Marc Andreessen: “The Techno-Optimist Manifesto”

On 2023-10-16, Marc Andreessen, (creator of Mosaic, the first graphical Web browser, co-founder of Netscape, and general partner of superstar venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz) published a 5200 word document, “The Techno-Optimist Manifesto”, proclaiming technology as the root of all human progress since our species emerged from the forager lifestyle and absolutely essential to the achievement of the human destiny now and in the future, here on Earth and onward to the stars.

It begins as follows:


We are being lied to.

We are told that technology takes our jobs, reduces our wages, increases inequality, threatens our health, ruins the environment, degrades our society, corrupts our children, impairs our humanity, threatens our future, and is ever on the verge of ruining everything.

We are told to be angry, bitter, and resentful about technology.

We are told to be pessimistic.

The myth of Prometheus – in various updated forms like Frankenstein, Oppenheimer, and Terminator – haunts our nightmares.

We are told to denounce our birthright – our intelligence, our control over nature, our ability to build a better world.

We are told to be miserable about the future.


Our civilization was built on technology.

Our civilization is built on technology.

Technology is the glory of human ambition and achievement, the spearhead of progress, and the realization of our potential.

For hundreds of years, we properly glorified this – until recently.

I am here to bring the good news.

We can advance to a far superior way of living, and of being.

We have the tools, the systems, the ideas.

We have the will.

It is time, once again, to raise the technology flag.

It is time to be Techno-Optimists.

Sections discuss:

I agree with just about everything in this manifesto (can you guess my lone quibble?). I wish I’d written it. I wish I wrote so well. This is well worth your time to read and digest. We are engaged in a struggle for the future. Andreessen clearly identifies the enemy.

We have enemies.

Our enemies are not bad people – but rather bad ideas.

Our present society has been subjected to a mass demoralization campaign for six decades – against technology and against life – under varying names like “existential risk”, “sustainability”, “ESG”, “Sustainable Development Goals”, “social responsibility”, “stakeholder capitalism”, “Precautionary Principle”, “trust and safety”, “tech ethics”, “risk management”, “de-growth”, “the limits of growth”.

This demoralization campaign is based on bad ideas of the past – zombie ideas, many derived from Communism, disastrous then and now – that have refused to die.

Our enemy is stagnation.

Our enemy is anti-merit, anti-ambition, anti-striving, anti-achievement, anti-greatness.

Our enemy is statism, authoritarianism, collectivism, central planning, socialism.

Our enemy is bureaucracy, vetocracy, gerontocracy, blind deference to tradition.

Our enemy is corruption, regulatory capture, monopolies, cartels.

The enemy produce only stagnation, decline, and extinction. Those who know there is a better way and an unbounded future must defeat them.


After reading the manifesto, Dot Dot James prompted DALL·E with:

Photo of a split cityscape: one side depicts a bright, Utopian city with green parks and futuristic buildings under a clear blue sky, while the other side shows a dark, apocalyptic wasteland with ruins and storm clouds.

and generated:

Choose wisely.


Marc Andreessen identifies himself as an “Effective Accelerationist”, and appends “e/acc” to his name on his 𝕏 account. Here is a Business Insider article on the phenomenon, whose spin you can deduce from the first paragraph:

There’s an obscure theory doing the rounds in Silicon Valley as it quickly becomes the new ideological hobby of tech’s power players. It’s called effective accelerationism.


Ctrl-F “bitcoin” draws a blank … :wink:

I liked these parts

We believe markets also increase societal well being by generating work in which people can productively engage. We believe a Universal Basic Income would turn people into zoo animals to be farmed by the state. Man was not meant to be farmed; man was meant to be useful , to be productive , to be proud .

We believe technological change, far from reducing the need for human work, increases it, by broadening the scope of what humans can productively do.
Our enemy is the Precautionary Principle, which would have prevented virtually all progress since man first harnessed fire. The Precautionary Principle was invented to prevent the large-scale deployment of civilian nuclear power, perhaps the most catastrophic mistake in Western society in my lifetime. The Precautionary Principle continues to inflict enormous unnecessary suffering on our world today. It is deeply immoral, and we must jettison it with extreme prejudice.

On a more serious note, the manifesto reminded me of “More from Less” by Andy MacAffee. EconTalk had him with Russ Roberts in the good old times before the pandemic in 2019.


And in a small feat of synchronicity, it turns out Marc Andreessen also interviewed Andrew McAffee in 2019


The “Technology” part is OK. The “Free market” part, though, assumes that free markets just happen. In practice, there’s a strong tendency towards monopoly. That becomes much stronger when technology removes barriers to monopoly. This is very obvious in some “tech” areas, but it’s also seen, in the US, in businesses from drug stores to banks. Below about four substantial competitors, price competition declines and margins go up. This has been discussed in many places elsewhere, so I won’t go on about that.

