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

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“Animated timeline shows how Silicon Valley became a $2.8 trillion neighborhood”. Retired from Youtube.


Located in northern California, Silicon Valley is arguably the world’s high-tech innovation and development center. The region is home to the majority of high-tech technology companies. Some of the biggest technology firms in the world call it home, including Fortune 500 firms like Google, Apple, and Facebook. Silicon Valley was the first place to research and produce silicon-based semiconductor chips, hence the name. However, Silicon Valley did not use to be like this. Learn more about its historical development in this video (Tech Insider, 2017). Silicon Valley also relied on its proximity to some of the world’s leading universities, such as Stanford University and San Jose State University (McLaughlin, 2013), to establish research power. Silicon Valley is now synonymous with innovation, collaboration, competition, and enthusiasm, and its culture of innovation, collaboration, competition, and confidence is influencing the entire business community.

Unicorns & Black Swans

unicorn is a fictional creature that, in business terms, is a technology company worth $1 billion (IBERDROLA, n.d.). A black swan is an animal, but in the world of high-tech entrepreneurship, a black swan is an unpredictable, tiny probability event that has a huge impact (Start-Up, n.d.). So in Silicon Valley, unicorns are companies that have achieved great success, including China’s Byte Jump, the US Airbnb companies, and other large companies. Black swans are positive events, such as Google and Apple, two startups whose success is unpredictable, or adverse events, such as the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. Silicon Valley, on the other hand, is a place where many unicorns and black swans are clustered.



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The political concept of freedom

Silicon Valley embraces a liberal political philosophy. It is a liberal political philosophy that has led to more innovation at the heart of the technology giants and is an essential key to Silicon Valley’s growth. Silicon Valley’s liberal political philosophy, coupled with the US government’s deeply held concept of “liberal democracy,” has led to the technology industry becoming increasingly integrated into politics and central to political campaigns. The most crucial aspect of Silicon Valley’s role as a hub for technology companies is government regulation. With a range of security concerns arising from the rapid growth of the tech industry, and the masses calling for control over the power of Silicon Valley as tech companies become increasingly uncontrollable, the new corporate behemoths, previously seen as the bright new incarnation of American innovation, are increasingly portrayed as the new centers of unaccountable power. This shift could have significant implications for the industry and US politics. (Ferenstein, 2017) Large corporations have chosen to antagonize the government to guard their monopolies, using technology lobbying to lobby the government. For example, lobbying to curb government surveillance has shown a mixed record of success. For instance, unicorns like Amazon, Facebook, and Google lobbied the government on bills like the Federal Information Security Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments of 2013, which would have prevented them from disclosing consumer information to the government without a warrant (Popiel, 2018). Tech companies are showing increasing activism in the political direction, and this tech government is a threat to the country’s security, which has to implement a series of measures to pressure companies, preferably to achieve a harmonious, mutually helpful relationship. Silicon Valley’s liberal political philosophy may lead to more significant gaps in data privacy, limited government regulation, and government “control” by technology companies. However, it is also because of this concept of freedom that the black swans and unicorns of Silicon Valley have more room to grow.


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The social concept of inequality

The societal concept of inequality is practiced in Silicon Valley. When it comes to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in businesses, business, and human resource professionals may find technology to be one of their most effective tools (Benjamin, 2021). Nevertheless, Silicon Valley, a global center of excellence for technological innovation, has demonstrated social problems of inequity and discrimination. Many black swan events have occurred, such as the alleged caste-based bias against Indians in Silicon Valley. It is not uncommon to find all-Indian teams within many tech companies that find Dalits may be discriminated against based on caste, which limits their opportunities. Dalits in India as a group have suffered prejudice in Silicon Valley. Maya, a Dalit working in Silicon Valley, will work under an alias because she fears that her name and caste identity will jeopardize her job and prospects (Gillbert, 2020). The social problems in Silicon Valley are not just racial but also age and gender discrimination. The poor demographics of Silicon Valley’s workforce, which is still predominately white and male, are reflected in diversity reports. (Cook, 2019), with only a small female population working in the tech industry, not only because women are not as dominant as men in terms of creativity, innovation, and maths, but also because it is the culture of the industry and the unfair and unhealthy environment created by tech companies that make women leave the industry. In this lack of diversity in the technology environment and this homogenization, the products that are invented are biased, not only in terms of how they feel to use but also in terms of algorithmic bias, which demonstrates the importance of diversity. There is compelling evidence that more industry variety can boost profitability in addition to addressing the technology sector’s functional shortcomings. According to the former Google engineer, women’s technical expertise is a welcome addition to technology (Cook, 2019). To add to the horror of this unequal social philosophy in Silicon Valley, the culture of discrimination is spreading to other industries.


