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Venture Capitalism, Gov. Snyder and the celebration of wealth

March 22, 2013

MiBiz has just published a new magazine entitled, The New Michigan Deal, which focuses on the rise of venture capitalism in this state.Picture 2

The first issue does stories on numerous stories on venture capitalists across the state, including Rick DeVos’ project known as Start Garden.

Included in the publication is an interview with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, who at one point himself was a venture capitalist, but now oversees the state’s push adopt neoliberal austerity policies that primarily benefit the business community and devastate working class people and the public sector.

The interview with Snyder begins by stating:

These days, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is synonymous with cutting the state’s budget, evaluating Detroit’s need for an emergency manager and shepherding the new right-to-work legislation.

This is an interesting way to begin the article, before they start asking Snyder questions. However, in many ways it is telling. It’s as if, MIBiz editorial staff recognize that the Governor is associated with numerous anti-worker and anti-democratic policies, but what we really want to talk with him about is his enthusiasm for venture capitalism in the state.

MiBiz could have said a great deal more about Snyder’s policy, but since they are writing for the corporate community and the wealthier sectors of society, there is no need to be too forth coming with how the policies of Snyder have impacted working class people and communities.

We wrote back in September, when MLive was taking the position that Snyder did not support a Right to Work policy, what the business press doesn’t want to fully acknowledge:

In addition to Synder having never said he would veto Right to Work legislation, his commitment to anti-union policies and positions has been pretty clear. In fact, one could argue that Snyder has been following the game plan of the West MI Policy Forum and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy ever since he took office nearly two years ago.

Snyder signed onto the elimination of the Michigan Business Tax, implemented the Emergency Financial Manager Law, has tied revenue sharing for municipalities by their ability to downsize their workforce and privatize public services and has supported greater movement to privatize public education by attacking public education.Picture 1

Snyder, Michigan and Venture Capitalism

The interview with Snyder revealed his enthusiasm for venture capitalism and how far the state has come in terms of the growing numbers of venture capitalists in recent years. Snyder talked about the need to change the “culture” of how business is done. This reference was to him being at a meeting with all suits and saying we needed a change, so he took his tie off.

Listen, changing ones clothing does not signify a change in culture. The same people who are the current venture capitalists might look like hipsters, but they are the same class of elites who come from the dominant class in this society. One indication that this is so, is looking at who else is featured in the issue of The New Michigan Deal. Of the 14 people who were interview or profiled, all 14 of them are White and 13 of the 14 are men. Doesn’t seem to be a change in the culture, at least not the dominant culture, to this writer.

This new publication from MiBiz, while it has a new title, is the same as their other publications in that it celebrates the achievements of the business class, while ignoring the impact on the working class.

The value of reading the publication and particularly the interview with Gov. Snyder, is that it makes clear what this class of people values…….wealth and the ability to make more of it.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Randy Marsh permalink
    March 23, 2013 3:51 pm

    If you want to start a business and are not already independently wealthy, there are basically two routes you can take to get the necessary startup money: A bank loan or private investment (aka, venture capital).

    You are using other people’s money either way, but if you go the VC route, it’s much easier to negotiate through tough times than with a bank, which will simply foreclosure on you when it makes sense for them monetarily. It happens all the time. There are many businesses that have managed to stay afloat when others were failing because they went the VC route instead of a bank loan.

    Like most things you write, Jeff, I’m confused at your point. We should dislike Snyder because he’s business friendly? We should not read MiBiz because they didn’t take the same story angle you would have? Anyone who interviews the governor should only be grilling him about his impact on the working class? We should be mad that most of the people in venture capital are wealthy white males?

    MiBiz is a business-oriented newsmag. Of course they are going to come at things from that perspective. To expect differently is like criticizing a dog for choosing to walk on four legs instead of two.

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