Research Program

Limits to Building

Marc Andreessen’s essay It’s Time to Build has struck a chord with engineers and the digital innovation community. I’ll comment briefly on Andreessen’s description of left versus right politics. The Marxist left has a group of interesting thinkers including Nick Srnicek, Alex Williams, and Aaron Bastani who have speculative visions but not the mobilisational counter-power yet to bring them fully into being. The centrists are captured in the public service by the New Public Management. The right face regulatory capture by hedge fund, private equity, and venture capitalist interests. The Ayn Rand-influenced libertarians are a niche political subculture on their own. Finally, a decade of austerity budgets, low wage growth, fears of deflation, and growing debt acts as a macro-level dampener on stimulus-driven innovation. To realise Andreessen’s vision we need political will, financing, and market demand.