Leaving on a jet plane

I leave for Ghana (West Africa) in 48 hours.

Lately, my mind has been filled with thoughts of how a for-profit technology company could be run with social justice as its focus, and along a related line how technology can be used to fight poverty. The reading and writing I’ve done in the past few months has culminated into a new question for me:

What’s the point of technology if we’re not focusing on people?

I don’t mean that we focus on people so we can get more work out of them so we can turn a bigger profit. I mean make people the focus above everything else, even shareholder value. What would that look like?

Stay tuned to hear more.

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2 comments ↓

#1 Tyler Watson on 07.14.05 at 6:44 pm

That’s a great question about technology or even our economy. I fear that our mode of capitalism is turning into or has turned into a free market semi-Marxist system. No, I’m not complaining that we’re not laissez faire enough. My concern is that people in our economy are seen much like the worker in Marxism — only as a cog in the wheel. The people exist to support the system, not the other way around. In our system, people exist to build more so they can earn more so they can buy more so more people can build more. Technology, as you have pointed out seems to be on the same trajectory. We create better technology simply because it can sell and serve the interests of the shareholders. Don’t worry, I’m no luddite either. I think a prime example of your question is comparing the way Costco and Wal-Mart treat their employees. One gives precedence to the employee over the shareholder and supplies health care, pensions, etc. One’s average worker makes over $40k a year. The other company openly says that a full-time worker may not be able to support a family on their wages. Want to guess which company is which? In the end I think capitalism and technology will serve more good than ill. It’s just that we need to have our priorities in line. I’ll end the sermon here. Nice blog by the way.

#2 rwalling on 08.23.05 at 9:32 am

Thanks for your comments, Tyler. I plan to explore this topic in the near future.