An academic study carried out by researchers in the US and Germany has concluded that big-tech elites are completely different to all other people on the planet, and can be placed in their own class.
“Our research contributes to closing a research gap in societies with rising inequalities,” note the authors of the study from two German universities and the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies in New York.
The research centres around analysing language used in close to 50,000 tweets and other online statements by 100 of the richest tech-elites as listed by Forbes.
The researchers conclude that big-tech elites such as Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates display a ‘meritocratic’ worldview, meaning they do not see wealth as a source of their influence or success, but rather believe their innate abilities and more altruistic beliefs have enabled them to achieve power.
“We find that the 100 richest members of the tech world reveal distinctive attitudes that set them apart both from the general population and from other wealthy elites,” the study states.
The findings reveal that big-tech elites consistently talk about believing in democracy, being philanthropic, and helping make the world a better place for other people.
“Yet their position in a democratic system is contradictory – as a result of their enormous wealth, they have disproportionate influence over how discretionary income is spent,” the researchers note.
The researchers found that language used by the tech-elites regularly includes words such as ‘merit’, ‘distinct’, ‘excellent’, ‘value’, ‘virtue’, ‘advantage’, ‘superiority’, ‘worth’, ‘perfect’, ‘important’ and ‘significant’.
The researchers also note that:
“The tech elite may be thought of as a ‘class for itself’ in Marx’s sense – a social group that shares particular views of the world, which in this case means meritocratic, missionary, and inconsistent democratic ideology.”
The researchers noted that the study had limitations, ironically owing to the fact that they were not able to access language used by all the top 100 tech-elites because Twitter is banned in China.
The Twitter accounts they were able to access could also be managed by PR professionals and are obviously public projections of how the tech elites want to be thought of by the public at large, therefore the language used may be ‘strategic’.