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View Diary: No country for Zuckerbergs (193 comments)

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  •  BBB, I totally agree with the taxes point, BUT: (2+ / 0-)
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    DocGonzo, happymisanthropy

    Calling everyone who doesn't become a multi-millionaire "losers and cowards" reeks of the more repulsive type of Ayn-Randism.

    First, not wanting to dedicate your life to become rich or get into history does not make one a "loser and coward."

    And even non-"losers and cowards" who go on a venture are more likely to fail, or make do modestly, than to succeed big time. And quite often it will be for no fault of their own. That's just the nature of the game.

    Similarly, those who do become fabulously wealthy were not necessarily the smartest people in the room. There is such a huge element of luck and previous-conditions that go into the mix. In fact, when it comes to multi-million success, luck in its various forms is perhaps the biggest component.

    J.K. Rowling is a great writer. Zuckerberg is a wizard programmer and a cunning strategist. But I don't buy the idea that x years ago they were indeed the best in the world.

    A big gap between neo-liberal thinking and progressive thinking is that the former glorifies the winners as if they had blue blood flowing in their veins and all the rest of us should bow to them. Present-day Progressives while recognizing the achievements, also recognize the random element and the key contribution of publicly-paid-for infrastructure that helps such success become possible (say, the Internet?).

    Thanks for reading.

    •  Harvard (7+ / 0-)

      Zuckerberg isn't a "wizard" programmer. Facebook is a pretty bad app, and it took actual wizards after Zuckerberg to change the code underneath that nobody notices so Facebook could actually scale up to hundreds of millions of users - even though the app features everyone sees are still pretty crude.

      It's the basic idea of Facebook that works, and that the software works at all is a product of basic, not wizardly, programming skills. The success of Facebook comes from its rapidly growing popularity, which came from its seed population at Harvard, which is a school primarily defined by the richness of its social networks - the main reason people attend. That success was protected by good lawyers, which is another perk of going to Harvard.

      Likewise Bill Gates. His reputation is as some kind of genius programmer, but he wasn't even the main programmer at Microsoft when he started it. Gates' genius was seeing the business opportunity, especially in getting early monopolies on industries set to explode in growth. Gates also went to Harvard, as his father William Henry Gates Jr has been one of the top corporate lawyers in the country (as has III's mother).

      As someone who made a fortune on the 1990s dotcom boom through a lot of hard and smart work, I can tell you that luck is essential. But even better than luck is connections. Harvard was the perfect place for Facebook to have been born, and so it was.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Sun Oct 03, 2010 at 09:06:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Slight distinction... (3+ / 0-)
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      The Walrus, wsexson, Assaf

      The folks labelled as "losers and cowards" wasn't everyone who failed at business, but rather those who failed or didn't try...and then blamed taxes for their outcome.

      Many great business owners have a long string of failures mixed in with their successes.  The difference between them and losers like "Joe the Plumber" is that they didn't look for political scapegoats, but rather look at what they can do differently and actually learn from their failures.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sun Oct 03, 2010 at 09:11:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Joe "Plumber" is loser for many reasons (1+ / 0-)
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        I just felt the diary painted a rather broad brush of "losers and cowards" as a contrast to new-economy billionaires. I also think that I read an early version of the diary before it was somewhat softened and modified.

        I don't think the progressive movement, or any sane society for that matter, should build itself around idolizing instant billionaires, regardless of how much genuine credit they deserve for their riches (which is almost as a rule far less than what they'd like to have us believe).

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