From Chris Broniak, membership chair
I came across two items that at first glance might not appear to have much connection with each other. But they dovetail on one idea: how do we make sure we don’t lose sight of human values?
The first item was an article from Chip Cutter, managing editor at LinkedIn, entitled “The Fading American Dream? Maybe Companies Deserve More Of The Blame.” It’s not only adjuncts that feel anxious about their financial situations; for the vast majority of Americans, it’s become increasingly difficult to feel confident about their economic futures.
The article is an edited e-mail conversation between Cutter and business journalist Rick Wartzman, author of "The End of Loyalty: The Rise and Fall of Good Jobs in America." In it Wartzman recounts the shift in U.S. corporations’ relations with its employees since the end of World War II. In the conversation, Wartzman notes that
“… there is growing recognition [among many companies] that [the shift from stakeholder to shareholder value] has led to short-termism that's had bad effects on workers and others and companies not investing in their workers with higher compensation, giving labor a bigger share of a very large profit pie. Corporate profits have been near record highs in recent years. Workers just aren't sharing in the gains as they once did.”
The second item was a very short YouTube video named “What If Technology Were Designed For Human Values?”, from Time Well Spent, “a movement to stop technology platforms from hijacking our minds, and to start putting our best interests first.” Just as many businesses have put shareholder value ahead of stakeholder value, most (if not all) technology has made efficiency its highest value, putting the interests of advertisers ahead of all others’ interests.
In both cases, other human values – kindness, friendship, generosity, compassion – are being pushed aside. In both cases, those whose interests are being served are counting on both the marketplace and technology to keep the rest of us blissfully unaware of our humanity slowly being stripped away from us.
Don’t just “go with the flow.” Decide what you want the world to be. Choose consciously.