Fair observation. “Somewhat inequitable” does imply a hedge, and does not construe the inequity I’m referring to as on one end of the spectrum or the other.
If there were 100% inequity, I’m not sure exactly what that would look like, but it might be an oligarchy that permitted and celebrated slavery and the ownership of other humans.
What might 0% inequity look like? Again, I don’t know, but some kind of communist utopia comes to mind, but the lack of opportunity for individuals to thrive in that context (and the lack of functional examples in the world), doesn’t endear me to that definition for the other end of the spectrum.
I suppose my phrasing was inspired by this post I read yesterday by douglas rushkoff. He really put our moment in time — and the Industrial Revolution — into a framing I’d never considered before. Do read his post.
Certainly the apparent inequity of an increasing technological present is on many people’s minds, mine included. Living in San Francisco for over a decade, working at Google right before people started throwing rocks at GBuses (the title of douglas rushkoff’s forthcoming book no less), and being tuned into popular issues , made it impossible for me not to be! I have several friends involved with and passionate about Universal Basic Income, the last startup I worked at was predicated on enfranchising artists in the digital economy (I was bullish on the blockchain bringing economic determinism to artists, but I digress), and I’ve closely observed the #BlackLivesMatter protest movement (though haven’t gotten deeply involved), among other recent movements about social justice. The scourge of inequity in popular culture is certainly in the air and all around us.
But how to respond to this growing anxiety and angst is unclear. Should the focus be on redistribution of wealth, or about working to creating more opportunities for people to seek satisfaction and contentedness in their lives (regardless of the potential for accumulating wealth)? Is Bernie Sanders the right candidate for the moment? Is increasing the amount of technology in our lives, and its influence over our day to day experience, something to be welcomed, or to be resisted?
I decided to go work on the Uber Developer Platform partially because Uber as it exists today provides individuals with an opportunity to use an asset that they already have (i.e. their car) to earn some extra income, which drivers are free to use as they wish. There are indeed questions about the economics of driving for Uber, but these questions are not unique to driving for Uber, as evidenced by the challenges that all freelancers and independent workers face in the marketplace (having worked for myself in the past, I can attest to this) as well as in the recent interest in raising the minimum wage. How to enfranchise more people in the benefits and efficiencies that technology has wrought is broad and open-ended and largely unanswered. I’ve found that open platforms tend to provide opportunities to experiment with possible solutions, and I see Uber’s Developer Platform (currently in its infancy) as one of those potentially great and useful platforms. There is much work to be done to achieve the outcomes that I think are possible, and that is why I choose to be in the arena rather than on the sidelines as we sort out what I hope become viable options for addressing inequity in the future.