During the Prop 23 debates in Nevada County our local lefties assured us the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and big money investor in green tech were going to be the savors of California’s economy. Apparently that was just a progressive pipe dream, one that comes from what ever it is they smoke. Reality is not negotiable.
The 2011 Index of Silicon Valley is the result of an annual conference of business leaders, with over a thousand attending this year. The report was first published in 1995 by the Joint Venture Silicon Valley Network and distributed for free over the Internet, but the server was down this morning. I could not down load the latest Index. However, the newgeography web site has a report by Tamara Carleton, a grad Student at Stanford. She found the Index had bleak indicators and a gloomy outlook for the Silicon Valley.
The event provided Valley insiders a moment to reflect on the economic storm, and the mood was darkly optimistic. A persistent phrase tossed out was the “new normal,” old Wall Street jargon describing a repressed economic environment. Growth is too slow to bring down the unemployment rate, and government intervenes to save a struggling private sector.
You can read the rest of the article here and hopefully the server will be back on line. A server link is in the article. Here are two excerpts that caught my eye, relative to the Prop 23 debate.
It’s a dismal state of affairs if you ask the local old guard. Judy Estrin, former chief technology officer of Cisco Systems, grumbled that one problem was outsourcing. Too many startups were adopting the practice in her view, and she told the audience, “Don’t automatically go to China.”
Others were concerned that jobs were being shipped simply to towns east across the bay. Much ballyhooed and well-subsidized sectors, such as cleantech, would not produce enough jobs to be economically meaningful in the recovery. Attendees were fearful that the Valley has lost its edge.
My emphasis added. The big money in Silicon Valley spent over $30 million dollars to defeat Prop 23, and we were assured that green jobs were the wave of the future. What happened? Where all those green jobs? China? What about any jobs? One more insightful paragraph from Tamara’s article.
For all the money being generated, Silicon Valley is not producing more jobs in the local economy. Many startups look to Facebook as a leader in the social media space. Its user base of 600 million has generated a massive population that dwarfs that of the U.S. Yet the company has only about 2000 employees. Facebook presents a conundrum. Is it an innovative global leader that has mastered the art of efficient scaling that is the beginning of a new era in Silicon Valley, or has Facebook become the antithesis of economic growth for the U.S. administration?
Exit Question: Is this the new normal, California companies creating wealth without creating more jobs in the state?