Another Captain Obvious or Fanciful Thinking: Silicon Valley and the US Government in Conflict?

September 13, 2017

I read “There’s Blood In The Water In Silicon Valley.” The main idea is that Sillycon Valley is too big for its Air birds. The US government, riding its white horse and wearing its shining armor, will ride to the rescue of the citizens, nay, the country.

The write up tells me in “real news” tones:

The new corporate leviathans that used to be seen as bright new avatars of American innovation are increasingly portrayed as sinister new centers of unaccountable power, a transformation likely to have major consequences for the industry and for American politics.

There you go. “Leviathans.” “Sinister.” “Unaccountable.” “Power.”

Objective, dispassionate, the real world exposed.

The bad guys are Amazon, Facebook, Google, and any other Sillycon Valley outfits doing what companies do.

From my vantage point in the high-tech center of the mid South, I am not sure I see these outfits as doing anything different from what other big outfits do; for example:

  • Big pharma and its pricing tactics
  • GM and its auto engineering methods
  • Too-big-to-fail banks doing their fancy dancing.

Need I go on.

The business set up in the US is not going to be changed quickly or significantly in my opinion. There are some reasons I hold this view, no matter what “real journalism” outfits asserts. Here are some of my factoids:

  1. The US government bureaucracy does not move quickly. Certain changes in bureaucratic behavior are slowed because of the revolving door between US government and industry, government workers interest in advancing their careers via lateral arabesques and the quest for grabbing the brass ring of the SES (senior executive service)
  2. Lobbyists and influencers have an old-fashioned tin-can-and-string communication method between those who pay the lobbyists and those who make the laws and, to some extent, influence how they are interpreted in US government entities
  3. Political considerations command the attention of those within and outside the US government. There are jobs at stake, and having Amazon shut down one of its nerve centers to move to more favorable climes is a bit of a concern in many circles.

And there are other factors ranging from those who own stock in the evil Sillycon Valley companies to the desire to get one’s kid a job at an outfit like Facebook or Google.

My thought is that outfits like Equifax may warrant more attention than the Sillycon Valley bros. But “real news” outfits set the agenda, right? Maybe. Sillycon Valley is one facet of the “business as usual” methods employed through many standard industrial code sectors.

Here’s a thought? Why not suggest that outfits like Equifax are regulated by a government agency. The Amazons, Facebooks, and Googles have lots of oversight compared to the controls placed on the US credit bureaus.

Why not ride on over to Equifax and sparkle in the sun?

Stephen E Arnold, September 13, 2017


One Response to “Another Captain Obvious or Fanciful Thinking: Silicon Valley and the US Government in Conflict?”

  1. Frank on September 13th, 2017 10:51 pm

    Consider the speakers here: journalists. They see Google, FB as an existential threat AND they’re pissed that all those “tech bros” are makin’ bank while journalists (I agree unfairly) make very little money in comparison.

    Related: look at the response to Google Reader’s turndown. Dunno how many actual users the service had, but I’ll bet ya anything that a huge percentage of them were journalists and bloggers. And then consider the outrage…

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