The idea of regional economic differentiation

Silicon Valley realizes the idea of regional economic differentiation. Silicon Valley generates much wealth each year as the world’s technological center. The US economy did not recover as a result of a boom in conventional industrial production. Conversely, fearless businessmen like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg founded new start-ups, now referred to as unicorns, like Apple Product, Microsoft, and Facebook. (Audretsch, 2019). In 2019, according to the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis, the valley’s output was $275 billion, even as Silicon Valley’s GDP per capita in 2017 was on par with China casino peninsula of Macau, an affluent region like China, at $115,367. GDP does not tell you how communities are growing,” Added Daly. “If the economy is expanding unfairly and unsustainable, it can even be a bad thing. That topic is not even remotely addressed by GDP (Pulkkinen, 2019). The social philosophy of Silicon Valley is implicated in the economic aspect, and racism is reflected in the Silicon Valley economy to the fullest. Although Silicon Valley has a high per capita GDP, it is also divided into people, and the ability to make money creates differences because of different ethnic backgrounds. The average income of Latino residents is 70% lower than that of white residents. From 2010 to 2012, the per capita income of white and Asian residents increased, while the per capita income of African-American and Latino residents held a downward trend (Hepler, 2014), which undoubtedly widened economic disparities and led to wealth imbalance. The underclass is trapped, and regional economic disparities in Silicon Valley are a problem to be solved. The goal of shared wealth can lead to a better future for Silicon Valley and better sustainability.


Silicon Valley is home to many unicorns and black swans, and its political, social, and economic ideas have brought many benefits to the region. They have even been an important factor in bringing development to governments and the world. Nevertheless, at the same time, these ideas have contained elements of harm, resulting in a Silicon Valley culture that is not all good and not all suitable for development and dissemination. Ultimately, Silicon Valley unicorns must work together to confront these bad cultures and behaviors, resist harmful black swans, and spread good regional and industry culture.


Reference list:

Audretsch, D. B. (2019). Have we oversold the Silicon Valley model of entrepreneurship? Small Business Economics56(2), 849–856.

 Benjamin, N. (2021, June 28). How Technology Supports Workplace Diversity, Equity And Inclusion. Forbes。

 Cook, K. (2019). Culture & Environment. In (1st ed.), The Psychology of Silicon Valley Ethical Threats and Emotional Unintelligence in the Tech Industry. Springer International Publishing.

Ferenstein, G. (2017, October 4). A deeper look at Silicon Valley’s long-term politics. The Brookings Institution.

Gillbert, D. (2020, August 6). Silicon Valley Has a Caste Discrimination Problem. VICE.

Hepler, L. (2014, February 4). Five ways Silicon Valley can blow it, regardless of bubble angst. The business journal.

IBERDROLA. (n.d.). Do startups dream of unicorns?

McLaughlin, E. (2013). Silicon Valley. Techtarget.

Popiel, P. (2018). The Tech Lobby: Tracing the Contours of New Media Elite Lobbying Power. Communication, Culture & Critique11(4), 566–585.

Pulkkinen, L. (2019, May 1). If Silicon Valley were a country, it would be among the richest on Earth. The Guardian.

Start-Up. (n.d.). The Black Swan and Start-ups.

Tech Insider. (2017, June 6). Animated timeline shows how Silicon Valley became a $2.8 trillion neighborhood. [Video]. Youtube.