Here’s a quote from my New York Times news email the other day:
“If you’re an engineer, you don’t want to outlaw the great technology you’ve been working on. If you’re a marketing person, you don’t want to outlaw the thing you’ve been trying to sell. If you’re a C.E.O., you don’t want to outlaw the thing that’s been making a lot of money.”
Bob Lucky, an executive director at Bell Labs from 1982-92, on why potential dangers of using cell phones while driving were not addressed early on.
It’s not just cell phones, it’s damned near everything. It all comes down to profit. Corporations don’t care one iota about our health, our safety, or our welfare, especially if any consideration for our well-being will cut into their profits. Look at cars, for instance. Every new safety feature started out as optional equipment that you had to pay extra to get. They didn’t become standard equipment until the government mandated it because insurance companies demanded it in order to reduce the amount of claims they were paying out, thus increasing their profits.
When it comes to our health, safety and welfare, we need to wake up and smell the coffee. Government and big business don’t care. For them it’s about profit, reelection, or propagating a bureaucracy. We need to be proactive and our own advocates. Using a little common sense wouldn’t hurt either. No one else will do it for us.
Or we can continue to follow the same course, chanting the mantras for the 21st Century:
- “It’s not your fault.”
- “You may be entitled to compensation.”
- “You don’t have to change.”