The transformation the tech boom has wrought upon the Bay Area stands in sharper and sharper relief as years of out-migration by those who are priced out cements social inequality. If the Bay Area is no longer for them, who is it for?
The easy reply is that the Bay Area is being remade by and for tech workers against the interests of the poor. This idea animates a general antagonism towards tech workers, which manifests in several ways. The protests blockading employee buses in 2013 centered on private usage of public bus stops and lanes, as well as gentrification and tax breaks for tech companies, which undermine public transit — but they contained an undeniable dose of techie hate.
A culture war of sorts simmers today. Some on the Left see techies as a rich invasive species that is causing gentrification and deepening inequality. In Rebecca Solnit’s analogy, tech workers are to landlords evicting tenants what ivory buyers are to poachers killing elephants. What’s more, these same tech workers are responsible for creating platforms and services that disrupt the livelihoods of taxi drivers and turn scarce housing stock into hotel rooms.
Tech bosses claim that their companies empower people, generate positive energy, make it easier to share (for a fee), and create a more equal world. It is no wonder then that the industry attracts profound skepticism and hostility from those excluded from or displaced by it, not least because its messianic ethos swims awkwardly in a decidedly non-messianic sea of cash. But it’s a mistake to direct that hostility at tech workers themselves. The tech industry’s borders are difficult to define — spanning Alphabet, Amazon, and Apple. It employs miners, call center workers, assembly line operators, and software developers, all around the world. The focus of much media attention and misplaced ire — and of this article — is the software developer, software or hardware engineer, programmer, or interface designer in Silicon Valley. I use the term “tech workers” as a proxy for this cluster of occupations.
Continue to read.. https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/08/silicon-valley-gentrification-tech-sharing-economy