Inhuman Business

It’s impossible to say if Business controls Society or Society controls business – they both control each other. But the net effect of this combination, in the 20th Century – was to eliminate people, as rational beings, capable of determining their destiny.

Something else was running the show – and they deferred to it. What as this something else? Whatever it was, it had plenty of power, so that nothing could appose it. I think we would not be too far wrong, if we assumed that it was Power itself – or something that monopolized it.

We could call it the Large Corporation – where the people who ran the corporations were not the people in its periphery – the people who worked for it, invested in it, bought its products or services, or acted as its suppliers.

This was a situation so frightening – and so irresistible – we could not understand it. So we didn’t even try.

What I have said, so far – is not original, and has been said many times. But it needs to be said again – with Business (business with a capital B) in the center of the picture.

Business is the dominant fact of our life, the world over. Everywhere, people are going to work – and would die without their jobs.

The question we should now ask ourselves is – when (and how) does Business get too big?

This is a tricky question, because the smallest of businesses quickly become part of a larger complex – such as the Military – Industrial Complex Eisenhower warned us about – which is still very much with us.

But this is not all – some of these complexes are benevolent – you have to have many people in them, for them to function well. Software Development is the perfect example of this.

The Computer ecosystem (a term they use themselves) is both benevolent and malevolent – as they will be the first to admit. It is very difficult – and sometimes impossible – to tease them apart. Each programmer will have to make these decisions for himself (or herself) as part of their work – but they are poorly equipped for doing this. They have to have their jobs also.

The TV show Silicon Valley demonstrates this problem, over and over again, at a superficial level – but does not try get its viewers to consider the deeper questions – someplace they do not want to go.

What is the solution? There is no solution.


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