acknowledge, of course, that the US department of defence drove the development of Silicon Valley. Also, it erroneously assumes that economic growth can be driven by a small group of super-wealthy, highly educated individuals, producing technologies that allow employers to cut wage costs for the majority, while resisting taxation and redistribution. This was precisely the highly inegalitarian economic model that led governments to maintain consumption by allowing a debt build-up among us lesser mortals – contributing to the crisis of 2008.

Since the financial crisis, the iCapitalists, like the bankers, have come under more scrutiny. They will clearly now have to pay more tax, at least in the UK, and they are under pressure elsewhere.

And now we have the possibility that the tech companies have allowed the US government wide access to their users\’ data, something that they have denied. If true, it leave them open to the charge of gross hypocrisy; for despite their much-vaunted libertarianism, it seems, they can also collaborate with an overbearing state.

So, err, the argument that laissez faire doesn\’t work or shouldn\’t be allowed is overturned by oppressive government action?

I\’m sorry? Umm, isn\’t the opposite to laissez faire government action? So how can you use the iniquity of government action to insist that government action is necessary?

8 thoughts on “Those bastard libertarian iCapitalists”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    Also, it erroneously assumes that economic growth can be driven by a small group of super-wealthy, highly educated individuals, producing technologies that allow employers to cut wage costs for the majority, while resisting taxation and redistribution.

    Apart from the words “super-wealthy” and “highly educated” has there ever been any economic growth that has not been pushed by a small group of individuals, usually fighting against society as a whole with all its vested interests, producing technologies that allow employers to cut wage costs for the majority, while resisting taxation and redistribution?

    Slave societies built the pyramids. No doubt with the sort of collectivist mentality this idiot approves of. But individuals, almost entirely WASP, even more so male, built the steam engine, discovered penicillin etc etc.

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    And now we have the possibility that the tech companies have allowed the US government wide access to their users’ data, something that they have denied. If true, it leave them open to the charge of gross hypocrisy; for despite their much-vaunted libertarianism, it seems, they can also collaborate with an overbearing state.

    Collaborate? The hypocrisy of this writer is appalling. This is exactly what he wants these companies to do – bow down and kiss the boots of the all powerful State. What he is objecting to are people in Silicon Valley who want to make this sort of government intrusion impossible by supporting things like SeaSteading.

    When they do what he demands, what he wants, he condemns them. When they say they do not like what he demands, he also condemns them.

    The question is what would they do if they had a choice. In the US as it stands they do not collaborate. They co-operate under threat. They obey a court order. Let them move off shore or somewhere the State cannot coerce them and then see what they do.

  3. Graun – “Evil capitalists/IT moguls…”
    Tim – “No, actually evil governments..”
    SMFS – ” White men invented the steam engine and penicillin.”

    Good to see that everyone is keeping to their allotted roles.

  4. So Much For Subtlety

    Luke – “Good to see that everyone is keeping to their allotted roles.”

    Well I like to be consistent if nothing else. Although in this case I would like more stress put on progress being caused by the Ayn Rand-style individual standing against the forces of conformity and mediocrity in order to bring forth a brand new world of prosperity and advancement.

    (Although it so happens that today I discovered that not only was Crystal Meth invented by a Japanese man, but that Quaaludes – does anyone else remember those? – were discovered by an Indian. So perhaps I am being a little unfair about the whole WASP thing.)

  5. It’s just the usual basic fallacy- that the economy is a class struggle between two producer interests, capital and labour.

    Also, the usual rubbish that anything that the State has any involvement in, and is successful, owes its success to the state. So since the State has been involved in technology…

  6. Also, SMFS’s analysis overlooks something. Those WASPs were, initially, marginalised WASPs. Being generally religious non-conformists (Dissenters), they were barred from the grand institutions of the State. So they made fortunes in vulgar commerce instead of sitting on the parliamentary benches, becoming bishops, etc.

    Sometimes it can be beneficial to a community, strangely, to be discriminated against. It forces you to come up with your own solutions. Add to that a powerful networking effect by shared religion and culture, and you start to understand the remarkable success of non-conformist Protestants, and of course Jews.

    This is why we are in a dangerous condition currently. We have developed a new, dangerously inclusive, mandarinate. When what we need is some excluded Quakers wandering around looking for opportunities.

  7. So Much For Subtlety

    Luke – “there is a theory that the steam engine was only likely to be developed by people who (a) had access to lots of coal, and (b) wanted to pump their coal mines, and (c) then wanted a way to move their coal. That meant t-North (with a bit of help from Cornwall).”

    Sure. I have heard it. But why does that apply to the North and not, say, Botswana? Or China? China being the obvious alternative of course. There are any number of places with coal, water and a need to move things.

    What is more what is interesting is the relative lack of achievement post-1945.

    Ian B

    Also, SMFS-s analysis overlooks something. Those WASPs were, initially, marginalised WASPs. Being generally religious non-conformists (Dissenters), they were barred from the grand institutions of the State. So they made fortunes in vulgar commerce instead of sitting on the parliamentary benches, becoming bishops, etc.

    I do not overlook it. I point out the Noble Hero standing against society. This is a very interesting phenonmenon in general. You see it even in Russia with the Old Believers. You take people who are just as drunk, disorderly and useless as any other peasant, you exclude them from polite society and in no time you have an indigenous mercantile class.

    This is why we are in a dangerous condition currently. We have developed a new, dangerously inclusive, mandarinate. When what we need is some excluded Quakers wandering around looking for opportunities.

    I think we are well on the way to developing one – White males. Already they are feeling the pressure enough to avoid university. I doubt they are at the head of the queue when it comes to civil service jobs – in America they are largely Black. Even big corporations are more and more hostile. So you can see younger males are not following the well-trodden, predictable, but ultimately uncreative paths of their fathers and grandfather. As Black men have already in the US. The question is what are they going to create. For drop outs like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates we can see. For the rest? We will have to wait to find out.

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