Silicon Valley is known for both unicorns and blackswans. What political, social and economic ideas shape the culture of Silicon Valley today? 

ARIN2610 Week 7 Group activity

ARIN2610 Week 7 Group activity

Group members names:

Jiaqi Yang, Yichen Liu, Wei Fan, Yangxin Li, Sarah Gerun

Title: Silicon Valley is known for both unicorns and blackswans. What political, social and economic ideas shape the culture of Silicon Valley today?

Economic Idea:

Most of all, however, Silicon Valley appears to stand for an economic framework which encourages the creation of small start-up enterprises, beginning with various forms of venture capital and often in search of elusive ‘unicorn’ status (valuation of at least $1 billion upon public flotation). This seems something more extensive and ambitious than the entrepreneurialism identified by Castells and Hall (1994, p. 22). The collocation of Silicon Valley with terms such as start-up and entrepreneur are strong throughout the news corpus, and those authors analysing the replication of Silicon Valley invariably mention the importance of start-ups. According to one headline (‘Quelles sont ces start-up qui font de Lagos la Silicon Valley de l’Afrique?’ – Gonzalez, 2016), it is the prevalence of start-ups alone that may transform a place such as Lagos, Nigeria into a Silicon Valley



Nowhere in the corpus do we find politicians evoking Silicon Valley as anything other than a symbol of a desirable future for their local region. As a tool of political rhetoric, therefore, the advantages of deploying the Silicon Valley metaphor in a globalized setting are tangible. These figures of speech are not ‘mere adornments’ in language use (Shapiro, 1985, p. 195). Silicon Valley’s heterotopic function as a model of success offers politicians the chance to evoke aspirations electors can long for and that only the former can facilitate. Yet paradoxically, the gap between Silicon Valley and its international counterparts is suggestive of the Valley’s inimitability, its radical otherness as a heterotopia, potentially absolving politicians from ever having to deliver on their promises. Thus, the metaphor of Silicon Valley is not merely an instrument of casual journalistic tokenism, nor is it merely a PR soundbite. Rather, it is also a weapon of political rhetoric that evokes, and has the pretension of enacting, desires whose similarities seem proof of their collective role in a globalized world.



France’s internalization of Silicon Valley’s dynamics stand out in current affairs. The values that the Valley stands for metaphorically find an echo in a series of wider legislative acts since 2014: the Loi Macron (2015), the Loi El Khomri (2016) and the Loi Pénicaud (2018), laws favouring the deregulation of work, the promotion of entrepreneurship, the lessening of social protections and the creation of new opportunities. Some have even begun to refer to France as a start-up nation, and Emmanuel Macron’s own political party ‘La République en marche’ has been conceived of as a political translation of the logic of the start-up (Quijoux & Saint-Martin, 2020). Although many forces in France still resist it, this spirit of Silicon Valley, the heterotopic instantiation of the Silicon Valley metaphor in a French context, seems to have become tangible throughout Macron’s presidency.


GameStop event:

GameStop is one of the world’s largest physical game retailers. However, under the impact of the Internet, its operation encountered a bottleneck. From the second quarter of 2018, its net profit turned from positive to negative. In addition, the outbreak of the epidemic in 2020 made its operation worse, and the first three quarters continued to lose money. GameStop’s lagging business model and weak results attracted a large number of institutional short bets that GameStop’s stock would continue to fall, with short bets at one point exceeding 140 percent of its stock price.


Covid 19:

It is a global epidemic, lasting for three years or more. Covid 19 affects the whole world, no matter from any aspect: politics, economy, society, science and so on.


911 event in America:

On the morning of September 11, 2001, as Americans prepared to go to work, terrorists hijacked four planes and crashed them into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. Many people are probably only concerned with the actual economic and human cost of that event. Yeah, hundreds of millions in property damage, 3,000 people killed. In the long run, however, the US economy will not return to its former prosperity.



Reference List:

Anupam Chugh. (2021). GameStop Is the Black Swan of Wall Street. Medium.

Henry, J. and Brian, B. (2022). A contemporary history of Silicon Valley as global heterotopia:        Silicon Valley metaphors in the French news media. Taylor & Francis Online. Volume 19, P1122-1136.