Wednesday, January 24, 2018 / Perth Australia / By Niekie Jooste
In this edition of "The WelderDestiny Compass":
After a number of weeks on leave in Busselton, a largely holiday town close to Margaret River in Western Australia, we are back at our post here at The WelderDestiny Compass. We hope you had a blessed Christmas season and wish you a great 2018.
Given the momentum that is building in the distributed ledger technology (e.g. blockchain) industry, it seems like a good idea to explore some of the issues that may arise for organizations built around Digital Autonomous Organization (DAO) principles. I think this will probably take us a few weeks to do, so I thought that possibly it would be a good idea to start the year with something "out of left field".
It has been interesting to look at how political correctness (PC) has started to overshadow society while at the same time seeing a backlash develop. While it is tempting to give everyone my view on this, that is not really the remit of our e-zine. Rather, we are interested to find trends wherever they may arise, and try to understand where they may take us as a broader society, and in particular how it may affect our jobs.
Today we try to wrap our heads around what political correctness is, and where this can lead us. Almost certainly our conclusions here will result in us connecting some dots in the future.
If you would like to add your ideas to this week’s discussion, then please send me an e-mail with your ideas, (Send your e-mails to: firstname.lastname@example.org) or complete the comment form on the page below.
Now let's get stuck into this week’s topics...
There are many definitions of political correctness, but here is one from the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary:
Conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated.
The definition gives us a good start in seeing that at the heart of political correctness lies the concept of offending people. Obviously the problem is that all kinds of people could possibly be offended by all kinds of different ideas, language and practices.
Surely this situation of possibly people offending people has been around as long as there have been people, so why is there a growth in the PC trend today? Surely the only answer is that there is a new generation today that values political correctness more than in the past. In other words, there is a new generation that is more easily offended than in the past.
A number of studies that I read about have found that one of the attributes of millennials is that they have a high sense of entitlement. Obviously millennials also have many positive attributes, but given that our discussion is about political correctness, I will not go into those today.
I also read an interesting blog piece some months back that looked at millennials and their culture. In it, the point was made that millennials felt entitled to be protected from all kinds of people and organisations, and most importantly for our discussion, they wanted to be protected from uncomfortable ideas.
It therefore strikes me that at the heart of political correctness lies our desire to be protected from uncomfortable ideas or situations. This is not new, but the increased drive towards political correctness can therefore be linked to the generation that is now starting to make great impacts on our society and culture.
In other words, the growth of the political correctness trend is telling us that the next generation is starting to change society, and that the change will in all probability be much bigger than we have seen in the past.
At its heart, political correctness is a trend towards inclusion as opposed to exclusion. It is about treating everybody as though there were no differences between people. These are largely "left leaning" ideas from a political perspective.
At the moment we can see the struggle between political correctness and isolationism within politics all over the world. In the USA, president Trump is an example of where isolationism has won over political correctness, while in France, president Emmanuel Macron is an example where political correctness won over isolationism.
Just as an aside, Emmanuel Macron is talking of instituting new laws to prevent people from saying things to offend others, while Donald Trump is tweeting some very politically incorrect views on a daily basis. You choose which approach presents the greater danger and/or the greater entertainment.
Given that the power of millennials will keep growing into the future, and that there appears to be a lot of similarities within the ranks of millennials all over the world, it is surely just a matter of time before most democratically elected leaders will be of the politically correct persuasion.
In short, we are in all probability heading into a world where politics will take a turn to the left, possibly after an intergenerational battle leading to some right wing politicos making an impact in some "trouble spots" in the world.
An unfortunate spin-off of political correctness is that it has the potential to limit free speech, and therefore has the potential to be used by unscrupulous leaders to oppress dissent to their ideas and actions.
Obviously the more immediate effect will be people loosing their jobs for saying things at work that offend people. High profile examples of this are David Bonderman that had to resign from the Uber board after making some sexist remarks, and James Damore who was fired from Google after writing a memo that was considered sexist.
Another potential problem is that while workplaces may become more diverse looking, the thoughts being expressed may become less diverse. Given that the great advantage of diversity in the workplace is supposed to be the diversity of ideas, this outcome seems self defeating.
Possibly the managers of tomorrow will need to learn how to get people to express their diverse ideas, rather than getting people to "toe the line" regarding political correctness.
One of the longer term effects may be on the more socialist policies that may be implemented by left leaning politicians. In this light we can think of policies such as the implementation of a universal basic income, and wider spread taxation practices to try to reduce the difference in wealth between the wealthy and the poor.
Interestingly, the implementation of both of those policies would be simplified by blockchain based financial and taxation systems, but we will leave that discussion for another day...
Yours in welding
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