Bay Area billionaire Marc Andreessen says modern California looks like the fall of the Roman Empire

The man who bought the most expensive mansion in California history now says the state is ‘the ruins of a once great civilization’, likening conditions to the fall of Rome – but perhaps ignoring the role of a rich and incompetent ruling class in this analysis.

Silicon Valley venture capitalist Marc Andreessen’s company Andreessen Horowitz (now called a16z) is credited with catapulting Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb and a host of others into spectacular, meteoric wealth. But his Twitter persona generally looks more like a nine-year-old at a Scholastic Fart Joke book fair. For years he was known for never tweeting, until a very stupid and childish twitter fight with Twitter founder Jack Dorsey last December, but his Twitter account @pmarca has remained largely silent since early July.

Andreessen’s only tweet since July 5 had been his announcement that his company was hand over $350 million to the founding brother whose previous work was managed to lose about 40 billion dollars the valuation of the WeWork startup.

But Andreesen started tweeting again this week, and as Fortune notes, he compares From California to Rome in the year 250 AD For you history buffs, it was the time of Emperor Deciusthe essence of which was slaughter christians.

The top ten tweets of the tweetstorm are your standard VCs-welcoming rate, with a hint of distrust of the press. “A press briefing on the internet asks a lot of people I know, and people I don’t know, what I’ve been up to lately. God knows what they will eventually release,” he says. (The tweetstorm is also available as a blog post.)

He goes on to say that he and his family almost left California during the pandemic but decided to stay. “We are rationalizing our decision by choosing to live in the ruins of a once great civilization,” tweets Andreessen. “Like Rome in 250 AD perhaps, we live in the midst of a huge flowering of culture and creativity, but the roads are getting treacherous and no one really knows why.”

He goes on to recommend dozens of books, including two Hitler biographies.

The whole thread is a classic example of “sounding smart without saying anything”. And there are analogies with Rome at the time that hold. (There are it was a pandemic back then too!) But Andreessen’s point is that California is ruled by corrupt but incompetent emperors awash in spectacular wealth. And it may be that these corrupt emperors are in the tech sector, not the government sector.

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Image: Metro-Golden Mayer

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