Algorithmic Dystopia: Part 1

… to keep sheets of paper together.

Choose a company. Any company at large that is publicly owned will do.

Now go find a scandal. It won’t be hard.

If you look through the jargon, and the bullshit every move made is in pursuit of profit. This makes sense. As a whole organism the company is like the proverbial paperclip making machine.

The one goal of the modern corporation is not to just make money, but to make money now. If you dig a little further down you can find out why.

The word used like a crucifix to ward off criticism is, Shareholders.

We had to move the factor to China, the shareholders demanded the 5% profit increase. We had to fire 5000 people, the shareholders wanted a high dividend. We had to break the law, the shareholders would have fired the board and made the next one do it.

Not to be hyperbolic, but this level of obedience to a faceless force resounds a little to closely to the Nuremberg trial’s excuses of “I was only following orders,” for me.

The notion of stockholders conjures for me a room full of people in their 40s and 50s, with a few young guns in sharp suits smoking outside waiting for the meeting to start but according to research the truth is much grimmer. 10% of the wealthy own most of the stock that exists.

Moreover, people do not realize that most trading is done not by humans but by machines.

Algorithms designed to buy and sell stock. No human needed. Which means when a company follows the blind will of its “stock holders” they aren’t even following the will of the top 10% of wealthy people. They are following the notions of the automated machine that they built for them.

Add in holding companies, and mutual funds and you end up with a near endless loop of wealth that isn’t commanded by anyone, except the unthinking hand of machines that are built to eschew human decency in favor of making money.

This of course all makes sense. It’s a product of the Loss of Legacy.

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