Peter Thiel on “The Tech Curse”

Peter Thiel gave a keynote address at the third National Conservatism conference in Miami, Florida on 2022-09-11. The title was “The Tech Curse”, and he likened the influence of big technology companies on California and the state’s dependence on them to the “resource curse” which seems to afflict many countries with abundant natural resources and an economy based upon exploiting and exporting them.

He argues that those offering alternatives to the madness which is California need a better agenda than “we’re not California”, and that rapidly rising real estate prices in destinations where escapees from the once-golden state are heading, such as Texas and Florida, may indicate they are moving in the direction of California and are cause for concern, not celebration. You can’t compete with China if your policies make it impossible for middle-class families to afford housing near places of work, or if you create a regulatory and financial environment where building things from atoms (as opposed to bits) is impossible or unprofitable.


“The California government worker earns 2x the private sector worker for the same job.”


Worth the time to listen. I think he is missing something. The wealth from the tech industry has propped up a failed system, but did it cause the failed system?

I think the root of most problems is the ability to approve of something with no cost. Tech, corporations, the “rich” will pay so let’s do it. Or worse, somebody in some future will pay, but none of us will pay.

Pfizer should give us the vaccine because we paid for it. Really. Did we pay or did the future somebody pay. I don’t recall the tax increase. We can lock down and it doesn’t cost us anything. We get checks in the mail. We send Ukraine billions and I don’t recall a tax increase.

Tech maybe footed the bill, but the root cause is the ability to separate a decision from the cost or consequence of the decision. It turns an otherwise moral person into a thief whether they realize it or not.

This won’t be different in Texas or Florida.

The most important thing about not allowing deficit spending is that it ties the cost to the decision. Then you just have to make sure everyone has to pay their fair share which is currently up side down. The most important part of everyone having to pay the same percentage or take a percentage cut in their gov transfer isn’t the size of the budget. It is to tie the consequence to the decision.

Once the voting booth becomes an ATM …