A Reader Reminds Us That It Wasn't Immigrants Who Invented The Computer Industry
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08/10/08 - A Former Census Employee Notes, Once Again, Hmong SSI Use

Re: Norm Matloff's Tamar Jacoby–"Silicon Valley Would Not Exist Without Immigration." Wrong!

James Bowery [email him] wrote:

Matloff ignores the obvious fact that Silicon Valley would not exist without the Midwestern middle class WASPs. As Tom Wolfe documents in his Forbes article:, Robert Noyce and His Congregation,[August 25, 1997] virtually all of the essential inventions upon which Silicon Valley was founded were created by the much-derided, non-"vibrant", "white-bread", "middle class" of "fly-over country".

Last month I asked the aging Bob Johnson—former CTO of Burroughs Corporation when it was a leading mainframe company in Minneapolis where he developed the magnetic ink you see on the bottom of your checks—what he thought caused the loss of the Midwestern high tech leadership to the coasts, and he said it was the financial dominance of the coasts.

That squares with what I observed while at Control Data Corporation/Cray Research, Inc.

The reason Bill Norris and Seymour Cray were able to start CDC thence Cray Research was because they violated SEC regs and went around selling stock at PTA meetings, making a lot of middle class people retire very comfortably. My late father bought some Cray stock early on which helped greatly with his retirement.

When I was at CDC in Arden Hills, MN attempting to deploy the mass market version of the PLATO network with Internet-like capabilities (the system that Ray Ozzie (Bill Gates' replacement at Microsoft) cut his teeth on) in 1980 the primary resistance was from a middle management that, due to the financial press' hostility toward Norris's vision of a society disintermediated by computer networking, small high-tech farms and locally produced and consumed essentials—had itself grown hostile to Norris.

My proposed solution is simple to state but will perhaps require a war to institute:

Replace all taxes on economic activity with a tax on net-assets, assessed at their in-place liquidation value, at the risk free interest rate (which according to modern portfolio theory is the short-term US Treasury rate) so as to extract all economic rents from the private sector, and then, to prevent public sector rent-seeking in pork-barrel politics, disperse those funds evenly in a dividend to all citizens, as the beneficiaries of the land-trust called the United States.

That will not only stop the vicious centralization of power in the private and public sectors, but it will clarify the role of immigration—it is a dilution of the  benefits intended for the Posterity of the Founders of the land trust called The United States of America.

James Bowery's previous letter is here.

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