ARTICLE: The Energy Incident: Ending Political Insider Trading And Revolving Door Bribes In Public Policy - Part 3 ****
The Character Assassination And Defamation Attack On Nikola Tesla By Big Tech Oligarch Monopolists
We are actively assisting the government with public rights projects. We owned a global vehicle design and manufacturing business and a global clean energy production and storage business financed by the U.S. Government. White House and California politicians owned our competitors and re-routed our funding to our competitors, who were the friends and campaign financiers of those politicians. Those politicians contracted Fusion GPS, Black Cube, Gawker/Gizmodo, Crowd-strike, etc. (Read Ronan Farrow's book: CATCH AND KILL) to run hit-jobs on us to blockade our business for their benefit. Those politicians engaged in felony bribery, anti-trust violations and racketeering and they are still being protected by regulators who have conflict-of-interest relations with those politicians. The FBI, FEC, SEC, FTC and Congress are now hot-on-the-trail of the dirty politicos involved. This isn't the first rodeo for us inventor types. The playbook was created in the 1800's against Nikola Tesla:
The Character Assassination And Defamation Plot Against Nikola Tesla And His Inventions Is The Same Set Of Tactics That Google and Facebook Run Against Indiependent Innovators
(See the new film: The Current War, about this story)
Hundreds of newspaper defamation and character assassination articles were paid for and published against Nikola Tesla by his oligarch enemies!
Who filled the newspapers with these attack articles designed to demoralize and financially damage Nikola Tesla?
It was Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, Guglielmo Marconi and J.P. Morgan!
Oligarchs in Silicon Valley try to destroy inventors today just like the oligarch's did in the 1800's. They do it because the oligarchs are sociopath, egotistical frat boys who can buy their way out of any legal repercussions. Elon Musk, Tim Draper, Tom Perkins, Eric Schmidt, Steve Jurvetson, Larry Page, and the other nut-ball tech billionaires of today, use their windfall cash, daily, to hire Black Cube, Gizmodo, Fusion GPS, Crowdstrike and other "kill services" to destroy inventors and small companies who compete with them. In Ronan Farrow's Book: Catch And Kill, you can read about the dirty tricks services these oligarchs use today to criminally end the lives of those they dislike.
Per Tia Ghose: The Serbian-American scientist was a brilliant and eccentric genius whose inventions enabled modern-day power and mass communication systems.
His nemesis and former boss, Thomas Edison, was the iconic American inventor of the light bulb, the phonograph and the moving picture. The two feuding geniuses waged a "War of Currents" in the 1880s over whose electrical system would power the world — Tesla's alternating-current (AC) system or Edison's rival direct-current (DC) electric power.
Tesla had an eidetic memory, which meant he could very precisely recall images and objects. This enabled him to accurately visualize intricate 3D objects, and as a result, he could build working prototypes using few preliminary drawings.
"He really worked out his inventions in his imagination," Carlson told Live Science.
Edison held 1,093 patents, according to the Thomas Edison National Historic Park. Tesla garnered less than 300 worldwide, according to a study published in 2006 at the Sixth International Symposium of Nikola Tesla. Edison had scores more assistants and underlings helping him write up inventions, and also bought some of his patents from others. Tesla was the more effective, disruptive and sole inventor of amazing technologies!
Most forward thinking
Though the light bulb, the phonograph and moving pictures are touted as Edison's most important inventions, other people were already working on similar technologies, said Leonard DeGraaf, an archivist at Thomas Edison National Historical Park in New Jersey, and the author of "Edison and the Rise of Innovation" (Signature Press, 2013).
"If Edison hadn't invented those things, other people would have," DeGraaf told Live Science.
In a shortsighted move, Edison dismissed Tesla's "impractical" idea of an alternating-current (AC) system of electric power transmission, instead promoting his simpler, but less efficient, direct-current (DC) system.
