While I think anyone over maybe 35 clearly sees the parallels with the last bubble, it is amusing to me to think of the younger cohort of tech workers and moguls, who really don't understand just how much it is not different this time. Every single story coming out of Silicon Valley these days has some corollary from 15 years ago.
I can't tell you how many people I see in their 20s who look me square in the face and say, "It's different this time."
I'm a tech worker (living in Bay Area) who's lived through all the bubbles. I have a bias toward wanting this current tech climate to implode as it did circa 2000, and I used to think that was inevitable because shit's so silly at the moment, but now I'm not so sure it will happen. I do get this gnawing feeling that actually things are different this time: Technology has a different role in society now than it did 10+ years ago. It truly underpins all facets of the global village (and all industries), versus the fringe NASDAQ years.
To be clear, I think there may be a bubble bursting in the near future, but that bubble would more likely be the broader global financial system which is still a goddamn mess due to exponentially overextended derivatives markets, but no, I don't think there is a narrow tech bubble that will burst anytime soon. Sadly.
I used to think this tech bubble would go a lot more quietly, but now I'm not so sure - it's a lot more class-stratified than the last one, which makes me think the results of the pop are going to be worse. Also one thing to keep in mind is that this bubble is being propped up by quantitative easing - essentially the government is giving free money to banks in order for them to lend (because of the 2008 crisis), and unlike the 2000 collapse where the government pivoted to pumping up a housing bubble to keep the economy humming along, this time the government literally has no other tools to spur investment. They're *already* giving away free money. Which means when the bubble does pop, it's going to be *really* nasty.
THis year will essentially be filled with around 70+ IPOs of much lower value than Twitter/Zynga/Facebook, ie diminishing gains for more investment. We have less than a year left on this current bubble, most likely, though we could be a lot further along in the collapse than we're aware of.
Unfortunately, I fear you may be correct. I've been hoping for the same, but I see no sign that this will end. As you pointed out, technology is part of our lives to a much greater extent than it was during the dot com mess.
But I still have to wonder. I'm looking for a place to live now (for a room in a shared apartment) and I keep coming across ads describing a bunch of roommates living together, where one or more work at Google/Facebook/etc. I'm astonished. If even people working at these large well valued companies have to have roommates, who exactly can afford to live here, like a normal person?
The rents go ever higher, more overpriced restaurants, boutiques and coffee places open and tech people are willing to pay for them. I wonder at what point would even they say "No, that's too much." Whatever the case, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
They will succeed in killing what's left of what's interesting in the city over time. Not much you can do, really. It isn't "tech" so to speak but the fact that the bored kids and grandkids of suburbia are making a ton of money and want to live somewhere fun. It's a reversal of the "white flight" in the 50s and 60s that left cities poor and allowed minorities to create interesting neighborhoods. Now the grandkids of white flight are returning to the city and the poor and minorities have to leave. Tech is just the vehicle that allows it to happen, but if it wasn't technology, it would be some other field that's focused around making wealth available to young, well-connected white kids.
Yes, it is happening in many cities across the country, but the extreme wealth at play makes it particularly stark in SF. Typically, neighborhoods go from poor, to artists and poor, to pioneering middle class, to middle class, to upper middle, etc. In SF, I think you are jumping a few steps.
Agreed, the gentrification here is accelerated by the lack of housing density as compared to other cities, and the fact that the people who are really making this money are so young, so well-connected and so wealthy. Google and Facebook pay their interns $80,000/yr and if you're 22 years old and making that kind of money, all you're going to care about is getting a place in the city and partying your face off, who cares who you displace to get that spot.
So if the rich continue pushing working and poor people out of their homes eventually there will be none left and thus none left to protest them and block their buses. I'm not sure why anyone expects the rich to think that this is a bad thing.
One problem is that it's not just the rich that are against building more housing. Plenty of people in San Francisco got theirs, and they don't want things changing - a common problem across the bay area that has resulted in hugely expensive housing - we just didn't build enough to keep up with growth.
Prop 13 really screwed a lot of this up. By freezing property taxes at the rate homeowners bought them, people who would have otherwise sold housing back to the market are sitting on those houses and watching the values skyrocket because there isn't a traditional housing turnover model like you see in other cities in other states. On top of that, property owners who would sell property to developers are encouraged to hold out as long as possible because it costs them literally nothing to sit on property until a developer is willing to pay whatever obscene price they want.
Repealing Prop 13 would go a long, LONG way to making our housing market less insane.
I agree. Repealing propositions in general would go a long way to making our state functional, too.