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The surprising paradox of political leanings in Silicon Valley




Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an Apple product announcement at the Apple campus on September 10, 2013 in Cupertino, California.
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an Apple product announcement at the Apple campus on September 10, 2013 in Cupertino, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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A new Stanford study reveals a unique mix of political philosophies held by Silicon Valley power brokers.

The study, “Wealthy Elites’ Policy Preferences and Economic Inequality: The Case of Technology Entrepreneurs,” was presented last week at the American Political Science Association’s annual meeting. Despite the popular belief, the study showed that millionaire and billionaire tech elites are not typically libertarians. They overwhelmingly favor tax increases on the wealthy and programs to redistribute income to the poor.

The one place where they hew to conservative beliefs: regulation, and the influence of labor unions. As Farhad Manjoo writes in the New York Times, it's difficult to think of any politician who shares that mix of principles. Silicon Valley may represent a new direction for existing parties or fertile ground for an independent party to tap this mindset.

So what does this mean for politics and the future of tech? How much influence will big tech company leaders have in the future? And what drives certain political leanings in Silicon Valley and not others?

Guests:

Neil Malhotra, professor of political economy at Stanford University; he co-authored the recent study “Wealthy Elites’ Policy Preferences and Economic Inequality: The Case of Technology Entrepreneurs

Farhad Manjoo, “State of the Art” columnist for the New York Times’ Business Day; he authored the recent article, “Silicon Valley’s Politics: Liberal, With One Big Exception