Yesterday Newsweek published a provocative article by Rob Cox, called “The Ruthless Overlords of Silicon Valley.” It is about the entrepreneurs that created companies, and did share the spoils generously with employees to create more millionaires than anybody in history.
Behind the hoodies and flip-flops lurk businesspeople as rapacious as the black-suited and top-hatted industrialists of the late-19th century. Like their predecessors in railroads, steel, banking, and oil a century ago, Silicon Valley’s new entrepreneurs are harnessing technology to make the world more efficient. But along the way, that process is bringing great economic and labor dislocation, as well as an unequal share of the spoils.
Rob Cox builds his argument around the deconstruction of Silicon Valley’s moralism, as embodied by Google’s “Don’t be evil” motto, and compare them to the Tycoons of the late 19th century. He fails to recognize, that the Tycoons earned their spoils through opposition to workplace safety, poverty-level salaries and corruption. Larry page may be a demanding boss, but Google isn’t asking its employees to risk their lives and are Facebook employees living in rat-infested houses?
On the contrary the employees in these companies are the best paid workers in their field on the planet, and these companies share more ownership in their companies than anywhere else. Coming from (a slightly more socialistic) Europe, employee equity is close to non existent, and they way every company in Silicon Valley share equity with their employees is positively shocking to any left-wing european I talk to.
Cox, has no knowledge or distinction of apples and oranges, he compares (“old” hardware companies such as) Apple with the new bread of Internet companies, thus allowing him to introduce the various abuses perpetrated by Chinese manufacturer Foxconn. Apple may be as hip as today’s Internet startups, but they are not even in the same breed (no bashing please, I am a big fan of Apple’s products).
It’s an attempt of guilt by association, and an terribly bad one at that.
Read the article, be appaled and Tweet your appellation to the world!
Thanks Dan Primack, for pointing me to this!