Something that’s not discussed much is that computers have removed many of the scaling problems of large businesses. Large companies of the 20th century had trouble getting out of their own way. It took huge bureaucracies pushing paper to make them go at all, and there were inefficiencies of scale. Some costs grew faster than O(N).

Quietly, computers seem to have fixed that. We see few companies today that are in trouble due to sheer scale. From Amazon to McDonalds, scaling up to world scale seems to work OK.


In the “Markets” section, he did say:

We believe in market discipline. The market naturally disciplines – the seller either learns and changes when the buyer fails to show, or exits the market. When market discipline is absent, there is no limit to how crazy things can get. The motto of every monopoly and cartel, every centralized institution not subject to market discipline: “We don’t care, because we don’t have to.” Markets prevent monopolies and cartels.

and in “Enemies”:

Our enemy is corruption, regulatory capture, monopolies, cartels.

In Zero to One, Peter Thiel argued that an innovative start-up should seek to become a monopoly in the new sector it creates. He made this argument on 2014-09-12 in the Wall Street Journal piece “Competition Is for Losers” (paywall transcended courtesy of

A monopoly like Google is different. Since it doesn’t have to worry about competing with anyone, it has wider latitude to care about its workers, its products and its impact on the wider world. Google’s motto—“Don’t be evil”—is in part a branding ploy, but it is also characteristic of a kind of business that is successful enough to take ethics seriously without jeopardizing its own existence. In business, money is either an important thing or it is everything. Monopolists can afford to think about things other than making money; non-monopolists can’t. In perfect competition, a business is so focused on today’s margins that it can’t possibly plan for a long-term future. Only one thing can allow a business to transcend the daily brute struggle for survival: monopoly profits.

So a monopoly is good for everyone on the inside, but what about everyone on the outside? Do outsize profits come at the expense of the rest of society? Actually, yes: Profits come out of customers’ wallets, and monopolies deserve their bad reputation—but only in a world where nothing changes.

In a static world, a monopolist is just a rent collector. If you corner the market for something, you can jack up the price; others will have no choice but to buy from you. Think of the famous board game: Deeds are shuffled around from player to player, but the board never changes. There is no way to win by inventing a better kind of real-estate development. The relative values of the properties are fixed for all time, so all you can do is try to buy them up.

But the world we live in is dynamic: We can invent new and better things. Creative monopolists give customers more choices by adding entirely new categories of abundance to the world. Creative monopolies aren’t just good for the rest of society; they’re powerful engines for making it better.

A number of libertarians have observed that the growth of the administrative state increases the size of firms and promotes consolidation into an oligopoly or monopoly market. In fact, the regulation created in the New Deal era explicitly had the goal of creating cartels by fixing the prices producers could charge for their products. Regulation of all forms promotes consolidation because the cost of compliance is relatively fixed and becomes less of a burden on profitability as the company gets larger. At the same time, the cost and complexity of regulation deters or renders prohibitive the formation of new companies to compete with established firms. That’s the reason the most common exit plan for Silicon Valley start-ups today is acquisition by one of the tech titans rather than an IPO and going it alone.

I’m also not sure we’ve seen classic abusive monopoly behaviour grow as consolidation has occurred within modern industries. Walmart and Amazon both control large fractions of the retail business in the U.S., but there’s little evidence they have used their position to jack up consumer prices and increase their margins. Google’s dominance in the search and advertising sectors doesn’t seem to have helped them in the many other ventures they have attempted to launch or grow after acquisition (to which the many tombstones of Google “former products” attest).


There is a school of thought that differentiates “economic” monopolies from “abusive” monopolies. The former are simply. the result of doing things better and so are rewarded with a bigger market share. The latter are consciously formed by monetary bullying and end up abusive of people - because they can.

Examples of economic monopolies could be those mentioned here - or Standard Oil of the early 20th century. SO came by its monopoly because Rockefeller organized the distribution system so efficiently and was thus able to offer is product at a lower price because his cost was lower. Had he attempted to gouge the market, he would no longer BE the best priced oil/gas supplier. Indeed, by the time Taft came after SO for monopolistic position, local companies had figured out Rockefeller’s system and reproduced it, now becoming competitive with Standard Oil.

Amazon eg. holds its market position by offering good (relatively) products at good prices, to include the shipping. We often neglect consideration of shipping costs yet those can substantially increase a product’s price. Ammo purchasers have long been sensitive to this phenomenon.

