[...] Thiel answers the problem of unemployment and underemployment only with vague gestures, spouting platitudes like “Properly understood, technology is the one way for us to escape competition in a globalizing world.” But technology is not magic. As Thiel himself observes, “computers are tools.” It matters a great deal who wields them. And that’s the problem. Thiel skips the most important part of the equation: who will control that technology and how they will use it. That’s what Thiel never quite admits: the power law he exalts isn’t about technology at all — as its name implies, it’s about power. Though Thiel often extols the virtues of individualism, his vision of the individual stems from his beliefs about the power law. In effect, he turns Pareto’s vision into something approaching a system of ethics. Under this power-law ethic, individualism consists of certain people exerting their power unchecked, the way the founder of a monopolistic business leverages the power that comes from cornering a market in order to escape the destructiveness of competition. But the power-law ethic offers very little to those who lack power to begin with.