Magazine July 1, 2021, Issue

The End of the Bay Area Monoculture

A view of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, November 20, 2018 (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)
How the exodus from Silicon Valley is reshaping the politics of the tech industry

In 2018, Google withdrew from Proj­ect Maven, an artificial-intelligence partnership with the Pentagon, after 4,000 employees signed a petition in opposition to the program. The move was a stark display of corporate America’s transformation since the end of the Cold War. In the globalized, digital economy, Google counts at least as many foreigners as it does Americans among its share­holders, employees, and customers. What’s good for America might have been good for mid-century automakers, but it appears to have little bearing on what’s good for 21st-century tech giants.

Yet while corporations have shed their national allegiances, their local allegiances have intensified.

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