Research Arc 2


Arc 2: Political, social, and economic climates that caused (primarily manufacturing) CSR initiatives in the past, and how they differ in today’s tech-dominant society.

  • How are politics, economics, and society different today then they were in the past?

  • How is the dominance of tech companies different from the dominance of manufacturing companies? In terms of structure, goals, and impact. What caused/is causing those differences?

  • What are the big social issues of today? How did they emerge? What, if anything, should corporations do about them? Are corporations to blame for these social issues?



  • Social issues and social movements of today, what have the most impact and traction, what’s the climate like

  • Historically, what have been the “checks and balances” between government, corporations, and citizens? Has that changed with this new tech power?

  • Issues to consider:

    • The digital divide, access to technology, access to opportunity, discrimination based on race, gender, or not being able to afford college (pay to play)

    • Needing connections to succeed, a big concept today, nepotism, creating an elite society?

  • Merging of the rich, powerful, and celebrities

    • Elon Musk becoming a celebrity, very popular and well-known

    • Trump, businessman (albeit a poor one) becoming president, also represents anger of working-class, perhaps due to the wage inequality

  • The power of money, corporations and leaders of corporations have a larger share of income than before, can fund many things, good or bad

  • Corporate governance or corporate citizenship- should corporations intervene in social issues, or should they not have the power to do so? Should the government increase restrictions on corporations?

    •  Should corporations instead just be good citizens, work on solving only the issues they create?

    • But issues today are multidimensional, hard to untangle and solve from other issues, how can they solve inequality? Can change wage inequality, but then might lose good corporate leaders.

    • How to change gentrification? A lot of times, corporations exacerbating existing issues, to what extent should they fix it then? How to calculate their impact?

  • Brand image, brand value, marketing very important in this day and age, social media and the internet allows people to look up a company and choose whether to support it/buy its products

    • Big change since the manufacturing industry?



  • CSR initiatives usually arise from public pressure, what are the specific factors that cause it to arise? How can we get companies to do good? What incentives must be in place?

  • What in society caused CSR to emerge in the first place? What things had to be in place?

  • As corporations become more and more powerful, we assume they should be more responsible for their actions

  • What should the distinctions be between corporations, citizens, and the government? Should corporations act as a sort of government, providing public goods and services? Or should it act more as a responsible citizen, obeying restrictions placed on it and reducing the damage it causes, environmental, social, economic, and otherwise? How can a line be drawn? Or where on the spectrum should it be?

  • A lot of the effects of tech companies are hidden. Manufacturing directly causes pollution and sometimes labor abuse. Tech companies have some overt effects, such as an increasing income inequality, but also a lot of more subtle effects, such as creating an elite society where you have to know people in power and go to an expensive school to get the highest jobs, gentrification around these areas, making many jobs obsolete so making it harder to predict what jobs will still exist by the time you start studying for it

    • Computer science is an ever-growing field, very profitable to get a major in, but not everyone has access to computers, so not everyone can learn it. The digital divide shows here, widening the opportunity gap


Ideas and Significance:

  • Are tech companies to blame for the social issues that arise? Focusing especially on inequality, gentrification, what role do they play in these issues, and what responsibility should they have to mitigate them?

  • Is simply having a lot of power enough of a reason to make a company responsible?

  • How were these tech companies able to amass such power? Some issues before were monopolies, labor issues, but today it seems that just all the money is going to tech companies, yet the very well-compensated programmers benefit from it

    • Should there be more taxes on companies or some other restriction to limit their power? Or should we instead allow them to govern themselves and our society?

    • Are programmers being paid the natural market value of their work, or is it overinflated? Will natural causes reduce it, and/or should it be reduced?