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Marc Andreessen and Sheryl Sandberg Say Tech Is Not Driving Income Inequality

Stashed in: Silicon Valley!, Marc Andreessen, @sherylsandberg, inequality

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Are they right? Or are they biased? Or are they right AND biased?

Here, the exchange between Murray and Andreessen grew slightly testy, with Andreessen arguing that technology is in no way driving inequality. (As an aside, I’d love to hear Andreessen and fellow investor and futurist Steve Jurvetson – who thinks technology is accelerating the rich-poor gap — discuss the issue.)

As far as Andreessen could tell, there are more jobs than ever, and we’re seeing the biggest reduction in poverty that the world has seen. (He’s right, according to the World Bank, which said last month that the number of people living in extreme poverty is likely to fall below 10 percent of the world’s population for the first time this year.)

While Andreessen observed that “global inequality is falling not rising,”  he did concede that “within countries and industries,” inequality is an issue to be addressed. Pressed on that point — Murray hinted at the vast and growing gap in pay for executives and the rank and file — Andreessen asked, again to laughter: “Is this Fortune magazine? Did I stumble into an International Workers Party conference?”

Sandberg was less cavalier, noting that inequality, particularly when it comes to the accessibility of a good education, is a “huge issue in our country and the world.” But she, too, fought against the notion that technology itself is creating negative economic impacts for some in society. In her view, “technology creates a cure and a treatment” for a growing number of the world’s woes, including by helping to measure progress around education, the treatment of malaria, and to sell crops for more competitive prices.

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