Silicon Valley on the Middle Class and Unions
I wouldn't quite call the high-paying union job a myth, but I think people who dwell on it are reading too much into it. The era of labor unions seems to have been the same kind of aberration, just spread over a longer period, and mixed together with a lot of ideology that prevents people from viewing it with as cold an eye as they would something like consulting during the Bubble.
People in the tech industry feel like life is a meritocracy. You work really hard, you build something and you create something, which is sort of directly opposite to unions.
“The idea of the middle class itself is a myth.” Andreessen argued that the middle class is an “artifact” of America’s post-World-War-II role as the last standing industrial power—that the term describes people with a high-school education earning college-level wages, who after the war worked in the firms that built modern America’s industrial base. That view might surprise all the war veterans who got college educations thanks to the GI Bill. “That experiment has been run and it was a catastrophic failure,” he says, arguing that Americans today without college degrees or an engineering background are doomed to a future of shoe sales. Maybe his idea of “middle class” is a bit strange, but on one thing we can agree: If you do get that college degree, you might want to consider computer languages over English degrees.
We are holding back the middle class in America. But it’s not for the reasons you think, and the culprits are not those most people think of. Rather, the US government has systematically cut the middle class out of the most important wealth creation opportunity for the next 50 years. Through a series of byzantine regulations, the government has made it virtually impossible for working Americans to enjoy the fruits of America’s greatest strength: innovation.
So, the way for the middle class to thrive is not for workers to organize for their own benefit, but for the middle class to be able to buy more Zynga stock.