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Greed, Politics and the Impact of Technology

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Posted on Jul 17, 2012

Eric Schmidt, left, and Peter Thiel debate technology at an event hosted by Fortune magazine in Aspen, Colo.

Two of America’s hyper-rich white men met in Aspen, Colo., on Monday night to debate the impact of technology on the globe. Eric Schmidt is the chairman of Google and, despite his $6.9 billion, is accused by his opponent, entrepreneur and Ron Paul bankroller Peter Thiel, of not being a good enough capitalist.

It’s a shouty discussion, thanks to a belligerent Thiel, but also an interesting one. Although at times it seems the two are talking past each other, they connect on a couple of direct conflicts. For one, Thiel argues that America is in innovative decline, “because the government has outlawed technology.” Schmidt, on the other hand, sees great progress in technology and blames “bad government” for the ills of the world. For example, Schmidt says of finance: “You either decide that banks are private businesses, in which they should be allowed to fail, or you decide that they are public, in which case they need to be regulated.”

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