Silicon Valley’s unique culture stems from an open, liberal and egalitarian political, social and economic philosophy

Silicon Valley from above

Introduction of Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley, located just south of the San Francisco Bay Area in the northern California metropolitan area, is an alias for the high-tech Santa Clara Valley. It was initially known for its research and production of silicon-based semiconductor chips. And gradually, the words unicorn and black swan came to the forefront and become well-known (Unicorns are defined as technology start-ups that are less than 10 years in existence but valued at $1 billion or more and are not listed on the stock market. A very unpredictable and unusual event is the referred to as a Black Swan.) Today, Silicon Valley is the world centre for high-tech innovation and development. It has the largest number of start-ups in the world and continues to attract countless high-tech start-ups that want to stand out. Silicon Valley is host to approximately 14,000 to 19,000 start-ups. It has launched more unicorns than anywhere else in the United States. On top of that, high-tech companies in Silicon Valley are worth more than $3 trillion, hold over a third of U.S. companies’ cash reserves, and have profits totalling more than $1 billion (2014). (Ester, 2018, p. 1). Silicon Valley’s distinct and innovative culture stems from a political, social and economic philosophy of openness, freedom and equality.

Industrial policies directly drive Silicon Valley’s prosperity

Policy, an important reference for economic development, especially in the industrial economy, the direction and direction of policy has an important value and impact on the industrial economy. Although the United States is considered a laissez-faire economic system of industrial policy, it plays an important role in the stable development of the market. The 20th century achieved the development of a highly productive innovation model, the core of which is the co-operation among the state and the market.

The state provides support for the research component, while the market assumes responsibility for the applied research and development needed to translate research results into new merchandise and services (Quiggin & Potts, 2008, p. 144). According to the report “Federally Supported Innovation,”government support has played a fundamental and foundational role in the development of Silicon Valley. A Congressional Technology Assessment Office report states that the county with the highest amount of defence contracts per capita in the United States is Santa Clara County (Atkinson, 2012). In spite of direct support for the economy, the government has also put forward policy proposals for equality in other social issues(Estruth, 2019, p. 779).

The state has a responsibility to protect rights and pursue corporate responsibility, but also to ensure that market rules are conducive to prosperity and innovation (Mansell & Steinmueller, 2020b, p. 47). However, Richard and Andy (1996) argue the opposite. They argue that  government has a limited role and that it has its own problems, so it doesn’t get to the root of the problem. In short, Silicon Valley not only has a strong individual spirit of innovation and competition, but they also value teamwork. In a time of rapid high-tech development, it is necessary to rely on collaboration, cooperation and group strength.

Examples of policies

1:Back in the 1950s, the massive demand for efficient integrated circuits and computer capabilities by the Department of Defence in the context of the Cold War and the space race played an important role in funding companies such as Intel (Atkinson, 2012).

2:1970-1990, Development of a market policy of gender equality By encouraging the right of women to compete on an equal footing with men in the marketplace in fact, as women responded to female sovereignty in the corporate marketplace allowed for greater emancipation of women in power. Today, it is replaced by continuous competition in a variety of industries and at different scales (Estruth, 2019, p. 779).

3:As the most developed venture capital sector in the world, the U.S. government has initiated policy approaches to finance venture capital gaps. For instance,  the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 , and the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986 promoted the commercialization of technologies at an early stage. At the same time, the U.S. government promotes the venture capital industry and entrepreneurs to promote innovation through lower taxes (Notes on the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, 2009).

A liberal and individualistic society                                                     

As an open-minded immigrant culture, Silicon Valley is a community with many talented people from various countries in the high-tech industry. An annual report from the Joint Venture Silicon Valley shows that Asian immigrants, mainly from India and China, are transforming Silicon Valley’s high-tech industry. According to the report, immigrants make up 69 percent of Silicon Valley’s highly skilled occupational workforce, with China accounting for 14% and India 26% (Randall, 2019). Through the combination of various cultures, a colorful and dynamic immigrant culture has been formed. ‘‘A New Utopia: A Political History of the Silicon Valley,” proposes that social movements shaped the rise of the high-tech industry in the second half of the twentieth century. It prompted the intersection of technology companies, urban governance, and the economy, critically examining the role of high technology in the transformation of American life. It shows that the ideology of this economy depends not only on the development of high-tech firms, but also on the state of belonging and working in American society.

