“We think of capitalism as being locked in an ideological battle with socialism, but we never really saw that capitalism might be defeated by its own child — technology.”
This is how Eric Weinstein, a mathematician and a managing director of Peter Thiel’s investment firm, Thiel Capital, began a recent video for BigThink.com. In it he argues that technology has so transformed our world that “we may need a hybrid model in the future which is paradoxically more capitalistic than our capitalism today and perhaps even more socialistic than our communism of yesteryear.”
Which is another way of saying that socialist principles might be the only thing that can save capitalism.
Weinstein’s thinking reflects a growing awareness in Silicon Valley of the challenges faced by capitalist society. Technology will continue to upend careers, workers across fields will be increasingly displaced, and it’s likely that many jobs lost will not be replaced.
Hence many technologists and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley are converging on ideas like universal basic income as a way to mitigate the adverse effects of technological innovation.
I reached out to Weinstein to talk about the crisis of capitalism — how we got here, what can be done, and why he thinks a failure to act might lead to a societal collapse. His primary concern is that the billionaire class — which he’s not a part of, but has access to through his job — has been too slow to recognize the need for radical change.
“The greatest danger,” he told me, is that, “the truly rich are increasingly separated from the lives of the rest of us so that they become largely insensitive to the concerns of those who still earn by the hour.” If that happens, he warns, “they will probably not anticipate many of the changes, and we will see the beginning stirrings of revolution as the cost for this insensitivity.”
Check out the article here:
–posted by Gwyllm Llwydd