Some presidential contenders — Elizabeth Warren, namely — have been firing shots at big tech companies like Facebook and Google. She says they need to be broken up. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, has been candid in his responses. He says his company will be ready to fight that battle when the day approaches (of course, that’s only if she or someone of a similar mind, like say, Bernie Sanders, is elected in 2020).
As we all know, Trump is more “business friendly.” Even though that friendliness usually comes at everyone else’s expense.
But sometimes all a big name has to do is mention change for the process of change to begin. Former President Obama said as much when people asked him about his opinions on minimum wage. He thought the minimum wage should be higher — and as soon as those opinions were known, the fight for fifteen began in earnest. The federal government has done little for minimum wage, but state governments haven’t been waiting around doing nothing.
That’s why the recent California law passed recently is such a big deal. It forces big tech companies to stop treating their employees like contractors, and start treating them like, well, employees. Of course, tech companies seem to think laws are more of a suggestion than a certainty. If a law can successfully be flouted, then that law doesn’t matter. That’s exactly why Uber is being investigated five times over.
And not all is sitting well with the drivers who the new law applies to, either. They went on strike recently after Uber randomly decided to cut their pay by a massive 25 percent. That’s on top of the juggling going on within Uber’s corporate structure. Former CEO Travis Kalanick was ousted for his inability to nix the apparent sexual harassment that pervaded the company.
It’s difficult to see this kind of behavior from the leaders of big companies today and not compare it to the leaders of corporate empires yesterday. We’re thinking of those tech-heavy empires like Rockefeller, Dupont, JP Morgan, etc. The rampant corruption in the 1920s, in a lot of ways, was even worse. But that’s no reason not to hold big companies accountable now.
Americans were quicker to make it to the polls back then, a massive response to the unreasonable leaders of those technological entities. And perhaps the recent wave of Democratic wins in Kentucky and Virginia are a sign of what’s to come: bigger turnout because more Americans want to see their leaders — and the corporate leaders who have them under their thumbs — held accountable for their illegal actions.