Examples of cooperation and inclusion in society

1:Naomi Kokubo of Founders Space claims that Silicon Valley is like a magnet, people come from all over. We work with governments, universities, technology centres and other organizations in other countries with different ideas (Ester, 2018, p. 61).

2:The co-founder and partner of BootUP(Menlo Park), Marco Ten Vaanholt, pointed out that they launched BootUP to create an ecosystem around entrepreneurship. He is convinced that entrepreneurship transcends race, religion, and colour and is the singular way to avoid war and create wealth (Ester, 2018, p. 61).

3:The following video introduce Isaacson’s new book, and and discusses how their collaboration is revolutionizing the way the world communicates. Vint proposed that both technological developments and policy developments provide the basis for an innovative path of network development. Apart from that, they talked about that sometimes life is a collaborative process and that co-creation is achieved through resource sharing.

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution Walter Isaacson and two pioneers of the Internet, Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn, discuss Isaacson’s new book, and how their collaboration changed the way the world communicates. Talks at Google, Nov. 6, 2014.

An effective economic development model

Silicon Valley is more than just the birthplace of the information technology innovation, it is also the world’s leading model for information economy development. In addition, the entrepreneurial ecosystem it created has gradually spread throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and is being leveraged for emerging businesses (Castells & Himanen, 2014, p. 28). The online information economy as one of the products of Internet development gives a freer and broader platform for public debate. It offers the possibility of a more critical as well as reflective culture and brings about greater freedom and global equity (Benkler, 2006, p. 131). An effective economic development model is one of the foundations of the rapid development of Silicon Valley’s industries. Collaboration between scientists and entrepreneurs in the high-tech industry, which is a feature of Silicon Valley, brings new ideas to market development. The networking between entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, researchers and other members of the industry chain allows ideas to be transformed and implemented into commercial innovations (Wonglimpiyarat, 2006, p. 1083). This means that a liberal and efficient economic development model provides a solid and effective foundation for public and emerging business development.


Data from the survey shows that Silicon Valley’s electronics and computer industries are among the most developed in the world and have established a unique and liberal culture, but its rapid growth depends not only on technological excellence, but also on a competitive, innovative and inclusive political, social and economic environment. At this stage of Black Swan events, Silicon Valley is constantly facing the impact of ‘Silicon Valley’ in other regions. Therefore, active and effective policies, social and economic for the development of Silicon Valley is very necessary. We need to adapt them as the social situation changes.


Atkinson, R. D. (2012, March 15). How the government built Silicon Valley. The Globalist.

Benkler, Y. (2006). The wealth of networks: How social production transforms markets and freedom. Yale University Press.

Castells, M., & Himanen, P. (2014). Reconceptualizing development in the global information age (pp. 28–51). OUP Oxford.

Ester, P. (2018). Accelerators in Silicon Valley. Amsterdam University Press.

Estruth, J. A. (2019). A New Utopia: A Political History of the Silicon Valley, 1945 to 1995. Enterprise & Society, 20(4), 777–785.

Quiggin, J., & Potts, J. (2008). Economics of non-market innovation and digital literacy. Media International Australia, 128(1), 144–150.×0812800118

Mansell, R., & Steinmueller, W. E. (2020b). Advanced introduction to platform economics (pp. 35–54). Edward Elgar Publishing.

Notes on the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980. (2009, September 2). Knowledge Ecology International.


Randall. (2019, April 7). Asian immigrants transforming Silicon Valley – AsAmNews. AsAmNews.


Wonglimpiyarat, J. (2006). The dynamic economic engine at Silicon Valley and US Government programmes in financing innovations. Technovation, 26(9), 1081–1089.