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Technology, Corporations, and Contemporary Globalization: An Ethical and Social Critique

TitleTechnology, Corporations, and Contemporary Globalization: An Ethical and Social Critique
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsKlein, S
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Philosophy
Volume25
Issue2
Pagination187-200
Date PublishedFall 2011
KeywordsCorporation , Development , ECONOMICS , Emerging Technologies , ENGINEERING , ethics , GLOBALIZATION , PHILOSOPHY , technology
AbstractI explore certain interconnections and commonalities among technology, corporations, and contemporary globalization in order to best understand the dangerous ethical and social consequences that accrue from them. I begin by discussing the notion of means becoming ends. Technology as means and corporate instrumental values tend to become ends-in-themselves. I then suggest that technologist's and corporate manager's quantitative methods are ill-equipped to deal with questions of intrinsic value or ends, which are qualitative. Moreover, "development," a key term in globalization discussions, is often defined quantitatively (in economic terms) rather than qualitatively. I argue that this view is too narrow. Next, I discuss limiting autonomy as an important issue common to technology, corporations, and contemporary globalization. Material progress as a goal common to technology, corporations, and contemporary globalization is also considered. Technological mistakes and a neoliberal, laissez-faire economy are said to be self-corrective, and this feature is used to support the notion of material progress. I argue that this has proved to be too optimistic. In the last section, I use certain contemporary leadership theorists to criticize Kenneth Galbraith's and Peter Drucker's views on corporate governance by technocratic specialists. I also discuss recent developments of the concept of technological assessment and related work by TU Delft researchers.
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