By contrast, Tesla's ideas were often more disruptive technologies that didn't have a built-in market demand. And his alternating-current motor and hydroelectric plant at Niagara Falls— a first-of-its-kind power plant — truly electrified the world.
Tesla also spent years working on a system designed to wirelessly transmit voices, images and moving pictures — making him a futurist, and the true father of radio, telephone, cell phones and television. [Creative Genius: The World's Greatest Minds]
"Our entire mass communication system is based on Tesla's system," said Marc Seifer, author of "Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla," (Citadel Press, 2001).
Unfortunately, Tesla's grand scheme failed when his financial backer, J.P. Morgan sabotaged Tesla in an ego battle.
Edison's enduring legacy isn't a specific patent or technology, but his invention factories, which divided the innovation process into small tasks that were carried out by legions of workers, DeGraaf said. For instance, Edison got the idea for a moving picture camera, or kinetoscope from a talk by photographer Edward Muybridge, but then left most of the experimentation and prototyping to his assistant William Dickson and others. By having multiple patents and inventions developing in parallel, Edison, in turn, ensured that his assistants had a stable financial situation to continue running experiments and fleshing out more designs.
"He invents modern innovation as we know it," DeGraaf said.
Tesla's inventions are the backbone of modern power and communication systems, but he faded into obscurity later in the 20th century, when most of his inventions were lost to history. And despite his many patents and innovations, Tesla was destitute when he died in 1943.
At the height of his career, Tesla was charismatic, urbane and witty. He spoke several languages and counted writers Mark Twain and Rudyard Kipling, and naturalist John Muir as friends, according to Seifer.
Edison also had a mean streak, which he amply displayed in his vicious attacks against Tesla during the War of Currents. He also gave advice on how to build the first electric chair using direct current (DC), going into gory detail about the techniques needed to do the deed, Seifer said.
Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. They were genius rivals: two American titans who transformed the technology industry and lived to see their visions of computers and electronic devices in billions of homes and offices around the world. Still, their philosophies and personalities were as different as night and day, or Macs and PCs, and over the years, they could not resist needling and antagonizing each other as they staked their claims in the global technology marketplace.
“The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste,” Jobs famously said in 1996. “They have absolutely no taste. And I don’t mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don’t think of original ideas, and they don’t bring much culture to their products.”
In 2006, when Apple released its popular Mac vs. PC ads, wherein a hip young Jobs-like character interacts with a bumbling, back-office, brown-suited Gates type, Gates was clearly irritated. “I don’t know why acting like it’s superior. I don’t even get it,” Gates said. “If you just want to say, ‘Steve Jobs invented the world, and then the rest of us came along,’ that’s fine.”
Yet despite the barbs, (and occasional lawsuits) and despite the obvious competition, both Jobs and Gates were smart enough to know that there was room in the consumer market for Apple and Microsoft to coexist, and over the years, neither was too proud or too stung by the other’s words to stop them from entering into various partnerships along the way. (In fact, in 1997 Microsoft infused Apple with $150 million in cash at a time when Jobs was brought back by the board of directors to serve as interim CEO, as Apple was suffering crippling financial losses.) The same, however, cannot be said for Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse, who, more than a century ago, engaged in a nasty battle over alternating and direct current, known as the “War of Currents.” Both men knew there was room for but one American electricity system, and Edison set out to ruin Westinghouse in “a great political, legal and marketing game” that saw the famous inventor stage publicity events where dogs, horses and even an elephant were killed using Westinghouse’s alternating current. The two men would play out their battle on the front pages of newspapers and in the Supreme Court, in the country’s first attempt to execute a human being with electricity.