Other products like Google offer great products, but because they choose to invest some of their excess profitability into particular political positions, they lose customers who don’t agree and are tired of the Left playing politics with what should be plain economic things. The Left has left the political field so toxic that they alienate many who would otherwise simply look at the politics as “differences of opinion”, not terminal battlefields.


I just can’t take these guys seriously since they can’t take their own premise seriously:

We believe in the actual Scientific Method and enlightenment values of free discourse and challenging the authority of experts.

We believe, as Richard Feynman said, “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.”

If they can’t have sufficient humility with regard to their social theory aka “beliefs” to propose self-disciplinary measures such as I have (e.g. Sortocracy and, failing that, at least applying their own infotech power to Hume’s Guillotine) then they just don’t make the grade, however much “expertise” they may claim in asserting their social theory based on their “credentials” that take the form of capital accumulation.

Hey, I’m not saying capital accumulation isn’t a fantastic credential compared to a Harvard PhD (especially nowadays), but must I really damn them with such faint praise?


Not anymore:


But that’s still market activity, not monopolistic bullying.


Let’s play the monopoly game. You name a market monopoly, and I’ll name a government-supported monopoly. Last party to name a monopoly wins. You can choose who goes first.

I always win the monopoly game, because a market monopoly is a rare and fleeting thing, a unicorn if you will.


In neither case is a free market still operating. The benefits of price competition have been lost. Doesn’t matter why a monopoly developed or why it is maintained.


That is simply not true. Economic “monopolies” exist in a market environment because of efficiency. Were they to drop out of the market and price-gouge, they would no longer be “competitive” so would lose business.

Look at WalMart. They managed to drive out-of-business many Mom-‘n-Pop stores in smaller towns. However, they did not then proceed to use their “position” to price-gouge the people. A real monopoly would. Furthermore, they are still just as sensitive to competition from any source that can match their efficiency, though that usually means a larger company. Target does. Sears and K-Mart couldn’t get their organizations in order and lost, just like the little guys.


Standard Oil, 1905


You name a property right and I’ll name a government-enforcement of that property right.

Oh, wait, what is a “government”?

While I’ve got my problems with “Libertarians”, at least of the neo-kind (in contrast with Lysander Spooneresque paleo-kind), I’ve also got my problems with these neo-limits-to-growth guys:

Neither side of this “debate” possesses sufficient critical thought to understand that the real debate is between two modes of violence:

  1. Sexual reproduction
  2. Asexual reproduction

We’ve previously discussed this in:

Sexual reproduction’s violence takes the form of what we call “individuals” in individual vs individual fights over resources – most critically fertile females.

Asexual reproduction’s violence takes the form of eat-or-be-eaten armies in the form of what we call “groups”, whether the pre-Cambrian cellular clone mats, the eusocial insects of the last 100 million years or the nascent asexuality of primate group conflict of the last 6 million years.

There is no escaping these two modes of violence outside of mythic notions of utopia where the lion lies down with the lamb – the belief in which inevitably ends with Pax Parasitism’s replacement of force with fraud. (And, no, neo-libertarian rhetoric trying to define fraud as a form of force is just another form of parasitic sophistry.) Indeed, the sine qua non of eusociality according to E. O. Wilson is the parasitic castration of young.

Zamyatin’s We fictionalized that existing powers will alter
human nature by lobotomy-like operations on the brain. This
does not appear improbable, but to me it is a less disturbing
prospect than Huxley’s projection. In both We and Nineteen
Eighty-four the projected conditions are brought about by force.
That leaves room for optimism. So long as overt force is
necessary the doomsday does not appear inevitable; the need to
use force implies the existence of a latent opposing force. The
need to use force implies that the will to resist the trend has not
entirely disappeared.

Huxley’s book leaves no room for optimism. It shows a
bureaucratic system admired by the lowliest worker as greatly as
the highest administrator. The system has created a population of
what some would call “slaves”. However the “slaves” do not
have to be coerced. All will to opposition has been broken. They
love their servitude. When human animals have reached this state
it is a point of no return.
“Brave New World: a different projection” by John Harland

Andreessen et al might be amenable to “Nature Preserve Earth”, especially since they seem more identified with Bezos’s rent-seeking ethos than Musk’s entrepreneurial ethos, and Bezos has been at least more vocal about Earth as a nature preserve. But are they willing to face the fact that domestication of wolves by everyman an alpha resulted in the reawakening of the 600M years of sexual selection leading to our heritable individualism that overcame the 6 million years of asexual selection in our primate line?

No. Of course not. This is all too “tendentious” for them to accept, despite the fact that everyone in Hollywood knows you don’t end an action movie without a mano-a-mano fight to the death as a profitable, if pornographic, degeneration of what caused the Cambrian Explosion of genuine diversity consequent to the limitation of migration of mating age males. Need to import more mating age males for that sweet sweet cheap labor!

