Pondering what has gone wrong in this country, increasingly so in the past decade or so, America seems to have been carved up into territories by businesses that do not have the responsibility to fulfill all the needs of their territories, but only have the responsibility to their investors to derive the most profit from the territory. Considering the principle of products being market-driven, how can a product be utilized if it is not made available to the consumer, and adequately so? The consumer can vote for a product only by buying or not buying it; and cannot vote for a product that the business does not provide, yet is in its exclusive business territory.
This also assumes that the advertising industry has made the knowledge of the availability of the product to the potential consumer, of course.
To keep daily life manageable by businesses, there are many ways that big business can suppress technologies from being available to the consumer, as part of business games, such as patenting a process yet not utilizing the process to produce products; with the patent, nobody else can produce the related products either. And a business very likely will do that if the alternate technology would not bring as much profit as the existing product line; the consumer loses, and the principle of being market-driven fails.
There are also other ways for businesses to claim territories of various types too; each territory is merely a claim to reap profit in the territory but has no responsibility to economically make available all that is needed by consumers regarding that territory.
Corporations are of course managed, and management is about control, toward predefined goals. Those goals frequently center around some particular product widget or other resource within the business territory. The management team prepares a plan of action with an efficient path toward market; anything, including new ideas, could derail the whole management plan, and so ideas are stopped in their tracks to prevent disruption of the management plan toward the predefined goal.
Businesses, especially large powerful ones, seem to consider the business as a valuable asset to be protected including their particular technological concept base defining their products or services; and that includes fending off upcoming technologies that might provide a superior cost-effective way for the consumer base to achieve what they want; and thus control & suppression of upcoming technologies is a protective mechanism for business. Staying aware of what is upcoming among the ideas from which new technologies arise is part of the business game.
The technological folks that the businessmen hire to do the technological part of the business, often have a lifetime fascination with the technology arena and the broader potentials of what can be done; and tend to have personal interests in advancing the technological arena's capabilities. But those same technological types of people, such as scientists, engineers and technicians, need to have a job working for a business somewhere and that means they are under the control of businessmen, corporations, who have the different above-mentioned profit and control interests as their motives, instead of the pure advancement of a technological field.
Thus the need for the "employment agreement" signing with the employer, as a condition of the technical types having a job so they can pay their bills etc, which (unfortunately for the rest of the nation) enables the aggregate corporate system to control the ideas that would possibly upset the business as usual requirements of easy effective management; or worse yet for the concretized business, having a superior product available to the consumer based on the new inspiration of some maverick technical type person. The technical types naively assume the corporate employer ought to be overjoyed and grateful for the new idea that enables new products and services, at least until the first run-in with management who does not want anything to change their laboriously prepared plans of action they had created to fulfill their job, and would be terrified at the thought of some new idea for a technology that would put them out of business. Any employee with ideas about the technology arena which is quite interesting to them, who does not want to just let their ideas die due to blockage by their stubborn employers, has to go work for some other employer, which involves the resume and contacting prior employer and thus the blacklisting passes on in the career very likely preventing getting a job anymore, even in a totally different field, a daunting prospect for the technical type folks.
In other words, one way long used by big business to suppress such disruptive alternate potentially useful products even though needed by the consumer, is through the employment system, where to have a job, particularly as a technical employee such as engineer or technician, the employee must sign an "employment agreement" to get a job, and that agreement is that the employee will not produce any creative idea other than those directed by the employer to be created in fulfillment of the specific job, if any; thus if a creative idea spontaneously comes up for the employee, whether or not the idea is related in the slightest to the field of interest of the employer, it must be given over free of charge to the employer, and the employer has no responsibility to evaluate or develop the idea, but only has the power to prevent anybody else from using the idea either.
And they typically exercise that power, perhaps as a gentleman's agreement among all corporations, to prevent wild cards from happening their lush business game jobs. There may also be an elitism ego kind of thing involved, since highly paid management is boss and any techie type who claims to have a way seen as interfering with management's control of things via some new idea, needs to be disciplined to get back in line or get kicked out of work, to prove who is boss there.
The requirement to sign the "employment agreement" as a condition of employment pretends
to protect the corporation from having its ideas stolen by the employees, yet the corporation is already set up to utilize any actual job-created idea to create those products, so how could an employee compete with that by going off on his own to make a competing business, in the rare case of a really new idea that the company wants to use as developed in the course of employment? The ones who are actually stealing such ideas are instead the employers in the vast majority of instances; and their robbing is not just of the innovative techie employee but also of the American consumer in general who are thus deprived of new opportunities enabled by the potential products and services. This situation has been going on for at lest the past 40 years, in my experience, and the nation's increasing lack of technical leadership reflects it.
Since most really new ideas occur to the individual almost at random times about things they have long wondered about, and rarely apply to what they are employed to produce, this has long heavily suppressed the creativity of the technical people of our country, and thus blocking the products the country sometimes so desperately needs. The "employment agreement" is not only deeply unethical but is formally illegal in many states other than applies to what they are utilizing on the job now for their business; but to free up the idea, the employee would have to have the money to hire a lawyer etc to fight the huge lawyer resources of the employer, and also likely lose their job in the process, and so it is lots easier and wiser to just let the idea die right there; thus depriving the nation of the potential products that would have been enabled by those ideas.
The electoral system that enables the American people to elect people for power & control, cannot similarly choose wiser corporate business managers who have the needs of the nation in mind as their guiding principles, instead merely of the highest dividends paid to their investors as their sole guide. The system just does not work that way, unfortunately. Even corporations who are lavishly fed by government contracts, typically see it only as a means of getting income and are not interested in advancing the field other than specifically doing exactly what they are paid to do. This effect is not limited to just aerospace, either.
Even the celebrated first moon landing that happened 40 years ago in the Apollo Project, would not have happened if it had not been perceived as part of providing for the common defense - the Cold War was ongoing and the fear was that the Russians were going to build missile bases on the Moon aimed at the US; so we had to be able to get there first to control the Moon situation. The placard was left on the lunar lander stating that "we came in peace for all mankind" but we would not have done the expensive trip if it were for that. Private business management would not have done such a project on their own, even to save the nation, since their guide is the easiest profit dollar, not the product's usefulness itself. And usually the easiest profit dollar means suppressing unasked-for innovative ideas so as to keep business-as-usual ongoing; and the "Employment Agreement" condition for employment provides the tool and justification for doing that, to the loss of everybody else.
These are huge problems that block the use of the supposed native creativity of the nation, the fabled "Yankee Ingenuity" that is needed to get things going again. So, guess how this is going to play out, most likely?
Labels: employment agreement, ideas, ingenuity, innovation, investors, national, products