The emergence of a new tech elite in Silicon Valley and beyond raises questions about the economic reach, political influence, and social importance of this group. How do these inordinately influential people think about the world and about our common future? In this paper, we test a) whether members of the tech elite share a common, meritocratic view of the world, b) whether they have a “mission” for the future, and c) how they view democracy as a political system. Our data set consists of information about the 100 richest people in the tech world, according to Forbes, and rests on their published pronouncements on Twitter, as well as on their statements on the websites of their philanthropic endeavors. Automated “bag-of-words” text and sentiment analyses reveal that the tech elite has a more meritocratic view of the world than the general US Twitter-using population. The tech elite also frequently promise to “make the world a better place,” but they do not differ from other extremely wealthy people in this respect. However, their relationship to democracy is contradictory. Based on these results, we conclude that the tech elite may be thought of as a “class for itself” in Marx’s sense—a social group that shares particular views of the world, which in this case means meritocratic, missionary, and inconsistent democratic ideology.


Der Artikel "A Class for Itself? On the Worldviews of the New Tech Elite" (mit Hilke Brockmann und John Torpey) kann hier [externer Link] abgerufen werden.