They identify humanity at large as “the apex predator” without realizing that they are responsible for advancing the evolution of eusociality with them as the reproductive caste. But the consequent parasitic castration of the young men who are supposed to be their sterile workers will, in fact, turn out to be the real apex predators of their capital, as I described in my 1992 tax reform proposed to “herd” the lower levels of the trophic cascade into getting the evolution of eusociality off of my planet and in space where Bezos’s O’Neill colonies can house their pseudo-“individualism”:


In nature, predators benefit prey by feeding on the weakest
members of the population, thus strengthening the gene pool of
the prey. Parasites are far less discriminating than predators.
Parasites are careful to avoid killing their individual hosts by
focusing on the vital fluids, rather than killing for tissue.
Parasites are beneficial to neither the individual host nor to
the host’s gene pool.

In his opus, “The Discourses” Niccolo Machiavelli counsels the
founder of any new state to present tolerable challenges to the
people at all times, so as to strengthen their character. Either
the founder should locate in an austere land where nature herself
will provide discipline, or, if locating in a fertile area, the
founder should impose measured austerities on the people himself.
Machiavelli specifically mentions taxation as an attractive tool.

There is hidden morality in Machiavelli’s apparent ruthlessness:

At each stage of life, you have passed beyond dependence on that
which raised you to that stage. If you continue accepting what
was once given to you, it weakens rather than strengthens you.

If we follow Machiavelli’s wisdom and are consistent with the
ecological model of predator/prey dynamics, we should avoid
parasitic tax systems which drain off productivity in the form of
income, capital gains, sales and value added. We should instead
look for a tax policy that acts as a predator, applying
disciplinary pressure to the economy by measuring how effectively
business entities are utilizing their “living tissue” or net
assets. We should do so without violating nascent businesses and
families, as these are the fountainhead of wealth and value.

To that end, this white paper argues for the adoption of the
following policy reform:

The government should tax net assets, in excess of levels
typically protected under personal bankruptcy, at a rate equal to
the rate of interest on the national debt, thereby eliminating
other forms of taxation. Creator-owned intellectual property
should be exempt.
and leave sexual evolution in the biosphere to individual male intrasexual selection.

1 Like

It is indeed a ploy, but it in no way indicates Google being successful enough to “take ethics seriously”. In actual fact, this is a tired leftist tactic: caution others that they must not undertake what the expositor is either already doing or is about to do. It is exactly the same thing as the dems’ Nazi brown shirts equivalents (who merely updated the fashion statement from historical neatly-pressed brown to slovenly black with accessory ski masks).

“Antifa” is merely the action arm of the democrat party’s effort to inoculate their puppet masters, so as to immunize them from recognition of their own wildly fascist strategy and actions. Since the MSM are all on board, this effort has been successful. Likewise, it is evil incarnate in today’s world to mislead masses of people by obvious manipulation of search results and shadow banning. Again, the “onboarded” MSM not only does not report it. Rather, they derogate those who do.

What is the result? “Our democracy” ™️, say the MSM is under perpetual threat by the “extreme right”, when, in fact, these same oracles deny even the existence of “extreme leftists”, who are, in fact perpetrating evil fascism 24/7 right before our eyes. If only “vaccines” against Covid were a tenth as potent at raising an immune response as “antifa”, google (sic), and the MSM at suppressing the accurate descriptors of our tyrannical rulers.


Microsoft. Copyright is a government-enforced monopoly.


Property rights are not a government enforced monopoly. It’s convenient to leave your property and come back to not find squatters on it, but of course you could hire someone to guard your property while you were gone. In essence, that is one of the services you expect your government to provide, but as we’ve seen in multiple cases, a government won’t evict squatters.

1 Like

Of course, Microsoft has been and remains a classic “restraint of trade” monopoly (or monopoly wannabe) through strategies such as the 1990s bundling of Internet Exploder as an “inseparable” component of Windows, thus torpedoing competing browsers on their platform, and bundled pre-installation licensing deals which forced vendors to pre-install Windows (and all of the other crap, such as Orifice preview editions) on every system they sell to obtain a favourable license price without which their systems wouldn’t be competitive if the customer had to pay for an individual license for the Microsoft junk. I have been calling this the “Microsoft Tax” since the early 2000s.

They’re still up to it, as you can see from my system narrative for 2023-09-23 where I had the audacity of nope to try to install the Google Chrome browser on a new pre-installed (no delete option) Windows 11 system.

I stand with my 1996 evaluation of the “Top Ten”.