Massive Immorality

This, it seems to me, is the problem with our world. It has become so bad, its immorality cannot be seen – because it is so shocking.

We have to start over – and recognize that moral behavior is essential to our survival – especially in business.

And this means we have to define what moral behavior is. And we have to take this task seriously – and not just brush it aside, as an unimportant consideration.

Our prevailing attitude seems to be “We have to concentrate on making money!” With the implicit assumption, that morality is less important.

Throughout history, people have struggled to make power moral – usually unsuccessfully. And this time will not be any easier. Power Corrupts – and now we have more power to deal with – with the introduction of TV and the Computer.

We have to take a hard look at this new power.

Consider this:

Technology is a powerful force in our society. Data, software, and communication can be used for bad: to entrench unfair power structures, to undermine human rights, and to protect vested interests. But they can also be used for good: to make underrepresented people’s voices heard, to create opportunities for everyone, and to avert disasters.

But this is followed by:

Computing is pop culture. […] Pop culture holds a disdain for history. Pop culture is all about identity and feeling like you’re participating. It has nothing to do with cooperation, the past or the future—it’s living in the present. I think the same is true of most people who write code for money. They have no idea where [their culture came from].

Both of these are from Designing Data-Intensive Applications. A book about designing software.

The second quote is more important – people have no idea where their culture came from – or, for that matter – what it is. They just act it out.

As a person who once wrote code for money, and wrote much else for money – I developed an allergic reaction to it, and dropped out. The people I left behind, who had the same problem – simply ignored it.

The problem was too big for them to deal with. So it continues.

Stupidity can be Overcome by Power

This is a common belief, when any organization (an empire, for example) has passed its peak, and is in decline. The decline is always caused by a collection of stupidities – but the organization thinks it can overcome these by brute force – often military force.

Or it can use political force – forming coalitions that unite against a common threat. Or it can use both together – a very effective strategy – but one that always fails, eventually. The classic case was the rise and fall of the Roman Empire – that tried everything, but eventually failed completely.

Or let us take as an example, the late British Empire that made the British the most powerful, and the richest people in the world – for about one hundred years. I traveled in England in the Seventies, and noted how the Brits had not gotten over their fall to the poorest country in Europe – in less than twenty years.

The same could be said of the American Empire – that controlled much of the world in the Fifties and Sixties. Through a series of stupidities, it has gone into a steep decline. It still exists, but has to share power with other empires in decline – such as Russia.

I saw this in California, in the Eighties and Nineties – when I worked for a series of computer companies – all of whom failed. I began to wonder if a black cloud was following me around.

Computer companies (and software companies) are now beginning to see their stupidity – to see what they had been doing wrong – and figure out how to do it better. This progress is spotty – some parts of some companies have got the message – and other parts have not.

Whether this trend will continue in other industries remains to be seen.

Making a World That Works

I can refine this idea. The World worked very well when we were a minor species in it, but as we become more powerful – we have messed it up. And it is now up to us to straighten things out.

However, most people do not agree – the World is in no trouble (they are sure of that) and they are not responsible for saving it. The World has plenty of problems, they will say – what world doesn’t? But they can still take all they want, anytime they want.

The Economy is a solid as ever – and anyone who says otherwise is a danger to the world order.

Global Warming is just a lie – invented by some crackpot scientists.

People are Formed by Their Circumstances

This is as obvious as anything can be. Our bodies are the product of millions of years of evolution. And our minds are formed when we are small children – to be like the people we grew up with.

This growing up process does not create perfect copies – every person is different. But in America, in the 20th Century, there was a strong impulse to make everyone the same. That way, they could be more easily managed, or controlled.

The emphasis was on uniform progress. Making society into a vast machine – capable of turning out more machines. This was Middle-class, Midwestern America in the Fifties – that I grew up in – that manufactured most of the world’s industrial products.

But as adolescents in that economy (a period I can remember well) we knew it would not last. And we had to look for jobs elsewhere. And, sure enough, it did not last – and that vast area (most of the U.S) turned into the Rust Belt.

America lost it – and lost it big-time. The brilliant future Americans thought they had – turned into dust.

If Americans had been smart – they would have learned from this, and corrected their mistakes. But they were not smart. They had the mind of a machine – and machines that were not very smart.

But technology moved on – and produced a smart machine – the Computer. How would Americans use this? Poorly. They still had the mind of an industrial machine – and could not understand this new one. Human cultures can only change slowly – but technology can change rapidly.

This, I believe, is the best way to understand today’s world – that is composed of people formed by the Industrial Revolution (the 16th – 19th Centuries) that are living in a world controlled by the Computer – in the 21st Century.

A world they cannot, and do not want – to understand. The world that elected Trump.

However, this is the 90 percent – the 10 percent (that I belong to) are having no problem with this – and indeed, are welcoming, and enjoying it. We have access to many learning opportunities.

This is the gap that now distinguishes today’s world – people who are still living in a Industrial World – and people who are living in the Post-Industrial World (the Computer world).

The Perfect Book About the Perfect Woman

Sheryl Sandberg: From Bossy to Boss

This is a puff piece – written to make Sandburg and Facebook look perfect. Hidden safely below its covers are the manipulative mechanisms that Trump used to get into office.

It’s an easy read – and will set you back all of 99 cents.

Read it with the Kindle for PC app.

Making Promises You do Not Keep

This is such a common practice now, few object to it. But it still does not feel right to me – and I want to raise my feeble voice against it.

The common attitude seems to be “The only way to get ahead is doing whatever is necessary to survive in a highly competitive world.” Taking care of other people can wait for awhile.

But taking care of other people cannot wait – it has to be done now, as part of our normal practices – including business practices. This is what makes Business work – honesty. Trading defective products wrecks the entire trading process. It destroys the Market.

But this is going on. It’s all too easy, as life becomes more complicated – to sneak in a little dishonesty – to make a little more money for ourselves, at the expense of others. Nobody will notice. But whether anyone notices or not, does not matter. The atmosphere is poisoned for everyone.

I grew up in an American Midwest that produced most of the world’s products – but it is now a Rust Belt that produces nothing. Too many people were only interest in taking care of themselves – at the expense of others.

The result was the collapse of an entire era.

How I Helped Amazon Improve Their Product

The product was Amazon Web Services (AWS) the fastest growing, and most profitable part of Amazon.

I signed up for a free trial, and everything seemed to be working fine – until everything stopped working! I tried to explain my problem to their technical support – and I kept trying to explain my problem (I am stubborn person) . Finally they send me an email, suggesting a solution – and it worked! And not only that, they followed my suggestion to fix this problem with their other customers – the very next day!

My father used to say “The wheel that squeaks gets the grease!” But that only works if someone is around to apply the grease.

I had an unpleasant experience with another software company today – and I used PayPal to complain to them. At least PayPal is on my side – and I am waiting to see if the company is.