Charlotte Allen (who graduated from Stanford) examines the massive income inequality and “new feudalism” in Silicon Valley—as a sign of what’s happening across the United States:
Google is visually impressive, but this frenzy of energy and hipness hasn’t generated large numbers of jobs, much less what we think of as middle-class jobs, the kinds of unglamorous but solid employment that generates annual household incomes between $44,000 and $155,000. The state of California (according to a 2011 study by the Public Policy Institute of California) could boast in 1980 that some 60 percent of its families were middle-income as measured in today’s dollars, but by 2010 only 48 percent of California families fell into that category, and the income gap between the state’s highest and lowest earners had doubled. In Silicon Valley there has actually been a net job loss in tech-related industries over the past decade. According to figures collected by Joel Kotkin, the dotcom crash wiped out 70,000 jobs in the valley in a little over a single year, and since then the tech industry has added only 30,000 new ones, leaving the bay region with a net 40,000fewer jobs than existed in 2001.