Near-billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya spoke with unusual frankness to, in his words, the “leaders of the future” at Stanford Graduate School of Business in November 2017.
Palihapitiya: “there are about 150 people who run the world – [they’re not politicians] anybody who wants to go into politics, they’re all f**king puppets.
There are 150, and they’re all men, who run the world. They control most of the important assets and the money flows – they are not the tech entrepreneurs.”
“When you get behind the curtain and see how that world works what you realise is that it’s unfairly set up for them and their progeny.”
Palihapitiya doesn’t mention who the 150 are, apart from the Kochs – who get a mention for their malign but impressive (according to Palihapitiya) ability to insert their views into the minds of others.
But: The Kochs are in the list of top 30 richest billionaires in the world, so you may find more of the 150 in our list of the world’s billionaires.
Watch the video here:
Palihapitiya’s solution to unfairness is even more capitalism – perhaps not surprising as he’s a venture capitalist. He says he’ll “play the game” rather than attempt reform from outside the current economic system, and capture “capital, influence and assets” so that he can offer alternative views to the people.
He’s determined not to become corrupted by extreme wealth.
Palihapitiya was also Facebook’s vice president for user growth but now he warns against using social networks:
“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,”
Has Chamath Palihapitiya fallen for a conspiracy theory?
Palihapitiya’s “there are about 150 people who run the world” does sound similar to a statement made by German politician Walther Rathenau in 1909:
“Three hundred men, all of whom know one another, guide the economic destinies of the Continent and seek their successors from their own milieu.”
Rathenau maintained that he was referring to business people, but antisemites twisted his words, weaving his statement into baseless conspiracy theories that were later used by the Nazis.
In Palihapitiya’s talk he does not make simplistic accusations, allege a murky web of connections, or mention race or religion – so he is not explicitly endorsing a conspiracy theory. That said, as with Rathenau’s statement, it would be easy for conspiracy theorists to misinterpret Palihapitiya’s words.