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Daily News Analysis

Google-Alphabet workers union and its wider repercussions

Crescent International

As US’ political unravelling continues to attract most of the global attention, recent developments in the business life of America will further undermine its standing.

On January 4 the Deutsche Welle reported that “in a rare move among Silicon Valley giants, over 200 employees at Google and its parent company Alphabet have formed a labor union. Their move coincides with growing scrutiny of influential high-tech operators worldwide…leaders Koul and Shaw, both software engineers, in their New York Times opinion piece accused Alphabet executives of dismissing workplace concerns… And, they added, Google’s founding motto ‘Don't be evil’ was under threat. ‘Our bosses have collaborated with repressive governments around the world. They have developed artificial intelligence technology for use by the [US] Department of Defense and profited from ads by a hate group.’ They have failed to make the changes necessary to meaningfully address our retention issues with people of color,’ wrote Koul and Shaw.”

While creation of a workers’ union is a step in the right direction in standing up to the cut-throat capitalist US business culture, there are wider repercussions of this local event.

First, the US has spent billions on wars, propaganda and economic sabotage for several decades to project its capitalist worldview as a global model.

Opposing unions and workers’ rights was a cornerstone of Washington’s battle against communism and among many other leftist manifestations.

South America bore the brunt of this dogmatic and destructive US policy.

For several decades South American dictators would simply point to the rise of workers unions in their countries in order to secure Washington’s backing.

The fact that workers of one of the most well-known US business organizations formed a union is a manifestation of the reality that the US is losing the “war of ideas.”

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the leftist economic trend worldwide was deprived of state backing and lost its claim to functionality.

Between 1990 and 2001, the US had a significant lead in being the world’s hyperpower.

Yet it did not manage to co-opt or impose its capitalist worldview even on its domestic audience.

It is now fashionable in the US to identify with leftist ideas and stand against US foreign policy, especially by American youth.

While the leftist trend is unlikely to unseat the current repressive capitalist system in Washington, it will continue to play the role of political spoiler, and a significant one at that.

The second important repercussion from the latest move by employees of Google and its parent company Alphabet in forming a workers’ union is that these organizations are pace-setters of global business culture.

The way Google conducts and organizes its business is emulated by many organizations worldwide and across a variety of sectors and industries.

What does this mean in practical terms?

The GCC states and other locales like Thailand, Brunei or Brazil which apart from being political platforms of Western neo-colonialism, also set their economic and business compasses towards the Western world’s business conduct.

In most places where the US cemented its economic presence and American companies established firm presence, their business practices are propelled by capitalism’s drive to maximize profit, often at the detriment of indigenous people and economies.

US companies are notorious for abusing workers at home and abroad.

Such abusive conduct is often explained away using capitalism’s buzz words and concepts like “free-market” or the “globalization of business.”

Steps taken by the employees of Google and Alphabet might drive employees abroad to demand equally favorable conditions from their American employers and thus create friction between American firms, as well as governments of the regimes which facilitate their business presence.

One does not have to be an expert in politics or business to realize the social, political and economic repercussions if employees at subsidiaries of Google or Alphabet in Dubai decide to form their own workers’ unions.


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