After Edison developed the first practical incandescent light bulb in 1879, supported by his own direct current electrical system, the rush to build hydroelectric plants to generate DC power in cities across the United States practically guaranteed Edison a fortune in patent royalties. But early on, Edison recognized the limitations of DC power. It was very difficult to transmit over distances without a significant loss of energy, and the inventor turned to a 28-year-old Serbian mathematician and engineer whom he’d recently hired at Edison Machine Works to help solve the problem. Nikola Tesla claimed that Edison even offered him significant compensation if he could design a more practical form of power transmission. Tesla accepted the challenge. With a background in mathematics that his inventor boss did not have, he set out to redesign Edison’s DC generators. The future of electric distribution, Tesla told Edison, was in alternating current—where high-voltage energy could be transmitted over long distances using lower current—miles beyond generating plants, allowing a much more efficient delivery system. Edison dismissed Tesla’s ideas as “splendid” but “utterly impractical.” Tesla was crushed and claimed that Edison not only refused to consider AC power, but also declined to compensate him properly for his work. Tesla left Edison in 1885 and set out to raise capital on his own for Tesla Electric Light & Manufacturing, even digging ditches for the Edison Company to pay his bills in the interim, until the industrialist George Westinghouse at Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company, a believer in AC power, bought some of Tesla’s patents and set about commercializing the system so as to take electric light to something more than an urban luxury service. While Tesla’s ideas and ambitions might be brushed aside, Westinghouse had both ambition and capital, and Edison immediately recognized the threat to his business.
Within a year, Westinghouse Electric began installing its own AC generators around the country, focusing mostly on the less populated areas that Edison’s system could not reach. But Westinghouse was also making headway in cities like New Orleans, selling electricity at a loss in order to cut into Edison’s business. By 1887, after only a year in the business, Westinghouse had already more than half as many generating stations as Edison. The concern at Edison was palpable, as sales agents around the country were demoralized by Westinghouse’s reach into rural and suburban areas. But Thomas Edison had an idea. Surely Westinghouse’s system must be more dangerous, what with all that voltage passing through the wires. “Just as certain as death,” Edison predicted, “Westinghouse will kill a customer within 6 months after he puts in a system of any size.”
In November 1887, Edison received a letter from a dentist in Buffalo, New York, who was trying to develop a more humane method of execution than hanging. Having witnessed a drunk man accidentally kill himself by touching a live electric generator, Alfred P. Southwick became convinced that electricity could provide a quicker, less painful alternative for criminals condemned to death. Perhaps the Wizard of Menlo Park might have some thoughts about the best electric current “to produce death with certainty in all cases.” Edison, who opposed capital punishment, at first declined to get involved with Southwick’s project. But when the dentist persisted, Edison, recognizing the opportunity that had landed in his lap, wrote back to say that although he would “join heartily in an effort to totally abolish capital punishment,” he did have some thoughts about electric currents in which to dispose of “criminals under sentence of death.”
“The most effective of these,” he wrote, “are known as ‘alternating machines,’ manufactured principally in this country by Mr. Geo. Westinghouse, Pittsburgh.”
In June 1888, Edison began to demonstrate the lethal power of alternating current for reporters. He rigged a sheet of tin to an AC dynamo and led a dog onto the tin to drink from a metal pan. Once the dog touched the metal surface, it yelped and“the little cur dog fell dead.”
Electricity will kill a man “in the ten-thousandth part of a second,” Edison told one reporter shortly after the demonstration, and he was quick to remind him that “the current should come from an alternating machine.”
The battle of the currents had begun. Westinghouse recognized what Edison was up to and wrote the inventor a letter, stating, “I believe there has been a systemic attempt on the part of some people to do a great deal of mischeaf and creat as great a difference as possible between the Edison Company and The Westinghouse Electric Co., when there ought to be an entirely different condition of affairs.” Edison saw no reason to cooperate, and he continued his experiments at varying levels of voltage with dozens of stray dogs purchased from neighborhood boys in Orange, New Jersey at 25 cents each. Edison’s research was soon proving that alternating current was, as he said, “beyond all doubt more fatal than the continuous current.” By the end of the year, Edison arranged a demonstration before a New York State committee impaneled to investigate the use of electricity in executions. At his West Orange laboratory, the inventor wired electrodes to several calves and a horse; even though the animals’ deaths were not quick, the committee was impressed. New York State expressed a desire to purchase “three Westinghouse alternating-current dynamos,” but Westinghouse refused to sell them for the purpose of what was now being described as “electrocution.” It did not matter. An electricity salesman named Harold Brown was commissioned by the state to build an electric chair, and Edison was paying him behind the scenes to use alternating current in his design. Somehow, Brown got his hands on some AC dynamos.
