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


The industrialization has changed the face of the globe as it started after the Cold war in the second half of the century. The cold war had political, economic, and social repercussions that required the US to build its economy to have political and economic hegemony around the world. It is discussed that Silicon Valley has served the purpose of the US to get economic and political leaders around the world.  The outcome of that need for economic growth results in the high technology and innovation center. Silicon Valley is the situation in Northern California (Guzman & Stern, 2015). Currently, Silicon Valley is the home of the world’s largest high-tech corporations, including the headquarters of different businesses from the Fortune 1000. Silicon Valley was the outcome of the serial contributing factors, including skills science, venture capital, universities, and Stanford university leadership. The government has a great influence on Silicon Valley as specific policies have been made for the valley to serve the technology and innovation startups in the region (Steiber & Alänge, 2016). The phrase is used in Silicon Valley both for the unicorn and black swans. Unicorn is the term coined for startups that have a value of over $1 billion. Some of the popular unicorns are Robin hood, SpaceX, Instacart, and others that are operating in the valley and having an influence on the US and other economies around the world. The black swans are the companies that hit a home run after some time, as it was not expected at the start. For example, Twitter is considered a black swan in Silicon Valley (Georgiev, 2021). Considering the prospect and potential of Silicon Valley, it has a broader scope and influence on and from different factors in its culture. Thus, the essay discusses the political, economic, and social ideas to shape the culture of Silicon Valley today that have an impact on the valley and its stakeholders.

Political Ideas and Culture

Silicon Valley is not just an outcome of the efforts of unicorns and black swans, but the government has made efforts to shape it. The political parties have presented theory manifestos about the technological boom in the country to lead the world, and they have been setting the policies. During WWII, researchers and engineers from diverse backgrounds came to research in universities and industries (Alloa et al., 2019). The government of US came up with the military research projects of the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) (Lécuyer, 2006). The experience of the NDRC was good for the country, and the US government wanted to be inclined towards science in the US in the postwar period. The government took the vital interns to create social knowledge as it supported basic science through funding and allowing the entrepreneurs to take part in the scientific innovation in Silicon Valley. With time, the firms at Silicon Valley got strong, and the idea of the government to let the valley proposer itself shape the valley’s culture and made it more liberal (Wardley & Moschella, 2016). According to scholars and experts, the emergence of the back swans is the outcome of the liberalism allowed in the valley, as the government does not have stringent controls but rather provides support in the form of tax breaks. Additionally, the political acumen to allow Silicon Valley to be part of foreign policy has made it more liberal as valley assists the government because technology has been among the major export industries in the US in the last two decades. The brand innovation culture inside Silicon Valley is different from other parts of the US because political parties allow innovation and creativity to prosper by providing support and letting them stay liberal rather than strangling into politics. The ideas like Airbnb, Uber, Palantir, etc., are the consequence of the liberal culture as the entrepreneurs are allowed to do innovation whether they are unicorns or black swans (Jan 2017).

Economic Ideas and Culture

The economic idea of having growth depends on technology, and globalization is one of the economic ideas that has shaped Silicon Valley. Other than that, the free market economy and liberal approach in the political economy have shaped Silicon Valley to invite unicorns. The black swans are not created every day, as there are some examples, but there are unicorns around the world who want to be part of the great global economy, and Silicon Valley allows them to be part of the system through its free economic growth. It drives the culture of automation and innovation within Silicon Valley because the capitalist economy requires free competition, and a lesser barrier is in the economic environment (Scott and Kirst, 2017). Although, there is criticism of the free economic activity in Silicon Valley because the opponents have termed it as an hourglass economy (McElhinny, 2012). The economic conditions are termed to be hourglass, where the socioeconomic phenomenon favors the disproportionate growth of the upper and lower classes with the weak development of the middle class. The opponents of capitalism in Silicon Valley argue that the macroeconomic factors are not favorable in Silicon Valley in terms of employment and proportionate society because the economic policies have shaped the culture in the valley to be more capitalist, where the organizations decide their economic policies on the basis of their strengths, weaknesses, and needs. The argument over the hourglass economy is acceptable to some extent, but the economic growth policy has shaped the culture to be self-sufficient (Glückler et al., 2020). Silicon Valley did not have much impact from the housing problems and innovation because the Unicorns and Black Swans are allowed to do innovations and creations on the basis of their capabilities. It is accepted by some of the stakeholders of Silicon Valley that the companies want to make a decision that is favorable for their bottom lines, and the free economic growth mechanism has shaped their culture to behave liberal political economy.

Social ideas and culture

The social ideas of technology have shaped the culture of Silicon Valley as well. It has been discussed multiple times that Silicon Valley is the house of technology, and society is also changing into more technology savvy (Duff, 2016). Not only the US society but the global society is more technology than anyone. In addition to that, technological advancement and Artificial intelligence (AI) have been induced into societies where the societies have the idea of capitalism, where they get upskilled and equip themselves with the technology. It further drove Silicon Valley to have a culture for inviting talent that can add value to the valley, and it further has an impact on society as well. On the other hand, the opponents have discussed that the Unicorns and Black Swans do not care about macroeconomic factors like housing, inflation, and other social aspects, so the deprivation and classes in the society have also shaped the culture of Silicon Valley to be more money-oriented where the human welfare is not on the priority list, but it needs to deal with the money (Wajcman, 2019).


It is concluded that Silicon Valley is the major turnaround for the US and the global economy as it has infused technology into the systems. However, there is some opposition to the culture of Silicon Valley being liberal and more inclined towards capitalism, but on the broader level, it has added hegemony to the US economy in the global context by providing the economy with a strong market to make policies.


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