Monday, January 27, 2014

Why Progressives Hate Free Markets

It interferes with the 0.1% getting richer.  Shawn Steel, former California Republican Party chair, pointed out in the January 20, 2014 San Jose Mercury-News that Republicans who think that shutting up the social conservatives will make it easier to lure the "wealthy, libertarian-minded tech entrepreneurs" of Silicon Valley into the Republican Party are kidding themselves:
Aside from a few high-profile Ron Paul bundlers, 80 percent of the valley's political contributions go to Democratic candidates. All but two of the tech executives recently invited to the White House backed President Barack Obama's reelection campaign.
"The tech moguls may be the first large capitalist constituency outside Hollywood to identify almost entirely with the progressives," argues author Joel Kotkin. Other authors point to a new philosophy of "peer progressivism" that is sweeping the valley.
These tech progressives embrace planned communities, where corporate institutions control every aspect of daily life. Employees at Facebook and Google hop on company buses to reach their corporate compounds. They can enjoy a gourmet meal and drop the kids off at daycare all by going to work, and without having to interact with the help.
Contrary to the myth, the Silicon Valley isn't full of individualistic free-market capitalists. Tech companies are largely building wealth from government contracts. This summer's revelations by government whistleblower Edward Snowden detail how the biggest tech companies, including Apple, Google, Facebook and Yahoo, cooperated with the NSA's Prism data collection program.
This article from the January 26, 2014 Mother Jones describes a class-action suit that it is being allowed to go forward that really shows how much contempt the progressive billionaires have for free markets:
filed on behalf of over 100,000 tech employees whose wages were artificially lowered — an estimated $9 billion effectively stolen by the high-flying companies from their workers to pad company earnings — in the second half of the 2000s. Last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied attempts by Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe to have the lawsuit tossed, and gave final approval for the class action suit to go forward.
....The companies argued that the non-recruitment agreements had nothing to do with driving down wages. But the court ruled that there was “extensive documentary evidence” that the pacts were designed specifically to push down wages, and that they succeeded in doing so. The evidence includes software tools used by the companies to keep tabs on pay scales to ensure that within job “families” or titles, pay remained equitable within a margin of variation, and that as competition and recruitment boiled over in 2005, emails between executives and human resources departments complained about the pressure on wages caused by recruiters cold calling their employees, and bidding wars for key engineers. 
I can't claim to be too terribly surprised.  Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations (1776) pointed out that businessmen can hardly meet without conspiring to restrict competition to drive up prices.  Add in the progressive hostility towards free markets, and there should be no surprise here.  No wonder the obscenely rich are so reflexively in support of people like Obama, intent on crushing the middle class down into the proletariat.

1 comment:

Rob K said...

It explains their love of H1B visas too.