A wealthy investor who wants to break up big tech asks: ‘Why in the world would you want a country run by a few self-appointed capitalists?’

A wealthy investor who wants to break up big tech asks: ‘Why in the world would you want a country run by a few self-appointed capitalists?’

April 17, 2019 Off By readly




Nick Hanauer 100 list

Nick Hanauer unabashedly loves capitalism. He just hates what is right now.

"Being rapacious doesn’t make us capitalists. It makes us a–holes and sociopaths. If we want to sustain capitalism, we can and must do better," he told Business Insider in an interview for our "100 People Transforming Business" list.

Hanauer is the Seattle-based founder of the venture capital firm Second Ave Partners and the think tank Civic Ventures. He became a media figure several years ago as a lobbyist pushing for Seattle to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2020. He also wrote a viral Politico editorial titled "The Pitchforks Are Coming… for Us Plutocrats." He and his team have since started a podcast (appropriately called "Pitchfork Economics"), and he’s pushed for more worker rights and gun control policies.

In our interview, Hanauer said he’s tired of Americans looking toward billionaires and mega corporations for solutions to problems caused by historic levels of wealth, income, and opportunity inequality. This echoes an earlier conversation we’d had, where he said Amazon’s HQ2 search was a contest "to find America’s dumbest and most vulnerable mayor."

"There are only a few universal laws of … successful human social organization," he said. "Perhaps the most important one is that concentrated economic and political power is always bad. There are no examples in human history where you allowed economic and political power to concentrate and where people were like, ‘This is great.’"

Read more: ‘This is going to end badly for everyone’: Wealthy venture capitalist Nick Hanauer is on a mission to fix the American economy before it’s too late

"Why in the world would you want to have a country run by a few self-appointed capitalists? The point of democracy is to adjudicate conflicts in the public, not live in a society that [Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos and [JPMorgan Chase CEO] Jamie Dimon decide we should live in," he said.

He is especially concerned about the power wielded by the Big Four tech companies: Google (Alphabet), Amazon, Facebook, and Apple (despite having made a large chunk of his fortune from being an early Amazon investor).

"We can have a democracy where we get to decide how we want to live. And if it is possible for four companies to have that kind of power and impact on society — and to be ‘a force for good’? It’s destructive to the common good by definition."

He said that the United States needs to reinvigorate antitrust laws and focus more on reducing the influence on mega corporations rather than looking to them for building up communities’ infrastructure across the country.

"Neoliberal ideas concerning antitrust have allowed insane levels of anti-competitive behavior, reducing growth and innovation, and increasing all kinds of inequality, particularly spatial inequality, as regional companies disappear," he said, adding that the US would benefit more from 10 medium-sized companies rather than a single tech giant.

He’s going to keep pushing for these ideals in his attempt to help reform America’s capitalism, especially as the 2020 election approaches — and he’s happy to bother others in his class. 

"What I have said many times before is that if you want to bend the arc of history towards justice, you were going to antagonize some people — mostly rich people," he said.

SEE ALSO: INTRODUCING: The 10 people transforming how we think about capitalism

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Source of this (above) article: https://www.businessinsider.com/nick-hanauer-said-giant-corporations-cant-be-forces-for-good-2019-4