Systemic Inequity

By editor on January 28, 2018 — 2 mins read

When you see things like Arab Spring, the riots in Paris and London, you see hundreds of thousands of people in the streets in Moscow, you see people standing up against the FARC, you see people in Occupy Wall Street. You think to yourself: Well, these are just spots of dissent. It’s not. They’re all correlated. And they’re correlated, in my opinion, from a sense of massive inequity that the majority of the world feels, versus the very few people who seem to have an enormous amount of equity. And then a deep-seated incentive to make sure that they translate that to their siblings, and their loved ones, and their kids.

That inequity now becomes systemic.

The way things get inverted, and reverted back to the mean, is through systems like this. [Systems] that create transparency, that create democratization. It is a trend much bigger than any one product.

For society to stay in a balanced mode, where we don’t devolve into anarchy, where Occupy Wall Street doesn’t devolve into violent protests every day in every city.

How do you make sure the violent problems are contained? You need to address the root cause. Part of the root cause are the systems that create the inequity in the first place. So I think things like Wikileaks, Twitter, Facebook to some degree, can help shine a light on it.

When you look at the trajectory of the world, what’s interesting is that it has this amazing regenerative power where it always used to go in cycles. Certain people would be in charge, they would generate a massive amount of wealth. But then, they did something that then became not as important and someone else came about. They pass along power, they pass along wealth creation. The robber barons passed their wealth on to their kids. Then the industrialists were in power. And now I think we’re starting a generation of technologists being able to really drive systemic change.

In all of these things, the problem is that those cycles are taking longer and longer, because there’s so much plaque that’s built up in the system from every generation that’s come before. That’s why it’s even more important that this disruption happens. (27:50)

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Editor's Note

These are Chamath Palihapitiya's words. They are probably some of the best thoughts on VC, business, and life, but were scattered around the Internet. They live now in this archive.