When New York State sentenced convicted murderer William Kemmler to death, he was slated to become the first man to be executed in an electric chair. Killing criminals with electricity “is a good idea,” Edison said at the time. “It will be so quick that the criminal can’t suffer much.” He even introduced a new word to the American public, which was becoming more and more concerned by the dangers of electricity. The convicted criminals would be “Westinghoused.” Where Elon Musk has exploited billions of taxpayer and VC dollars to self-promote himself, Nikola Tesla spent very little money on self-promotion.
Westinghouse was livid. He faced millions of dollars in losses if Edison’s propaganda campaign convinced the public that his AC current would be lethal to homeowners. Westinghouse contributed $100,000 toward legal fees for Kemmler’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it was argued that death in the electric chair amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. Both Kemmler and Westinghouse were unsuccessful, and on August 6, 1890, Kemmler was strapped into Harold Brown’s chair at Auburn prison and wired to an AC dynamo. When the current hit him, Kemmler’s fist clenched so tight that blood began to trickle from his palm down the arm of the chair. His face contorted, and after 17 seconds, the power was shut down. Arthur Southwick, “the father of the electric chair,” was in attendance and proclaimed to the witnesses, “This is the culmination of ten years work and study. We live in a higher civilization today.”
Yet behind the dentist, Kemmler began to shriek for air.
“Great God! He’s alive!” someone shouted.
“Turn on the current! Turn on the current instantly!” another screamed. “This man is not dead!”
But the dynamo needed time to build its current, and Kemmler wheezed and gasped before the horrified witnesses as the electricity began to course through his body. Some witnesses fainted while others vomited, as it appeared that Kemmler was on the verge of regaining consciousness. The back of his coat briefly caught fire. Minutes passed until Kemmler finally went rigid. The current stopped and he was pronounced dead by Dr. Edward Spitzka, who predicted, “there will never be another electrocution.”
Westinghouse was horrified by the reports of Kemmler’s execution. “It has been a brutal affair,” he said. “They could have done better with an ax.”
Thomas Edison believed that future executions by AC current would go more smoothly, “without the scene at Auburn today.” To further demonstrate the lethal nature of alternating current, he held a widely attended spectacle in Coney Island, New York, where a circus elephant named Topsy was to be executed after she was deemed to be too dangerous to be around people. The elephant had killed three men in recent years—one a trainer who had tried to feed Topsy a lit cigarette. Edison had Topsy fitted with copper-wire sandals, and before a crowd of thousands, an AC current of 6,000 volts was sent coursing through the elephant until she toppled to her side, dead.
Despite all of Edison’s efforts, and despite his attempts to persuade General Electric otherwise, the superiority of the AC current was too much for Edison and his DC system to overcome. In 1893, Westinghouse was awarded the contract to light the Chicago World’s Fair, bringing all the positive publicity he would need to make alternating current the industry standard. For his part, Edison later admitted that he regretted not taking Tesla’s advice.
Books: Mark Essig, Edison & The Electric Chair, Walker and Company, 2003. Craig Brandon, The Electric Chair: An Unnatural American History, McFarland & Company, Inc., 1999. Gilbert King, The Execution of Willie Francis: Race, Murder, and the Search for Justice in the American South, Basic Civitas Books, 2008.
