From an interesting (if sometimes chaotic) interview by Kara Swisher with Adam Fisher, author of Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley:
“Silicon Valley still actually makes things, but less and less. We had an economy that was based on making things first, making chips and then computers, and then making bits of software, and then at some point we started getting everything for free; in quotes, “free.” And it stopped being an economy that made things. It became an economy where people made money by extracting things, by mining data.
So it flipped from a making economy to an extraction economy, and we have all the dysfunction that you would see in a mining site in the third world. Mining economies, extraction economies, are kind of corrupt economies because one person or one company ends up controlling everything.”
Fascinating, rambling interview with stories that sometimes bring one up short. Worth reading (or listening to) in full.