Sunday, May 26, 2013

The anti-Google crowd has a point

I'm looking at this backlash against Google and other SV tech co.s and surprisingly find myself on the side of the 'backlasher's. The news articles emphasize the SF hippies, but I think the deep root of it all is the basic social contract these companies are breaking. There is an idea, and it works well. You start a business on the street. You probably hire people who are local, you serve people who are local. You pay taxes to the local government. The government fixes the roads and sets up bus service and educates your kids. Your customers increase in number and their ability to pay. Your business lasts longer. Google and co seem to believe they can get away with creating their own parallel universe of buses and other infrastructure. But they would do much better to pay more taxes, especially local taxes, so that EVERYONE had a better bus service. Yes, their customers are more from outside SV than not, but their workers live here. If SF becomes a shitty place to live they will start to lose workers. Workers will not feel safe/happy in SF. When they go somewhere else, they might start out working remotely for google, but they might develop more ties to a different local business where they work. They might start working for them. These companies might be competing with Google. Wouldn't it just be better for Google and Co. to simply pay a little extra in taxes and make SF a much better place to live in?

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