People Last

Original Techcrunch

Important, People First is not a politically driven group, but in modern America, it is increasingly hard to keep politics out of business as the two seem to get rammed against each other over and over again.

This article falls into three parts, the first referencing a politically oriented post, the second from a VC and the third my thoughts about the connection between the two.


David Frier travels by the nickname ‘Kahomono’. In his words …

Yeah, it’s a funny nickname. Americans say, “you lucky dog!” to the guy with the woman who’s just too amazing for him. In Japan they call that guy, Kahomono.

So there you go. I don’t know too much about him, other than what he writes about here often resonates with me strongly. This post provided one such resonance and I wanted to share, as well as provide some extended thinking.

Kahomono

His post over the weekend highlighted what he sees as the vision of the Republican agenda ….

… a desperate work-force willing to give all the labor needed to enrich the capitalists, that costs no more than is necessary to avoid starving it to death.

… harsh … but fair ? Before you answer, consider the following list of policy goals that he sees are in place to ensure delivery on that agenda.

Women must not have reproductive freedom. A mother will be desperate to keep her babies from starving, so will be willing to work for less. Defunding Planned Parenthood and opposing all but the hilariously ineffective “abstinence-only” sex education suddenly makes sense.
The state must never intervene to prevent starvation. A population in fear of starving is less able to negotiate decent wages for labor, but has to take whatever they can get. The opposition to WIC, SNAP, a living minimum wage or a universal basic income suddenly makes sense.
Health care must stay expensive, and tied to employment. A population in fear of loved ones dying from treatable conditions is less able to negotiate decent wages for labor, but has to take whatever they can get. The rabid hatred of even such a wimpy half-measure as the ACA suddenly makes sense.
The conditions of employment must be completely at the whim of the employer. Workplace safety or wrongful termination enforcement by the government is unacceptable. Mockery of OSHA suddenly makes sense.
Government’s sole function is to protect the property rights of the capitalists. The Golden Rule is absolute. Bizarre legislation like the DMCA suddenly makes sense. A willingness to destroy the ecosystem in pursuit of the next quarter’s EPS suddenly makes sense.

A Couple Of Insights

‘Right To Work’

This legislation now exists in 28 of the 50 states. To remind …

Under Right To Work Laws, employees in unionized workplaces may not be compelled to join a union, nor compelled to pay for any part of the cost of union representation, while generally receiving the same benefits as union members who do contribute.

Employment at Will

This one is a little more complicated …. for details check here — but bottom line — make no mistake if you are fired at will — good luck with proving that you have had wrong done unto you.

At-will employment is a term used in U.S. labor law for contractual relationships in which an employee can be dismissed by an employer for any reason (that is, without having to establish “just cause” for termination), and without warning.

Techcrunch

Meanwhile, if you read this article from Techcrunch written by Navin Chaddha (partner and overall leadership of Mayfield) and also referenced under the image I used at the top of this article, we find this observation …

Far too often, humans are taken for granted. Which is to say, we need to think of people not just as consumers but collectively as the society that shapes technology just as much as technology shapes society.

Think about that.

Politicians who we vote into power are demonstrating a ‘churn and burn’ approach to the very people that put them in power.

The ‘evil corporations’ that those very politicans are voted into position to help protect us are recognizing that ‘consumers’ are actually people.

Granted, it is but one ‘tech voice’ talking about people being more than consumers (voters?) … but I would add the voices of Tim Cook, Sam Altman and others to that category just as quickly as I would exclude Mr. Thiel and his ilk.

Connecting The Dots

There are many ways that tech leaders appear to be — in some cases are — revolting against Trump and his cohorts, in a way that some of the more traditional corporations are not. And it got me to wondering if this comes down to an understanding and recogniton of the moral reponsibility that their corporations have (to varying degrees of satisfaction), not just for the people that work for them — but throughout their virtual eco-system, their customers, their partners and society at large.

So, some questions …

  • Politics aside — is there a different way to reconcile the republican agenda to their policy goals?
  • Am I being unfair to non tech CEOs? Are they just as protective of ‘we the people’ as tech CEOs?
  • Is there a flip going on?

And if there is a flip, is it occuring

  • naturally?
  • as a reaction to the insanity that is this world today?
  • because it serves the corporation?

That’s what I am thinking …. what say you? Let me know. Comment away.