The tech baron seeking to ‘ethnically cleanse’ San Francisco

The tech baron seeking to ‘ethnically cleanse’ San Francisco

Gil Duran writes:

To fully grasp the current situation in San Francisco, where venture capitalists are trying to take control of City Hall, you must listen to Balaji Srinivasan. Before you do, steel yourself for what’s to come: A normal person could easily mistake his rambling train wrecks of thought for a crackpot’s ravings, but influential Silicon Valley billionaires regard him as a genius.

“Balaji has the highest rate of output per minute of good new ideas of anybody I’ve ever met,” wrote Marc Andreessen, co-founder of the V.C. firm Andreessen-Horowitz, in a blurb for Balaji’s 2022 book, The Network State: How to Start a New Country. The book outlines a plan for tech plutocrats to exit democracy and establish new sovereign territories. I mentioned Balaji’s ideas in two previous stories about Network State–related efforts in California—a proposed tech colony called California Forever and the tech-funded campaign to capture San Francisco’s government.

Balaji, a 43-year-old Long Island native who goes by his first name, has a solid Valley pedigree: He earned multiple degrees from Stanford University, founded multiple startups, became a partner at Andreessen-Horowitz and then served as chief technology officer at Coinbase. He is also the leader of a cultish and increasingly strident neo-reactionary tech political movement that sees American democracy as an enemy. In 2013, a New York Times story headlined “Silicon Valley Roused by Secession Call” described a speech in which he “told a group of young entrepreneurs that the United States had become ‘the Microsoft of nations’: outdated and obsolescent.”

“The speech won roars from the audience at Y Combinator, a leading start-up incubator,” reported the Times. Balaji paints a bleak picture of a dystopian future in a U.S. in chaos and decline, but his prophecies sometimes fall short. Last year, he lost $1 million in a public bet after wrongly predicting a massive surge in the price of Bitcoin.

Still, his appetite for autocracy is bottomless. [Continue reading…]

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