Articles: “”Wait Till the NEXT One!” Newsweek, February 11, 2007. http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2007/02/12/wait-till-the-next-one.html Creating Jobs” by Steve Lohr, New York Times, January 12, 1997. “Steve Jobs and Bill Gates: It’s Complicated” by Jay Greene, CNET News, Microsoft, August 24, 2011. “Coney Elephant Killed” New York Times, January 6, 1903. Google's Larry Page stealing ideas: How Larry Page's Obsessions Became Google's Business
The most important point about the Tesla- J P Morgan business relationship is: In essence, it was a clash between being led by greed and egotism, on the one side, vs being driven by the wish to benefit humanity, on the other. J P Morgan funded Tesla’s electrical projects for a while. When Tesla explained to him that his wireless transmitter-receiver would produce free electricity for the whole planet, and J P Morgan realized that it would not bring any profits for him, he withdrew his support. This way he, along with others like him, denied humanity of free energy. Free energy would have bankrupted their energy industries, including the oil industry. He was responsible, along many other ruthless businessmen, politicians and people without scruples, for denying the world free access to electricity, among other technological breakthroughs made by Tesla, and also for ruining and discrediting the greatest scientific mind of the 20th century.
About Edison’s relationship with Tesla, it is true that he stole some of Tesla’s patents. Most of Edison’s inventions were made by other people, who worked for him. He patented those discoveries under his name, and payed the real inventors very little money. Tesla said he was promised by Edison a much higher sum for his inventions, than the one he was given. So Edison criminally defrauded Tesla.
And Then There Was Philo
"All the people that stole Philo Farnsworth's intellectual property knew him, came and looked at his inventions, copied them and then started multi-billion dollar companies around those inventions that they stole from Farnsworth. Farnsworth, and his friends, hunted them for the rest of their lives and cost every single one of the thieves over one billion dollars in stock market valuation losses..." - Tales of Philo
If you don't know who Philo Farnsworth is, read up on him...and never, ever, steal IP. It is ALWAYS economically better to pay the inventor than to go through all of the legal, media, doxing, exposure and interdiction hassle of ripping off the inventor. You never want to go through the "Philo-Effect"! ;-) Who invented Television Philo Farnsworth versus Sarnoff
READ MORE ABOUT THE SILICON VALLEY OLIGARCHS IN THESE REPORTS:
COURT RECORDS AND FEDERAL INVESTIGATION EVIDENCE REVEALS THAT ELON MUSK HIRES HIT-MEN TO ATTACK THOSE THAT COMPETE WITH MUSK
In September, Musk revealed in court documents that one of his trusted aides, Jared Birchall, paid $50,000 to hire a private investigator who looked into Unsworth. Attorneys for Unsworth said the investigator was offered a $10,000 bonus if he was able to confirm nefarious behavior -- which was never paid.
Birchall worked at Morgan Stanley until 2016 and is the manager of Excession LLC, Musk’s family office.
He took the stand after Musk.
Birchall testified he hired James Howard.
After Howard came up with what later turned out to be fake dirt on Unsworth, such as that he had been visiting Thailand since the 1980s and that he met his wife when she was a teenager, Birchall, using the name James Brickhouse, told Howard to leak the information to media in the U.K.
“I believed him to be a credible investigator,” Birchall told the jury. “I understood these things to be facts. I asked him to share facts.”
Musk also enlisted help from a second investigator at the Palo Alto, California-based law firm Cooley LLP. Cooley didn’t respond to a request for comment. But pay records and emails from Cooley have been acquired.
The case is Unsworth v. Musk, 18-cv-08048, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles). The issue of Musk hiring Gawker, Gizmodo, Jalopnik and the rest of the Nick Denton/Univision attack tabloids (To seek to destroy competitors) is sure to be raised.
Elon Musk Maybe Doesn’t Understand Words That Begin With ‘P’
Elon Musk is a billionaire entrepreneur, and as such is not used to be called to account for his actions, whether those actions are alleged securities law violations or smoking weed on camera while under scrutiny for a Twitter habit at the heart of those alleged securities law violations or inability to meet either profit or production goals. Certainly, he’s not interested in being called to account for rather apparently alleging that a man seeking to rescue children from a cave is an actual child rapist.
