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tv   Ethan Baron on Silicon Valley  CSPAN  March 4, 2017 3:35pm-3:45pm EST

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panel discussion on the joyses of reading. miami book fair co-founder mitchal kaplan will join us along with the director of the creative writing program at florida international university in miami and the author of 20 books including water to the angels, the man who invented christmas and last train to paradise. also anna menendez whose books include in cuba i was a german shepherd and the last war. we're also opening up the phone lines as well as taking viewer comments on e-mail, twitter and facebook so you can be a part of conversation. that's today at 6 p.m. eastern on c-span2's booktv. >> the c-span cities tour and booktv's look at san jose continues as we look at big tech and silicon valley's impact on the city and surrounding area. >> for someone who hasn't visited silicon valley, they would be driving around, and it wouldn't hook a whole lot
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different from a whole lot of other urban areas. but then you would start noticing logos, you might see people on the multicolored google bikes, you might see people on the apple bikes. so you'd see these buildings with the company logos on them, and that would give you a clue that you're here in the center of all things tech. silicon valley used to be -- [inaudible] it was a lovely, bucolic region full of apricot and apple trees, and then the tech industry came in, and now it's essentially the world hub for the technology industry. so you have almost all the major technology players headquartered here. you know, you have google, apple, facebook, twitter, airbnb, uber, and so it's pretty much taken over the entire region. most of the tech companies are fairly close to each other, you know, traffic permitting, they're probably a 15 minute drive, most of them, one from another.
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you go up in the hills where tesla is with the headquarters, across the bay they have their factory. apple's in cupertino, we're here in mountain view at google, and sort of any direction you look, you know, you throw a rock, you're going to hit a big tech company. the technology firms in silicon valley play an extremely important role in the local economy and in the california economy. they generate billions and billions of dollars in annual revenue and employ tens of thousands of people, you know, hundreds of thousands if you put them all together. so they're a massive driver of the economy, and they're central to the culture here because, you know, just about every person you look at is going to be either working for a tech company or in a business that supports the tech companies or is in a business that makes money off of having these people here getting paid well for doing no work in the tech firms. when i set out to write about tech tourism, i was, of course, surprised by the level of it that i discovered.
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but i also, you know, i talked to a professor of communications at stanford university right near here who described the visit to google, facebook, apple, everywhere as pilgrimages. and and it really drove home to me how central these companies have become to our lives. they've become so central that people want to visit them as the if they're some kind of holy grail, as if just being in their presence has value of some sort. and, of course, it highlighted the value of the selfie for many people, because that's the driving reason for it. it's also very interesting to me that you have a lot of people that are involved in tech in other countries and, of course, this is the epicenter here in silicon valley of technology. you know, it's world famous for that. and is so you have techieses from all over the world coming here just to sort of absorb the energy and witness these places. be the size of the role that the
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tech industry plays in silicon valley brings, you know, positives and negatives, and they're both really profound, you know, on either side of that. so you have all these people making good money and spending lots of money, supporting lots and lots of small businesses and large businesses. on the flip side of that, you have all these people making a lot of money who are coming here and driving up the rent and increasing the competition for apartments, increasing the competition for real estate. so it's become one of the most expensives in the world to live. for people that don't work in the tech sector, the pay is not necessarily going to be anything close to what the techies are making. so if you're trying to make ends meet here, you're going to have a lot of really high costs that derive directly from the presence of tech here in silicon valley. the real estate prices and rental prices in particular have caused a lot of discord in the community. i mean, and, you know, because it's unaffordable for many people who don't work in tech,
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you also have the issue of the cities that have these companies in them often have very low vacancy rates for rentals and real estate buying. so the satellite communities where many, many people live, their prices are going up, but then the people that are living there are also having to commute ridiculous distances and spend hours in their cars every day just to get to and from work. it's been well publicized that facebook has been trying to get housing built both for employees and also for non-employees because neville park is one of those areas that has very little housing compared to the amount of people that work there. and one thing that the companies do that is also controversial but also is a boon for reducing traffic, is they bus their workers to and from work in these big buseses that have wi-fi, you know? they work onboard.
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so you're getting a lot of people onto, you know, something that imitates public transportation and, therefore, reduces congestion on the road. and so at the same time, though, those people are living in places where they've gentrified regions of san francisco, for instance. and be those buses have become a flashpoint for protests, because they've been blocked, they've had things thrown at them. there's a lot of anger about the rising prices that are driving, you know, driving lower income people are these communities and sort of decimating artistic communities and music communities. the other, the other huge issue here that falls under the federal government with purview and affects the tech companies is immigration. and they rely heavily on the h-1b visa system which is a lottery system intended to bring in skilled workers who are moderately to well paid. but there have been a number of well-publicized, so-called abuses of that program in which,
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you know, outsourcing companies from india have brought in workers, and the american workers have ended up having to train those incoming workers before losing their own jobs. and so that's made people look at this programs which is essential to the tech firms for getting the best talent from overseas. that's made people really angry about how the program is used, and you don't always see the nuances of the way that program is applied. and there is also some criticism that the workers, that america should be training our own tech workers to occupy highly paid, highly skilled jobs and that if you're bringing in this talent from overseas, you're just inhibiting what should happen that's best for america in that view. you know, san jose has the good fortune and ill fortune to be -- well, now part of greater
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silicon valley. originally, it was a little south of sill -- silicon valley. now it's spread in every direction, and so you have san jose, essentially, part of the silicon valley landscape. at the same time, it's not the center. the center is where most people go for work. so san jose sees a lot of the benefits. you know, they have a lot of people that are employed in the tech sector that are living there, that are spending money, that are absorbing cultural activities and supporting local arts and culture, restaurants, bars, all the sort of spin-off businesseses from a booming economy. what really struck me about reporting on tourists coming to google and facebook and apple rather than going to alcatraz or the golden gate bring or sometimes in additioning to was -- in addition to was how deeply we're all affected by what silicon valley does.
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our lives can be drastically simplified by a new app, you know, by a new smartphone, by a better e-mail system, you know? we interact with silicon valley every day, you know? it reaches out ask -- reaches out and touches us through all these innovations that we're using every day all around the country i and all around the world. >> this is booktv on c-span2, television for serious readers. here's our prime time lineup. starting at 8 p.m. eastern, former president george w. bush talks about his paintings of american veterans. then at 9 p.m. eastern, danielle ofri discusses the relationship between doctors and patients. on booktv's "after words" program at 10 p.m. eastern, author and journalist sophia nelson reflects on the founding fathers' calls for a unified america. we wrap up our saturday prime

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