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How Washington is like Silicon Valley
By Dave Winer on Thursday, July 07, 2011 at 6:18 PM.

The growth in Silicon Valley, which has been huge, happens in fits and starts. Periods of expansion, followed by stagnation, and out of the remains rises something new. Often bringing along very little of the best of the previous generation. #

When stagnation is on the rise it's because the industry has become too introverted. The leading companies only listen to each other. They fight "wars," viewing the users in aggregate, as numbers, as powerless individuals. Tactical pieces to be moved around and used to attack each other. #

I've been trying to figure out what's going on in Washington because it's so dramatic and frightening. On one level, I think the Repubs and Dems work for the same bosses, the people who pay for their campaigns. In that model, what we're seeing is a giant stage play. And at the other end of the pipe, trillions of dollars that were supposed to flow to the people, through health care and social security, now won't. Maybe they flow somewhere else. For a long time I was pretty sure that's what was going on. The same kind of footsie that often happens in the tech industry (for example, the animus between Apple and Google, at least somewhat serves both, by forcing Microsoft into a lower less-relevant tier).  #

So maybe it's all a play. But lately I don't think so. Because if it is, I just don't see what could possibly be going on behind the scenes that makes any sense for anyone. It just seems dysfunctional, self-destructive in the extreme, and likely to finally wake up the sleeping electorate. (I hope.) #

More likely, I believe, it's just the same thing that the tech guys do. The actual world is too complicated to comprehend in total. So as a company gets bigger and bigger, it focuses more and more inwardly, to keep the complexity manageable, on a human scale. Instead of worrying about a new generation of voters, focus instead on defeating the other party. The press that travels in their circles views the electorate the same way.  #

In the tech industry, the stagnation cycle often ends with a user-started venture that gives the people what they actually want, not limited by what the industry is willing to give them. I wonder if that can happen in politics as well? #

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