Part 1 Can Apple and it’s cohorts be trusted with our future?
Apple don’t often float my boat. Any reader of my blog would have no problem drawing that conclusion.
There are a number of specific reasons why the corporate giants, (a club to which Apple, is one of the founding fathers, and main protagonists) have struggled over the years to light my fire, they are too numerous to go into in any depth here. However there is one main underlying issue that the vast majority of the Silicone Valley elite struggle to earn my trust and praise. Disruption.
Disruption, is not a new theory by any stretch of the imagination. It is a theory banded about at the birth of the industrial revolution, so no surprise that it is once again the buzz-word headlining the technological revolution within which we are now truly embedded.
As during the acceleration of the industrial revolution, the idea holders, who have manoeuvred themselves into the position of influencers, and the more convincing (and radical) have seized enough sway to attract both the custodians of power, enough in this case to convince them to relinquish enough power, for them to have given up control of the future.
The theory of disruption relies on the mantra that change is always good and the result not only justifies the cost, but does so in such a way that the benefits outweigh the cost to such a degree as to render it insignificant. The underlying method of disruption theory is that progress cannot be stopped, and should not be slowed, even if (in the case of the industrial revolution, and even more specifically in today’s example) society is not ready for it. In fact hard liners of the theory believe that the less that society has prepared, the more ideal the conditions for the progress of change to have effect. That society will have to change to accommodate the new reality the better the result. The more likely that the utopia of the vision will be realised.
The good that surrendering to the industrial revolution did cannot be denied, but utopia? The cost to us of the industrial revolution is only just being realised. The debt that we owe the planet for our race to the top has only just begun to be obvious to us, has only just been started to be serviced. Future generations will have us to thank for the debt that they owe.
Change must happen, society will adapt, change and embrace.
We have already dealt with untold consequences of the dream, civil unrest, massive wealth imbalance, war, famine. All part of the hidden compromise that was hidden to us until we happened upon them.
The change must happen, society will have to adapt mantra is now openly being recanted by the new purveyors of change, the owners of the new technical revolution.
What does this Utopia look like?
So what utopia are they peddling from Silicone Valley? And what cost can we expect this time?
The big promise is the obliteration of poverty. Not only on a local, or even national level. But globally. Now nobody in their right mind could argue against this, so the cost must be massive, right? Well on the surface of it, not really. The big idea is that technology and automation would be developed and encouraged to the point that the need to work will all but be eliminated. That technology be allowed to replace manual labour in almost every walk of life. And that the wealth that this new economy creates will be distributed evenly throughout the world, that every adult be paid, not a minimum wage but enough to allow them to not only survive, but thrive, own and play.
Now the idea that this will not suit everyone, that there will be some who struggle to be without work, those who gain and maintain their self worth and dignity by being employed. Has been realised and allowed for in the model, but justified through the reasoning that there will always be some work, however minimal and the entrepreneurial urge will replace the rest. Which on the surface of it is not that unbelievable.
The dream, to most, it has to be said would not be distasteful to most, and in an ideal world the holes are fairly difficult to pick in it even though it will very quickly lead to unemployment globally to hundreds of millions of hard working people.
It is when how this would be paid for that this Utopian dream starts to be unpicked by reality.
The finance for this would have to be found through taxation, on a globally yet to be seen scale. And that is where our would be global philanthropists already show their colours, and the gaping hole in their big ideas.
The working classes generally accept that in this world of massive global corporations that gorge on cash from around the world, from every village in every continent, that they should not only pay their dues in their homeland, but also at the point at which their wealth is created. So a global organisation should expect to have to pay taxes in every country that they have a presence.
Already the likes of Apple, Samsung, Google et al. Have run headlong into the tax laws of almost every country in which they are represented. Apple last year 2018, spent almost 2 x their global tax demand in legal fees to avoid taxation liabilities throughout the world.
Now that to some degree, in this age of acceptance of tax avoidance is slightly understandable. None of us find it shocking and you would have thought that this particular trend could easily be reversed in striving for utopia.
So then you look on a national, and even local level for evidence of some kind of acceptance of corporate responsibility, only to find that in the US over 800 billion dollars sits in taxation dispute in relation to just 6 companies in silicone valley, for last year alone!
So buyer be warned, until our largest companies and drivers of this Utopian dream begin to display even a modicum of social responsibility, treat their promises with the contempt they so richly deserve and, although the change is inevitable, resist it as long as you can and make sure that the cheques have been paid along the way.