Silicon Valley startups: being evil again and again

Notes from Below is a socialist journal that analyses and intervenes in class struggles in the workplace. I contribute an article on the fundamental problem of Silicon Valley’s startup culture from the perspective of property rights, especially how all workers in startups, whether earning high or low wages, are systematically exploited. I also make the material and ethical case why the institutional structure of startup companies are a prime cause of diverse social ills, especially extreme income inequality.

Silicon Valley startups: being evil, again and again

Venture capital is like Sauron’s Great Eye: continually searching for the next group of talented workers to own, exploit and corrupt.

The issue, Technology and the Worker, has many interesting contributions, although I’m sceptical that more militant unionisation will be a successful strategy to organise and unite the working class. The historical data suggests otherwise. Why will it be different this time?

I suggest, near the close of my article, that we also need other strategies to expand the socialist, and contract the capitalist, sectors of the economy. We need to build institutions we want, rather than intensifying militancy in institutions we don’t want. This is why I’m much more interested in say, Venture Communism, than organising workers in already existing capitalist firms. The latter is necessary, as a reactive defence, but as a political strategy it’s insufficient, and very much like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.


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