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DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

But, What of Tomorrowland?

Written by: on November 10, 2019

In the 1980s, the dream of a futuristic world was seen through the lens of innocent childhood with a Disney whimsical twist. The days where technology and humankind operate inseparably was an intriguing quest set out by man. The days where innovators and dreamers need(ed) to stick together.[1] As the years continued in the late 1990s to the 2000s, technology advanced from black and white tv to color, from pagers to cellphones, dial-up to high-speed internet, from phone parties to chatrooms, and that was just the beginning. We have yet to receive the promised flying cars but, we can see technology has changed our world for the better and worse.

Technology has allowed people to work and live more effectively. Yet it is also an impediment to how we effectually live among each other. It is quite the conundrum, this concept of living in Tomorrowland.

Leading the Way
Companies such as Google, FACEBOOK, Apple, and Amazon are said to be the dominating character in the race to Tomorrowland. They seem to have acquired the strategy to eliminate the competition and become adorned with the beloved and sacred blue and orange lapel pin for leading currently in the digital age and economy.

In the Four, business professor Scott Galloway suggests these companies to the Four Horseman; maybe the entities are the Four Horsemen of god, love, sex, and consumption, or maybe they are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.[2] Nevertheless, for the sake of the book, he entitles them as the Four.

The Four is an arduous read, even coming from someone with a business background. Also, here’s another disclaimer if you so choose to enter the finite view of the world of the Four. It has an array of blue language. It is controversially opinionated with facts on digital economy and market data thrown in throughout. It is a quite disgruntle analytical review of the Four’s current status of being technology deities without a retrospective review of their inception. It also has a baffling correlation to the Four Horsemen. It is an enigma on how Galloway manages to make that sound enough for others to indulge this concept but, if you dare to embark, maybe you will discover it for yourself.

Trouble in the Land

Galloway, however, eludes to the nuances of The Four’s impact and influence on the world at large. The Four receive acclaim for the creation of hundreds of thousands of high paying jobs and the contribution of an array of products and services into the daily lives of billions. [3] The Four also receives acclaim for pocket supercomputers, bringing the internet into developing countries, mapping the Earth’s landmass and sea, and help millions of families build economic security.[4] 

The Four also receives denunciation for refusal of paying sales taxes, improper treatment of employees, destruction of thousands of jobs, withholding information about the domestic act of terrorism, analyzing personal images, listening devices in phones and selling that information to Fortune 500 companies, and commands 90% share of the most lucrative sector in media.[5]

The dilemma is portrayed in the tendency to aggregate the Four, which should be the Five since Microsoft was also listed as one of the most valuable public companies (the “Big Tech”) in the U.S. in 2017. Aggregating them together camouflages the fact the companies are very separate and distinct – not just as companies but in terms of their business models and practices.[6] Understanding these companies in their proper business contexts makes it easier to understand their power in the marketplace and society at large[7]

Closer to Home

Over the last several years, housing has become less affordable, and “certainly the (tech) companies have a role in that[8] In Seattle, Washington which houses the main headquarters for Amazon and Microsoft, both companies contributed $5 million to assist with permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless people.[9] 

On the same day, Amazon announced it would match its employees’ donations to 20 homelessness nonprofits, for up to $5 million, and that it would give $3 million for affordable housing in Arlington, Virginia, where it is siting its new second headquarters.[11]

In California, the unprecedented growth of wealthy tech corporations pushed housing costs through the roof for everyday people [12]in the state and led to a disparity between the wealthy tech workers and everyone else.[13] It may also be an explanation for the mass exodus of approximately 30,000 residents alone in SanFranciso from April to June. However, last week in the Bay Area, the announcement was made that three of The Four, Apple, Google, and FACEBOOK, have now committed approximately $4.5 billion towards the housing crisis. Google pledged $ billion in building affordable housing in June; Facebook invested $ billion towards fighting the housing crisis, and Apple pledged $2.5 billion towards the housing crisis.

But What of Tomorrowland?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kboSmlN2XGQ

Will the world become consumed and destroyed by the deities of The Four? Has the quest for success and corporate sustainability caused these companies to be viewed in a capacity in which it was never intended to be considered? Will there be a possibility these companies right the wrongs placed inadvertently upon society? The answers are not still unwritten, and the future of the Four remains unknown.

But here’s a story to reflect upon, the Tale of Two Wolves, as we continue to dive more profoundly into the technological world of tomorrow.

There are two wolves who are always fighting.
One is darkness and despair.
The other is light and hope.
The question is: which wolf wins?
Answer: The one you feed.[14]

 

[1] Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof, Tomorrowland (Burbank: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, 2011)

[2] Scott Galloway, The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google (New York: Portfolio/Penguin, 2017), 1.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Amanda Lotz, “‘big Tech’ Isn’t One Big Monopoly – It’s 5 Companies All in Different Businesses,” The Conversation, March 23, 2018, https://theconversation.com/big-tech-isnt-one-big-monopoly-its-5-companies-all-in-different-businesses-92791.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid

[8] Jared Brey, “More Private Companies Putting Big Money Into Housing Philanthropy,” Next City, October 31, 2019, https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/more-private-companies-putting-big-money-into-housing-philanthropy.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Scott Greenstone, “Amazon, Microsoft and Others Give Tens of Millions for Homeless Housing,” Seattle Times, June 11, 2019, https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/homeless/amazon-microsoft-and-others-give-tens-of-millions-for-homeless-housing/.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Mike Snider, “Apple Will Donate $2.5 Billion to Fight ‘unsustainable’ California Housing Crisis,” USA Today, last modified November 6, 2019, https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2019/11/04/apple-donate-2-5-billion-fight-california-housing-crisis/4154214002/.

