Privacy is one issue that should divide liberals from the tech oligarchs. Historically liberals have been on the front line of the battle to protect personal information. But now tech interests have worked hard, with considerable Democratic support, to block privacy protections that would damage their profits in Europe, and closer to home.
Another inevitable flashpoint regards unions, a core progressive constituency. Venture capitalist Mark Andreesen recently declared that “there doesn’t seem to be a role” for unions in the modern economy because people are “marketing themselves and their skills.” Amazon has battled unions not only in the United States, but in more union-friendly Europe as well.
Avatars of equality? Valley boosters speak of the “glorious cocktail of prosperity” they have concocted, but have been very slow to address, or even seek to ameliorate, the vast social chasm that exists under their feet.
Many core employees at firms like Facebook and Google enjoy gourmet meals, childcare services, even complimentary house-cleaning in an effort to create, as one Google executive put it, “the happiest most productive workplace in the world.” Yet the reality is less pleasant for other workers in customer support or retail, like the Apple stores, and even more so for contracted laborers in security, maintenance and food service jobs.