Saturday, January 10, 2015

Homelessness in Google's backyard



  1. Why doesn't he just search for a job on Google? [/snark]
    Seriously, while this is quite symbolic, I think the problem of growing inequality and inequity in the US and the world goes much beyond Google, as you have previously so eloquently written about. They're just another cog in the capitalist industrial wheel, but what makes them almost harder to swallow than some of the other drivers of destruction (Wall St, big banks, big oil, etc) is that they promote themselves as the good guys in service of change, when in actuality they are just putting a bigger engine on the hamster wheel.

  2. Well said, Sven. I can't tell you how many people I ran into at Google who literally think they are saving the world. It's not so obvious what Google stands for when we look at their user-friendly web services, home page doodles and such. Like you said, they ultimately turbo-charge the economic engine which is responsible for the extraction industry feeding a consumerist society. Every ad they sell promotes a product or a service which eventually comes from the planet leaving much pollution and destruction in its wake. Inequality in Mountain View or gentrification in San Francisco are just some of the local side-effects. While some suffer, some are enjoying themselves with fancy gadgets of questionable necessity at CES in Vegas!

    It's a sign that we might have even reached the limits of consumerism when the latest news makers are internet connected rifle scopes that let family and friends follow you around a hunting expedition! Nero's party continues while Rome burns. Nothing new there, I guess!

  3. Great comments. Even their commute buses for their employees--saving the environment, right?--muscle out public buses for other people. I don't know how it works, but a sociologist friend cited that as a problem. One of the least, no doubt.)

    1. You're right, Artleads... the buses do save some emissions by taking out some cars off the roads. However, the formula is incomplete without considering that it encourages employees to live in San Francisco from which working class folks have and continue to be driven out who now have to commute into the city from places that are some 40 miles away. And yes, the Google shuttles use public resources and muscle out MUNI city buses.

      Here's an article that goes into the Google Shuttle effects on SF - (written by none other than Sven, the first commenter above :))

    2. Thanks, Satish. Didn't read it thoroughly, but enough to see that it deals with the big picture of social organization, unintended consequences and the like. Thanks to Sven as well. I daresay we'll return to issues like this? Maybe something on East Palo Alto would be instructive as well.

  4. "Maybe something on East Palo Alto (sandwiched between Facebook AND Google) would be instructive as well."