Compassionate Capitalism?

Mark Suster:

At the end of his examples, he writes more personally.

I have no solutions for you, today. I’m not writing to propose new social policies or fix our nations woes. Income inequality exists. There will always be inequality – even in systems that favor communism or socialism. Democracy, it is said, is the worst form of government, except for everything else.

But I have to say, it is absolutely tone deaf to try and pretend like Silicon Valley or the tech industry is rich simply because some people – regardless of their social, economic, gender or racial backgrounds – happened to be better at “hacking computers” and worked harder than others, were more focused that others and out of sheer smarts, cunning and hard-work have created enormous economic wealth for themselves. Of course the situation is more complicated than that. It really pains me when smart people are both tone deaf and color blind. And that the “correct answer” in our industry seems to be to champion only unfettered libertarianism.

Yes, I have libertarian biases and governmental concerns. I am neither truly Democrat nor Republican. I am am fiscally moderate and socially liberal. Like many, but not all of my friends and colleagues.

But I also have a social conscious and an awareness of the privileges that I was handed and although I was merely the son of a Jewish, South American immigrant who grew up in a decidedly middle-class town and background devoid of country clubs or luxury vacations. As a Jew with a Latino father I guess I was a sort of an “other” and not really part of the establishment. And I believe that makes me who I am and good with that.

I still had privilege. I grew up in a house with two hard-working parents who valued education, I lived in a safe neighborhood, I had sober parents, I attended public schools including college, I had a computer in my house from a young age, I was never physically abused, I didn’t know anybody who had been in prison and I didn’t have to do manual labor.

I believe in income inequality in so much as it’s an obvious consequence of capitalism. I have no problem when success is rewarded with riches. But I don’t celebrate income inequality. It pains me.


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