We say “apparent,” because in spite of the fact that the prefix “pedo” literally means “child,” Musk went through with his plan to testify that on the mean streets of Pretoria, it instead refers to creepy old men rather than serving as an abbreviation of pedophile.
Musk, 48, said the term “pedo guy” was a common epithet in South Africa, where he grew up.
“It’s an insult, like saying mother-effer doesn’t actually mean someone having sex with their mother,” he testified, using a sanitized version of a more vulgar expression.
This is not the only “don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining” moment from Musk’s turn on the stand. The alleged 34-richest person in the world also told the court, which will presumably turn to how much of his $26.5 billion fortune Musk’s target, Vernon Unsworth, will get after it determines that, yea, pedo means exactly what you think it means, that being the 34-richest person in the world doesn’t mean what you’d think it means.
“People think I have a lot of cash. I actually don’t,” Musk reportedly testified in Los Angeles, adding that he also has debt against his stock holdings.
Unlike his “pedo guy” etymology, this is actually notionally believable. Indeed, Bloomberg calculated his net worth by adding up the value of his stakes in Tesla, SpaceX and The Boring Company, none of which constitute cash, per se. On the other hand, crying poverty is a bit hard to take given this:
Over the last seven years, Mr. Musk and limited-liability companies tied to him have amassed a cluster of six houses on two streets in the “lower” and “mid” areas of the Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, a celebrity-filled, leafy enclave near the Hotel Bel-Air.
Those buys—plus a grand, 100-year-old estate in Northern California near the headquarters of Tesla, the electric car concern he heads—means Mr. Musk or LLCs with ties to him have spent around $100 million on seven properties. He didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Bright side: This does bolster Musk’s case that he doesn’t understand what words mean.
British cave explorer felt ‘branded a pedophile’ by Elon Musk tweet [Reuters]
Tesla CEO Elon Musk claims he doesn’t have much cash during ‘pedo guy’ trial [N.Y. Post]
Elon Musk Buys Out the Neighborhood [WSJ]
A decade ago these guys—and they are mostly guys—were folk heroes, and for many people, they remain so. They represented everything traditional business, from Wall Street and Hollywood to the auto industry, in their pursuit of sure profits and golden parachutes, was not—hip, daring, risk-taking folk seeking to change the world for the better.
Now from San Francisco to Washington and Brussels, the tech oligarchs are something less attractive: a fearsome threat whose ambitions to control our future politics, media, and commerce seem without limits. Amazon, Google, Facebook, Netflix, and Uber may be improving our lives in many ways, but they also are disrupting old industries—and the lives of the many thousands of people employed by them. And as the tech boom has expanded, these individuals and companies have gathered economic resources to match their ambitions.
And as their fortunes have ballooned, so has their hubris. They see themselves as somehow better than the scum of Wall Street or the trolls in Houston or Detroit. It’s their intelligence, not just their money, that makes them the proper global rulers. In their contempt for the less cognitively gifted, they are waging what The Atlantic recently called “a war on stupid people.”
I had friends of mine who attended MIT back in the 1970s tell me they used to call themselves “tools,” which told us us something about how they regarded themselves and were regarded. Technologists were clearly bright people whom others used to solve problems or make money. Divorced from any mystical value, their technical innovations, in the words of the French sociologist Marcel Mauss, constituted “a traditional action made effective.” Their skills could be applied to agriculture, metallurgy, commerce, and energy.
In recent years, like Skynet in the Terminator, the tools have achieved consciousness, imbuing themselves with something of a society-altering mission. To a large extent, they have created what the sociologist Alvin Gouldner called “the new class” of highly educated professionals who would remake society. Initially they made life better—making spaceflight possible, creating advanced medical devices and improving communications (the internet); they built machines that were more efficient and created great research tools for both business and individuals. Yet they did not seek to disrupt all industries—such as energy, food, automobiles—that still employed millions of people. They remained “tools” rather than rulers.
