“What happened to the future? We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters,” laments the online manifesto of the San Francisco venture capitalists, Founders Fund, headed up by billionaire technology investor Peter Thiel.
That seems a strange thing for a company based on the West Coast of America to say. After all, isn’t that the part of the world that is busy inventing the future?
What seemed even stranger was when Thiel, a well-known libertarian, took to the stage at the 2016 Republican National Convention to endorse Donald Trump and bemoan stagnation in the US economy.
In his speech to the GOP faithful, he spoke of flat wages, low productivity, increasing levels of indebtedness and stalling growth.
He argued that, though significant progress in communications and computer technology has made Silicon Valley prosper and him rich, it has obscured a dismal lack of technological innovation in America since the 1970s. Innovation, usually the muscular driver of monetary expansion, has largely withered away.
Five months later, promising a radical shake-up of the economic status quo, Donald Trump won the US election after turning long neglected, rust-belt states, like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, from blue to red. Read More…