waderoush writes "Despite legitimate concerns over sky-high rents, Ellis Act evictions, Google Bus traffic, and the like, the San Francisco Bay Area is perhaps the most prosperous, comfortable, enlightened, stimulating, and generative place to live in Western history. For satisfying parallels, you'd have to look to a place like Florence and a time like the Renaissance, argues an Xconomy essay entitled From Cosimo to Cosmos: The Medici Effect in Culture and Technology. Today's coder-kings are working to reinvent economic structures in much the same way Renaissance painters, poets, architects, and scientists were trying to extend the framework they'd inherited from classical Greece and Rome. And in the role of the Medici family, long Florence's most powerful rulers and art patrons, we have people like Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook, and Seth MacFarlane. Wait, what — Seth MacFarlane? Yes, the reboot of Carl Sagan's Cosmos starring Neil deGrasse Tyson (itself a tribute to the rise of science) wouldn't have happened without the involvement of a California media mogul. It's true that Silicon Valley can feel like Dante's Inferno if you're stuck in traffic on 101, or working 70-hour weeks as a code monkey at a doomed startup. But 'It would be unthinking, and ungrateful, to overlook the surplus we're reaping from the tech boom,' the essay argues."