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215

Nothing Ventured

A look at the rhetoric versus the reality of venture capital.

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by Nick Serpe. "Silicon Valley wants to revitalize the Rust Belt with venture capital. The story of venture suggests we shouldn’t hold our breath."

? (2018). Nothing Ventured. Logic Magazine, 5, pp. 215-224

216

Elite segments of the tech sector sense that the political fissures exposed by Trump's victory are entwined with plutocratic entrenchment and diminished opportunities for the working class. So they are eager to prove that they can ease economic malaise by bringing growth to regions with very little of it. And the instrument of that growth, they believe, is venture capital.

The Comeback Cities Tour belongs to a long tradition. Venture capital represents a very small part of US GDP, but it plays an important ideological role. In times of crisis, when financiers have felt the need to justify their activities to the broader public, they have held up venture capital as a force for good - as an engine of technological development and economic growth that benefits everyone. Venture capitalists risk their own money to build companies that contribute to a dynamic economy. The reality, however, is that the benefits of venture, like those of the financial sector as a whole, flow primarily to rich investors. Throughout its history, venture capital has been successfully deployed to conceal this reality, soothing popular hatred of the bankers while advancing their agenda.

this is great

—p.216 missing author 3 weeks, 6 days ago

Elite segments of the tech sector sense that the political fissures exposed by Trump's victory are entwined with plutocratic entrenchment and diminished opportunities for the working class. So they are eager to prove that they can ease economic malaise by bringing growth to regions with very little of it. And the instrument of that growth, they believe, is venture capital.

The Comeback Cities Tour belongs to a long tradition. Venture capital represents a very small part of US GDP, but it plays an important ideological role. In times of crisis, when financiers have felt the need to justify their activities to the broader public, they have held up venture capital as a force for good - as an engine of technological development and economic growth that benefits everyone. Venture capitalists risk their own money to build companies that contribute to a dynamic economy. The reality, however, is that the benefits of venture, like those of the financial sector as a whole, flow primarily to rich investors. Throughout its history, venture capital has been successfully deployed to conceal this reality, soothing popular hatred of the bankers while advancing their agenda.

this is great

—p.216 missing author 3 weeks, 6 days ago
222

The worldwide decline in corporate profitability in the last half century has led investors to chase easy sources of profit. Sometimes that leads to investment in high-growth technology firms - many of which turn out to be duds or scams, or simply elaborate schemes to lower labor costs in existing industries. But the consistent result, as Robert Brenner has argued, is "a world economy in which the continuation of capital accumulation has come literally to depend upon historic waves of speculation, carefully nurtured ad rationalized by state policy makers." Venture capitalists help propel the waves of speculation upon which our current regime of capital accumulation depends.

—p.222 missing author 3 weeks, 6 days ago

The worldwide decline in corporate profitability in the last half century has led investors to chase easy sources of profit. Sometimes that leads to investment in high-growth technology firms - many of which turn out to be duds or scams, or simply elaborate schemes to lower labor costs in existing industries. But the consistent result, as Robert Brenner has argued, is "a world economy in which the continuation of capital accumulation has come literally to depend upon historic waves of speculation, carefully nurtured ad rationalized by state policy makers." Venture capitalists help propel the waves of speculation upon which our current regime of capital accumulation depends.

—p.222 missing author 3 weeks, 6 days ago
223

The paltry funds pledged by investors following the tour indicates how seriously people in regions decimated by decades of capital flight and austerity should take the comparison. We can blame venture capitalists for not taking risks, but recent history has made it clear that the system is designed so that risk falls onto the public, and the rewards go to the people who already have everything. Maybe we should stop outsourcing our dreams to people whose imaginations are bounded by the bottom line.

—p.223 missing author 1 week, 4 days ago

The paltry funds pledged by investors following the tour indicates how seriously people in regions decimated by decades of capital flight and austerity should take the comparison. We can blame venture capitalists for not taking risks, but recent history has made it clear that the system is designed so that risk falls onto the public, and the rewards go to the people who already have everything. Maybe we should stop outsourcing our dreams to people whose imaginations are bounded by the bottom line.

—p.223 missing author 1 week, 4 days ago