With the massive wealth they have now acquired, the tools at the top now aim to dominate those they used to serve. Netflix is gradually undermining Hollywood, just as iTunes essentially murdered the music industry. Uber is wiping out the old order of cabbies, and Google, Facebook, and the social media people are gradually supplanting newspapers. Amazon has already undermined the book industry and is seeking to do the same to apparel, supermarkets, and electronics.
Past economic revolutions—from the steam engine to the jet engine and the internet—created in their wake a productivity revolution. To be sure, as brute force or slower technologies lost out, so did some companies and classes of people. But generally the economy got stronger and more productive. People got places sooner, information flows quickened, and new jobs were created, many of them paying middle- and working-class people a living wage.
This is largely not the case today. As numerous scholars including Robert Gordon have pointed out, the new social-media based technologies have had little positive impact on economic productivity, now growing at far lower rates than during past industrial booms, including the 1990s internet revolution.
Much of the problem, notes MIT Technology Review editor David Rotman, is that most information investment no longer serves primarily the basic industries that still drive most of the economy, providing a wide array of jobs for middle- and working-class Americans. This slowdown in productivity, notes Chad Syverson, an economist at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, has decreased gross domestic product by $2.7 trillion in 2015—about $8,400 for every American. “If you think Silicon Valley is going to fuel growing prosperity, you are likely to be disappointed,” suggests Rotman.
One reason may be the nature of “social media,” which is largely a replacement for technology that already exists, or in many cases, is simply a diversion, even a source of time-wasting addiction for many. Having millions of millennials spend endless hours on Facebook is no more valuable than binging on television shows, except that TV actually employs people.
At their best, the social media firms have supplanted the old advertising model, essentially undermining the old agencies and archaic forms like newspapers, books, and magazines. But overall information employment has barely increased. It’s up 70,000 jobs since 2010, but this is after losing 700,000 jobs in the first decade of the 21st century.
Tech firms had once been prodigious employers of American workers. But now, many depend on either workers abroad of imported under H-1B visa program. These are essentially indentured servants whom they can hire for cheap and prevent from switching jobs. Tens of thousands of jobs in Silicon Valley, and many corporate IT departments elsewhere, rent these “technocoolies,” often replacing longstanding U.S. workers.
Expanding H-1Bs, not surprisingly, has become a priority issue for oligarchs such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and a host of tech firms, including Yahoo, Cisco Systems, NetApp, Hewlett-Packard, and Intel, firms that in some cases have been laying off thousands of American workers. Most of the bought-and-paid-for GOP presidential contenders, as well as the money-grubbing Hillary Clinton, embrace the program, with some advocating expansion. The only opposition came from two candidates disdained by the oligarchs, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.
Now cab drivers, retail clerks, and even food service workers face technology-driven extinction. Some of this may be positive in the long run, certainly in the case of Uber and Lyft, to the benefit of consumers. But losing the single mom waitress at Denny’s to an iPad does not seem to be a major advance toward social justice or a civilized society—nor much of a boost for our society’s economic competitiveness. Wiping out cab drivers, many of them immigrants, for part-time workers driving Ubers provides opportunity for some, but it does threaten what has long been one of the traditional ladders to upward mobility.
Then there is the extraordinary geographical concentration of the new tech wave. Previous waves were much more highly dispersed. But not now. Social media and search, the drivers of the current tech boom, are heavily concentrated in the Bay Area, which has a remarkable 40 percent of all jobs in the software publishing and search field. In contrast, previous tech waves created jobs in numerous locales.
This concentration has been two-edged sword, even in its Bay Area heartland. The massive infusions of wealth and new jobs has created enormous tensions in San Francisco and its environs. Many San Franciscans, for example, feel like second class citizens in their own city. Others oppose tax measures in San Francisco that are favorable to tech companies like Twitter. There is now a movement on to reverse course and apply “tech taxes” on these firms, in part to fund affordable housing and homeless services. Further down in the Valley, there is also widespread opposition to plans to increase the density of the largely suburban areas in order to house the tech workforce. Rather than being happy with the tech boom, many in the Bay Area see their quality of life slipping and upwards of a third are now considering a move elsewhere.