[13] Sarah Perez, “Apple Commits $2.5 Billion to Address California’s Housing Crisis and Homelessness Issues,” Tech Crunch, November 4, 2019, https://techcrunch.com/2019/11/04/apple-commits-2-5-billion-to-address-californias-housing-crisis-and-homelessness-issues/.

[14] Disney Sisters, “Tomorrowland: The Tale of Two Wolves,” Disneysisters.com, accessed November 6, 2019, http://www.disneysisters.com/2015/05/tomorrowland-tale-of-two-wolves.html.

About the Author

mm

Shermika Harvey

11 responses to “But, What of Tomorrowland?”

  1. Andrea Lathrop says:

    Thanks Shermika! I am still waiting on the flying cars I watched as a kid in the Jetson’s! I didn’t know those facts about the four’s contribution to the housing crisis in those areas – it’s interesting to think about how that much money is spent and invested in those communities. I am interested to track the outcomes. I appreciated your correlation of home prices with increase in wealth and a growing gap for the average person. Thanks for making me think!

    • mm Shermika Harvey says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Andrea. Being in the Bay Area now, I have the opportunity to see this crisis first hand and see the disparity of wealth and poverty all on the same street. The issue with the housing crisis will not be an overnight fit. From the information I’ve gathered this process will span over a decade to get back on track but at least it’s a start.

  2. mm Tammy Dunahoo says:

    Thanks, Shermika. I appreciated your connection to Tomorrowland. I remember being a little girl visiting Disneyland and the rides and style of Tomorrowland seemed impossible, like the Jetsons with their robotic maid! 🙂 I now look at what human ingenuity has accomplished and never dreamed we would have small computers in our hands that can give us literally any information we need. Which wolf we feed is critically important.

    • mm Shermika Harvey says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Tammy. It is amazing how our world has changed and we can see the pros and cons of those advancements. We have entered into an actively competitive arena of consumerism and we something have to step back and evaluate of stance. I love the story of the two wolves, it often helps me keep the right perspective in this midst of this complexed world.

  3. mm Mary Mims says:

    Shermika, thanks for the great post. I did not know about the Four giving to help homelessness. I think that is great. However, I do think that they should be a bit more responsible. Amazon is opening the high paying job center in Arlington VA, but wanted to put their warehouse operations in an affluent African American community. This community rejected those plans because they did not want a warehouse near their expensive homes. Amazon backed off, but it make one wonder about the choices they make. I think we have to continue to hold their feet to the fire to ensure they are being good citizens.

    • mm Shermika Harvey says:

      Thank you Mary for your feedback. I guess while I was in business school, the world of business was equated to supply and demand and profit and losses. It was not until I went for an masters degree in Interdisciplinary Arts (Education) that social responsibility was added as a good business practice; however, that still was through the standpoint of the nonprofit sector. Also, this concept of seeing companies as people instead of institution is a still a concept that is hard to grasp since the inception of it is perplexed in my mindsight. I believe that some companies are seeing the error of their ways and are now doing business a little differently such as Amazon in Arlington, where they presented a proposal for its headquarters and other business structures to the city and the city can accept or reject it https//www.arlingtonva.us/amazon/anazon-in-arlington-resources.

      Before reading this book, my worldview of social advocacy in our society was limited to evaluating it from the NGO perspective, however now it may need to expand with the impact and inclusion of big business as well.

  4. Shermika, this is a great post and its very refreshing to know that The Four are actually involved in giving back to society. I like your perspective that aggregating the four companies denies the reader the benefit of analyzing each company as a separate and distinct entity and thus compromises the objectivity of such analysis.

    • mm Shermika Harvey says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Wallace. I’m a researcher at heart therefore the need to be able to departmentalize information given in order to properly evaluate and analysis. When there is aggregation of several concepts or companies in this case, we lose the totality of the each company from conception to its current position in vision, mission, and practices.

  5. mm John Muhanji says:

    Thank you Shermika for your insightful thoughts on the four. It’s actually an issue to ponder especially the questions you have finally asked. where are we moving next? May as Galloway had indicated who will be the fifth after the four dominating everywhere including churches. Bibles are no longer being printed because you can find them online. the four have become our consultants in life for all we need to know.

  6. mm Rev Jacob Bolton says:

    First off, loved your term “blue language” it totally made me laugh out loud.

    Second, you raise such a great point about companies helping to right the wrong they have placed on society. This is a big topic in my field of research (fossil fuel companies, etc) and will be fascinating to see what happens in the world of information sharing/tech.

  7. mm Harry Fritzenschaft says:

    Shermika,
    I am sorry I am just now seeing this. Thanks so much for sharing your very well cited cogent thoughts. Your perspective of what is going on in the Bay Area towards housing development is so helpful to an uninformed outsider like me. As we read sources such as The Four, I always wonder, “What is God up to in this day in our land?” Thanks again and many blessings.

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