The Best of Creative Computing Volume 1 (published 1976)

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You Are A Businessman (how corporations affect the availability of socially desirable goods and services, social development)

graphic of page

Don't get the idea that the question is one of profits versus
idealism. The question boils down to using technological advances -- of being
able to apply scientific knowledge to sol- _
ving our social problems -- some of which were caused by
technological advances -- with the same efficiency we can
supply cars, or frozen foods, or polyester clothing.

Here are six questions that Harvard University is studying
about this problem. Just on the basis of what you know and
feel -- and what you've found out doing some of the exercises
in this book -- what do you think might be a way of answering these questions
and solving the problems they describe?

1.How do the organization and goals of corporations -- directed at profits to
provide money to plow back into the business, salaries for
top-notch people, and a profit for the investors -- affect the ability
of our society to provide goods and services that are socially desirable, but
not necessarily profitable to any one group in society?

2.What does it cost our society to concentrate so much effort on economic growth
to provide jobs for as many people as possible rather
than investing some of our capital in social development?

3.How do you reconcile the incentive to individuals of profits and
achievement with the public need for goods and services that may not
return either to those providing it?

4.How can you reconcile the all too frequent fight between what is desirable to
us as individuals for our own welfare and what is desirable to us as members of
society from the standpoint of welfare?

5.Are the roles of government and private enterprise due for some major changes
because of the short-term as well as the long-term effects of technology?

6.How can advertising and other forms of communication be used in
public education to make people aware of the need to make decisions
affecting these questions before the pressures of value changes, social changes,
and economic and political stresses tear our society

Adapted from Technology and Saoial Change. Copyright 1973 by
The Educational Source, P.O. Box 103, Soquel, CA 95073.


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