Once, we hoped that the technology revolution would create ever more dispersion of wealth and power. This dream has been squashed. Rather than an effusion of start-ups we see the downturn in new businesses. Information Technology, notes The Economist, is now the most heavily concentrated of all large economic sectors, with four firms accounting for close to 50 percent of all revenues. Although the tech boom has created some very good jobs for skilled workers, half of all jobs being created today are in low-wage services like retail and restaurants—at least until they are replaced by iPads and robots.
What kind of world do these disrupters see for us? One vision, from Singularity University, co-founded by Google’s genius technologist Ray Kurzweil, envisions robots running everything; humans, outside the programmers, would become somewhat irrelevant. I saw this mentality for myself at a Wall Street Journal conference on the environment when a prominent venture capitalist did not see any problem with diminishing birthrates among middle-class Americans since the Valley planned to make the hoi polloi redundant.
Once somewhat inept about politics, the oligarchs now know how to press their agenda. Much of the Valley’s elite–venture capitalist John Doerr, Kleiner Perkins, Vinod Khosla, and Google—routinely use the political system to cash in on subsidies, particularly for renewable energy, including such dodgy projects as California’s Ivanpah solar energy plant. Arguably the most visionary of the oligarchs, Elon Musk, has built his business empire largely through subsidies and grants.
Musk also has allegedly skirted labor laws to fill out his expanded car factory in Fremont, with $5-an-hour Eastern European labor; even when blue-collar opportunities do arise, rarely enough, the oligarchs seem ready to fill them with foreigners, either abroad or under dodgy visa schemes. Progressive rhetoric once used to attack oil or agribusiness firms does not seem to work against the tech elite. They can exploit labor laws and engage in monopoly practices with little threat of investigation by progressive Obama regulators.
In the short term, the oligarchs can expect an even more pliable regime under our likely next president, Hillary Clinton. The fundraiser extraordinaire has been raising money from the oligarchs like Musk and companies such as Facebook. Each may vie to supplant Google, the company with the best access to the Obama administration, over the past seven years.
What can we expect from the next tech-dominated administration? We can expect moves, backed also by corporate Republicans, to expand H-1B visas, and increased mandates and subsidies for favored sectors like electric cars and renewable energy. Little will be done to protect our privacy—firms like Facebook are determined to limit restrictions on their profitable “sharing” of personal information. But with regard to efforts to break down encryption systems key to corporate sovereignty, they will defend privacy, as seen in Apple’s resistance to sharing information on terrorist iPhones. Not cooperating against murderers of Americans is something of fashion now among the entire hoodie-wearing programmer culture.
One can certainly make the case that tech firms are upping the national game; certain cab companies have failed by being less efficient and responsive as well as more costly. Not so, however, the decision of the oligarchs–desperate to appease their progressive constituents–to periodically censor and curate information flows, as we have seen at Twitter and Facebook. Much of this has been directed against politically incorrect conservatives, such as the sometimes outrageous gay provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.
There is a rising tide of concern, including from such progressive icons as former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, about the extraordinary market, political, and culture power of the tech oligarchy. But so far, the oligarchs have played a brilliant double game. They have bought off the progressives with contributions and by endorsing their social liberal and environmental agenda. As for the establishment right, they are too accustomed to genuflecting at mammon to push back against anyone with a 10-digit net worth. This has left much of the opposition at the extremes of right and left, greatly weakening it.
Yet over time grassroots Americans may lose their childish awe of the tech establishment. They could recognize that, without some restrictions, they are signing away control of their culture, politics, and economic prospects to the empowered “tools.” They might understand that technology itself is no panacea; it is either a tool to be used to benefit society, increase opportunity, and expand human freedom, or it is nothing more than a new means of oppression.