Notes | Abolish Silicon Valley

Posted on Nov 19, 2022

Wendy Liu. Abolish Silicon Valley: How to Liberate Technology from Capitalism. Repeater Books. 2019.

Summary

Part memoir, part recommendations for a better world. Wendy Liu takes the reader on a journey of her shifting views of tech from her time as a child programming, through undergrad, as worker within her own startup and through its demise. Her beliefs range from an ardent believer in Silicon Valley to calls for its abolishment.

This work details how Liu came to reckon with her belief in the ideology of Silicon Valley. As she works through the contradictions that are not simply inherent to Silicon Valley but capitalism itself, she concludes with a series of proposals for how to make technology and its development work towards a better world.

Quotes

“Here’s another way to understand profit: as an indicator of inefficiency, a sign that something has gone wrong in the factors that shape a given market. Some level of profit may be acceptable in the early stages, or when necessary for expansion, but if a corporation has swelled to billion-dollar heights and is still turning to new frontiers to maintain profit margins, that’s a problem. At that stage, profit should be attributed to some combination of these distasteful possibilities: workers being underpaid; customers being fleeced; environment or social externalities being ignored; or monopolization of intellectual property. Profit should be treated as a sign that the system is in need of correction.” (p. 169)

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