Our future was supposed to be bright and shiny. I think we messed up somewhere along the line. I do not normally write about politics, and I try to keep this blog generally upbeat. While I am busy building out my company and seeing good growth and support from the people we serve, there are darker issues cropping up that are going to color how we look at our country and the people who live here. Here are some general observations on the issues as I see them.
Where we are now is falling steadily backwards, where large companies like Apple are telling people what they can and cannot watch on their magical devices, dictating what technology can and cannot be used on devices and systems. Imagine if Microsoft was to say no to Flash like Apple has, it would be a disaster that would invite the US Department of Justice to come visit Microsoft HQ in Redmond. Apple though – it is hubris to think that people will not work their way around restrictions and this includes flash. The litany of jail broken phones (security flaws and all) testifies to the fact that people will alter the software running a system so that they can do what they want to do. Apple also needs to learn that people want racy material – porn is still a huge industry worldwide, they might was well profit from it like other companies have. Amazon, Ebay, and many other companies have figured this simple equation out, porn and racy material sells, and sells well. That is why there are such things as the “adult” section on many web sites. Companies dictating morality has always been a disaster for that company, eventually morals change over time, just say no when the temptation gets too great.
Then we are faced with the crisis in labor, where something strange has happened, do we really want to also go back to different golden moment, the 1920’s where there was no FDIC, no Social Security, no health care if you could not afford it. The papers oath that put many into work houses? In many ways with our 60-80 hour work weeks that we accept at work we lost our Union negotiated 40 hour work weeks and are no better off than our 1920 compatriots in industry. We still work very long hours for pay that has not increased in an increasingly uncertain work environment. The dissolution of the Unions has paved the way to degrading real wages and an increase in working hours in work environments that may or may not be unsafe to a person’s health. It is good to get up and away from the computer for a couple of minutes every hour, some folks do not have that luxury as they labor under “metrics” that are in many ways physically impossible to deliver on and deliver a good customer experience in solving a problem or answering a question. The party of “no” and the party of “yes” have both lost their way on these issues; rather the infighting between them has lead to realizable losses to employment and employability undermining the “American dream”. My kids might not do as well as I have done, that alone is a tragedy. Multiply that by millions, and we are seeing dissolution of the United States as a progressive and inventive society. Humans are as disposable as Bic Pens, and that ignores the potential of every worker, and is immeasurably devaluing to human potential.
We have also forgotten the idea that people might just want and need a bit of privacy in our daily lives in favor of the “social graph”. We want to share the cool things we do, but we don’t want those cool things to keep us from being employed or enjoying our quality of life. We want a little privacy to go along with the things we share with our friends, because not everything we do is for public consumption. We might want to keep some moments intensely personal, like informing family that a member of the family might have cancer, or that they are now 150 days sober, or something else that an employer might take a dim view of. Corporations are in their businesses to make money, which is the reality of modern business; that goal should be tempered somewhere at a midpoint between making money and keeping us safe from those that would abuse that information. It would be tragic if we cannot find this midpoint – people are going to suddenly find out they are unemployable because a corporation has decided that the “social graph” should be more open and available to everyone, including the private bits of life. As long as people are foolish enough to post things that should be kept off the internet, we need to find a midpoint between monetizing the information, and a person’s need for privacy on very sensitive information. This is regardless of how it got there; we need to reaffirm our commitment to keeping something’s out of “cache” forever.
We have forgotten that there are many wonderful people out there that wish us well, but it seems that we are focused on the circus of the absurd where everyone is out to get us. Not everyone is a member of a terrorist organization, wants to be part of a militia, or wants to carry poorly spelled signs on a street corner. Some of us are really just simply nice people who might lean a little right or lean a little to the left. It is in that wonderful diversity of opinion, age, race, religious beliefs, and tolerance for each other that we really do shine and show off the best of humanity. We are not at our best when we are threatening to kill, maim, or otherwise silence those wonderful voices of dissent and alternative opinions. Our future is built upon people who think differently, see the unexpected, and then do some very alternative work to make that future happen. Homogeneity is not going to solve our water, air, power, or infrastructure issues. We need those dissenting opinions today to solve tomorrows national issues, unfortunately we are silencing them, meaning we cannot solve our nation’s problems today, we have to wait until something we need today is invented in some other country.
It used to be that we had two political parties that at times did try to work together to accomplish the common good for American People. It was two parties that passed the Social Security Act, FDIC Insurance, the Equal Opportunity Act, and under Johnson the “great society” ideal. Rather now we have a party of “no” and a party of “yes”, I hope that in 2012 we will not see a complete role reversal of roles. The gridlock in all political provinces has become a national liability; it is time for our parties to work together again to solve national issues. One party has never been able to go it totally alone.
It used to be that we would unite for a common good, when the planes hit the World Trade Center in 2001 this nation pulled together in ways that I had never personally seen. Now we are broken and fractured, fodder for demagogy and “hard liners” that have forgotten that we are people, not numbers in a statistic. We don’t need Vaseline under our eyes to cry, when we have to make the hard choice of feeding our children or putting gas in the car so we can get back and forth to work. The recession has had a devastating effect on all walks of life, it is time we start looking to uplift ourselves and our nation rather than spend our time squabbling over the leftovers on the table.
While I generally try to be upbeat and attempt at being realistic in how I view the world we have found ourselves at the tail end of a devastating two years economically and socially. While some of these changes started well over 10 years ago such as the use of Perma Temps in technology, the net effect is culminating today. We have the time and energy to revision our society as a progressive, advanced, and innovative society like we were able to envision in the 1940’s and in the 1960’s, and 1990’s. We should be doing this and it is happening in pockets across the nation, but do we have the national and personal will to be what we should be.
This is my personal opinion, and does not reflect the opinion of anyone else around me, who employs me, who might employ me, or who might otherwise have any passing interest in what I might be up to today.
Related articles by Zemanta
- The Dogs of War: Apple vs. Google vs. Microsoft (wired.com)
- In A Center-Left Country, Republicans Need Our Concern (alan.com)
- Arianna Huffington: Shorting The Middle Class: The Real Wall Street Crime (huffingtonpost.com)
(Cross-posted @ TechWag )