Research Arc 4

Arc 4: What new CSR initiatives should tech companies undertake?

  • Define the issues tech companies should be tackling,

    •  Inequality and gentrification

  • How tech companies should address these issues, both in terms of best utilizing its great influential power and the creativity of its employees

  • How these CSR initiatives can benefit the tech companies themselves

    • Improved marketing, brand image

    • Employees tend to be educated and liberal, perhaps more inclined to work at companies that do good

    • A more productive economy will make everyone better off

  • How to assess the impacts tech companies make

    • Issues are multifaceted and difficult to quantify

 

Evidence:

  • What are the negative impacts of the tech industry? Any big issues besides inequality and gentrification?

  • How are tech companies currently addressing these issues? Can these strategies by adopted by other companies?

    • Is the way these tech companies are helping mitigate these issues unique to their company? How do their CSR initiatives interact with their business and mission?

  • How do companies decide which CSR initiatives to implement?

  • What strategies are economists, social activists, and business leaders suggesting be implemented in terms of CSR in the tech industry? What are the pros and cons of these strategies?

    • How effective do they seem to be? How realistic do they seem to be?

  • How can strategies differ to best align with different businesses, so that the CSR initiatives are mutually beneficial?

  • What non-profit organizations or other organizations are working with tech businesses to make them more sustainable?

 

 

A non-profit aimed at reducing inequality and gentrification through tech firm leadership: https://techequitycollaborative.org/

 

 

The Rise of Tech Workers as a Political Force for Good

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHqwnV8mERc

  • rents increasing in SF because of tech companies moving in

  • Uber moved into Oakland, residents felt despair, company moving thousands of high paying jobs into an economically depressed inner city, and people would not want them to come, when before would’ve celebrated

    • Internet thought to drive democracy, yet also causes this inequality and displacement

    • Most people in the industry want it to be contributing to broad based growth and opportunity, not inequality and displacement

    • But also, housing crisis in California is decades in the making, Bay Area has only produced 57% of the housing we need to keep up with growth

  • Tech isn’t at the table, working to help solve these issues, even though people in the industry want to

  • Tech employees protesting Trump presidency, and “you can’t protest these issues on a national level if you’re ignoring them in your own backyard”

  • Tech Equity Collaborative is focusing on issues of housing, workforce development, and access to technology, doing it through campaigns (for funding of anti-displacement and homelessness prevention services), events & awareness-raising, and volunteer opportunities (training members to be non-profit board members)

 

Analysis:

  • Corporations have worked with the government to improve the public sector, as tech corporations often have more advanced technology

    • Should this be expanded upon, or do we need to draw a line for limiting the power of corporations and protecting the privacy of people?

  • How can corporations help solve the issues they cause? For example, gentrification is caused by companies moving into areas, and employees following. However, corporations generally don’t hire out of these areas, so rents increase and residents are forced out. How can companies fix this problem they seem to directly cause?

    • Contracts with government to subsidize low-income housing? How can this benefit the companies too? Or should it just be law?

  • Tech companies are good at collecting and analyzing data, how can this skill set be used?

    • How to best allocate funds to help mitigate inequality?

  • Investment in the education of nearby schools, what impact does this have?

  • What is the projected growth of the tech industry?

 

 

Idea and Significance:

  • Tech company is growing rapidly, and already has a huge impact on society, both good and bad

    • Technology is democratizing in a way, power of the internet, yet can also lead to issues such as inequality, with those in tech industry paid extremely high

  • Issue of digital divide, part of population cut off from the potential to go into this booming industry, what can we do about it

  • Tech companies have perhaps unprecedented power, what should they do with it? They can make a huge positive impact, and doing so now would set that in place for future generations

  • Alternatively, should the power of the tech industry be limited? Should they not be given this much influence?

  • Politically, tech tends to lean left, while older financial institutions centralized in New York often lean more right, what effect does this have?

    • For one, tech employees more likely to support CSR

  • Tech companies have unique skills, great creativity, and apply data and programming to almost every problem now, how can they apply these capabilities to improving society?