As tens of millions find their financial situation more desperate by the day, and millions of small businesses are squeezed into failure, the big tech companies are booming!
Stocks of Apple, Amazon, Alphabet/Google, Microsoft and Facebook rose 37 percent in the first seven months of this year, while all other stocks fell a combined six percent. Those five companies now constitute 20 percent of the stock market’s total worth. And Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s wealth has increased dramatically in the past months, to an estimated $189 billion!
But don’t the tech companies make our lives easier? Doesn’t Google help many of us every day? Hasn’t Amazon kept millions safer by minimizing our need to shop in person?
Yes, thanks to the labor of their workers. But the problem is that those who run these corporations are in a constant drive to maximize profits, at the expense of all other concerns.
That means if Amazon has to put its workers in danger to get customers our packages, it will do so. It means that if Facebook decides to prioritize bots or fake news, fueling the rise of crazy, violent conspiracy theories, it will do so. It means that if Apple works its workers in China so hard that they are driven to suicide, then it will do so.
And, since many school systems are now using Google Classroom, it means that Google has access to all kinds of school and student data, including lessons, assessments, records of teacher contacts with students’ families, all dated by the minute! School districts are essentially handing over the data of students and education workers to one of the most invasive and powerful corporations on Earth.
Without democratic control by workers and consumers of what these companies produce, how they produce it, and for what purpose, these corporations just do what they want. They are part of an entire system built on an insatiable drive for profits, with little or no concern for their effects on us, the working class.