Silicon Valley, the world’s leading capitalist

Silicon Valley, the world’s leading capitalist


Silicon Valley has arguably been one of the greatest contributions to modern society. Inspired by many events in the 20th century, the Bay Area became home to the leading innovative minds. Silicon Valley is known for many black swans and unicorns, black swans including the rise of the internet and technology, and unicorns including Google and Apple. Silicon Valley has also aided the transformation of the internet since it’s development, although it is interesting to explore the leading political, social and economic ideas behind this ideology. More specifically, which ones have transformed alongside the world, and which ones are historically persistent.


The political shaping of Silicon Valley is interesting to place. Many academics argue that Silicon Valley lacks realism – that is, Silicon Valley is more than a marketplace, but also a showman’s job. The field requires more people who can identify ‘what is fake’ (Shah, 2019) as although there is much brilliance in Silicon Valley, salesmanship is a prevalent factor. There are many people who are very good at making fake things look real. For example, Silicon Valley, at its root, is a computer industry. It’s impact on mobile technology is revolutionary, with development of smartphones and apps, much of which you can build your own business around, but at its core is still computers. However, in the culture of the software industry, it has long been considered acceptable to commercialise software that is not ready to go to market (2019) – such as beta tests. A ‘fake it till you make it’ (2019) situation. The question of whether this is ethical or politically correct is a constant debate among professionals (2019). It is interesting to consider that one of the original efforts behind Silicon Valley was to escape politics. Because although it has contributed significantly to the transformation of our society from the industrial age to the information age, and achieved global prominence in its success, it still harbours political and ethical issues, all of which it was supposed to escape from. A political value held by Silicon Valley is a radical optimism in the future. Tech leaders are opportunistically liberal (Ferenstein, 2017) and optimise any policies that lead to more money and power. A survey by Broockman et al. (2017) depicted that while there was concern for reducing “the gap between the rich and poor” entrepreneurs are more concerned about raising general lying standards rather than parity (Ferenstein, 2017). Eight percent of the survey said they would choose policies for economic growth over policies that ensured economic equality. Silicon Valley views technology as a method of bringing economic groups closer. Furthermore, advancements in agriculture, medicine and transportation ensure the productivity of a society, an ideal at the very core of what Silicon Valley values. Therefore the political ideas shaping Silicon Valley are concerned with radical capitalism, which, regardless of morality or correctness, have transformed the technological field from industrial to innovative, which have, in turn, transformed today’s society.



Social prospects are ironically in debate. More than a geographical paradigm, Silicon Valley represents core ideologies about society, including progress and knowledge (Fejerskov, 2022). Curiously, questions about the ‘progress’ idea are often questioned. In fact, academics argue that Silicon Valley still has roots in colonisation. The Californian ideology from the theory created during the post-colonial movement after World War II (WWII) (Lusoli & Turner, 2020) being spread around the world in places such as Africa, China and Asia can be compared to similar historical events of colonisation. Silicon Valley is an active colonisation led by a set of Californian ideologies (2020) working to extend across the world. Such evidence does question the so-called ‘progressive’ nature of Silicon Valley, when apparently, still has roots in destructive practices from the past. Another social idea which fuels the Silicon Valley is this pro-communal lifestyle which sparks debate about the lack of diversity, or the push against diversity. The 60s in the USA pushed for ideals of collaboration and advancement as the gateway for a better future (Lusoli & Turner, 2020) inspired by the ending of WWII. However academics have highlighted how this can have a very harmful effect on minorities today. The laboratories of WWII were mostly full of culturally similar people – well trained and educated, male, white, and either middle or upper-middle class. There was the goal of creating a shared consciousness and organising around a shared culture, rather than bureaucratic notions. However, it is evident that organising around shared cultures often includes those with culture and excludes those without (2020). Silicon Valley is ironic because the models of prejudice that were meant to be destroyed are once again being formed (2020). It becomes a counterculture in itself. An example of this is the emerging “bro-culture”, which includes workers ‘landing’ in the Bay Area with an image that it is only built for them, and as a consequence pushes others away (Lusoli & Turner, 2020). This idea further links back to the historically damaging colonisation. Silicon Valley is therefore creating its own counterculture by creating false claims of diversity, and supporting empty ideas of progression, which underlines that the social ideas behind Silicon Valley have not really transformed historically.



Silicon Valley is arguably driven by its desire for economic power. Academics have specified Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as a fictional testament of how “curiosity for breaking the boundaries of knowledge is an inescapable human condition” (Fejerskov, 2022). Transformative ideas have increasingly become a dominant value in Silicon Valley and shape our societies today (2022). What made this possible was that the area became home to many high profile ventures and ‘unicorns’ that have made the region an attractive target for venture capital (Segal, 2022) and made the area extremely rich. As such, became the world’s leading hub for technology (Athanasia, 2022). It is the ‘birthplace’ of the information technology revolution (Saxenian, 2014) and remains a model leading economic development. This model of high-risk, high-reward investment only grew in importance and really shapes the economic structure of Silicon Valley. The region’s great strengths are “embedded in its economic culture: an openness to new ideas, taking risks and learning from mistakes” (CHM, 2022). However, the economic value of taking risks did not always end well. In fact, a black swan example of taking risks and experiencing severe consequences includes the dotcom bubble of 2001. in which America was experiencing rapid economic growth before the economy collapsed. The internet was at its infancy in terms of use, and various funds were investing in companies with inflated values and no market traction. (The Investopedia, 2022). As the digital market was fairly new, it was impossible to predict such a crisis and thus, the economy took significant damage. Another economic value at the heart of the Silicon Valley is the idea of being one’s own boss and the movement to flexibility. Detailed by the idea of leaving the 9-5 industrial job, for the pursuit of a non-alienated existence in which one can design their own career. (Lusoli & Turner, 2020). ‘Unicorns’ such as Apple and Google are examples of this: individuals utilising the economic principles of Silicon Valley to ‘take risks’ on new ideas, and became extremely successful. The flexibility of capital and labour give Silicon Valley its global character – the rapid developments and the restructuring of capitalism (Castells, 1996) brought forth new economies that positioned Silicon Valley is a powerful international player. Silicon Valley is supported by several economic values, predominantly the transformative notions of taking risks, but also becoming one’s own boss and having flexibility.


In conclusion, Silicon Valley is arguably a leading party in today’s global economy. It has aided the transformation of today’s society, leaving behind a more industrial course of action to a more innovative method. After analysis, it is evident that there are several political, social and economic ideas behind Silicon Valley, all of which shape the transformation of the internet. Moreover, it is interesting th debate which of these ideals aided the transformation, and perhaps which of these did not.



reference list