Thursday, October 18, 2018

Amazon 1; Google 0

I trust you know that Google executives recently allowed themselves to be bullied out of a contract with the Defense Department. Apparently, their corporate principles do not contain loyalty to the nation.

Yesterday, Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest man, the CEO of Amazon, announced in San Francisco that he would not be bullied into unpatriotic gestures. He would not be party to a culture that was working to undermine national defense. Dare we mention that he must have been pleased to be able to shame the Google management. I am sure that he is happy to have the good publicity, too.

It shouldn’t be news when an American CEO announces that he is willing to enter into lucrative contracts with the Department of Defense. But thanks to the rise of campus-style political activism among Silicon Valley employees, and the capitulation of executives, that is the new reality.

In San Francisco this week, CEO Jeff Bezos said employee-activists would not bully Amazon into an anti-Pentagon posture on his watch. Asked about Google’s recent move to scrap a Pentagon project under pressure, he said it “doesn’t make any sense to me,” adding: “If big tech companies are going to turn their back on the U.S. Department of Defense, this country is going to be in trouble.”

And yet, these tech companies see themselves as citizens of the world, to quote Barack Obama’s famous phrase-- taken from Immanuel Kant, if you must know. As it happens, Google is not nearly as squeamish when it comes to working for China:

These high-minded engineers appear less exercised over Google’s moves to re-enter China and open its technology to the Communist Party’s censorship and ethnic repression. They nonetheless cowed their bosses. In a pointed response, Mr. Bezos said, “one of the jobs of the senior leadership team is to make the right decision even when it’s unpopular.”

As opposed to other tech tycoons Bezos dares assert that America is a great country. He seems to have gotten the memo. One can only wonder what New York governor Andrew Cuomo-- he who declared recently that America was never great-- thinks of that?

“I know everybody is very conflicted about the current politics in this country,” Mr. Bezos said, but it “is a great country, and it does need to be defended.” Well said, though it’s depressing that he would even have to say it.

[Addendum: See also this story, from Phys Org (via Maggie's Farm.)


ScienceABC123 said...

To stop a bully you must stand up to that bully, it's the only way.

Ares Olympus said...

Agreed, working for our DOD seems a better bet than working to help improve China's police state.

LS said...

Read that Amazon had a lobbyest hand hold the Dod in developing specs which make Amazon the only ltech company able to fulfill the contract.

Would not like either one involved. Both are anti American progressive minded companies.