I wish I could say this news surprises me. It doesn’t. Not even a little. Today you see, perhaps more than at any other time in history, the only thing that really matters is the bottom line. In other words: Money.
The level of greed I see displayed regularly in our world astounds me. It really does. Sure, we all love money and there are probably not too many of us that would deny that we would love to be millionaires.
But, how many of us would be willing to harm or even kill others to become rich? Perhaps more realistically, how many of us would be willing to endanger the health or even the lives of others to enrich ourselves? I’m pretty comfortable saying that it is something I would never do.
There are so many instances of powerful corporations putting the public’s health and well-being in jeopardy that I hardly no where to begin. Since this headline jumped out at me today, I decided to start with Boeing.
Like their corporate brethren, Boeing appears to have put its own financial interest above the safety of the millions of people who fly on the aircraft they design and manufacture.
This article reveals that Boeing has hired low-wage software developers from countries like India to design the software that controls the aircraft they produce. When you are writing software that controls multi-ton machines that fly through the air miles above the ground at hundreds of miles per hour with people inside, you would think there would be a considerable effort invested in making sure that software was bug-free and as solid as any piece of code could ever be. It sure doesn’t look like that was the case with the software that controls the now-infamous Boeing 737 Max.
Why would Boeing ever let such a thing happen? Lives are literally at stake, but as I indicated above, that priority pales in comparison to profits at many big corporations and I have no reason to believe that Boeing isn’t one of them.
As the article I linked to above points out, Boeing hired a software development company from India to work with their own engineers. American software engineers are quite expensive compared to those from India. Just as Disney did a few years ago when they fired some of their dedicated IT employees a few years ago, it appears Boeing is also trying to increase their profits by paying less for foreign workers that are obviously less capable. The Disney story is one I have known about since the beginning and the reason I would never again spend a dime on any of their products or services.
Naturally, both Boeing and the Indian software company they they hired deny that the recent 737 Max failures had anything to do with work done by the Indian software developers. I am reminded of a famous denial from the 1990s that went something like this: “I never had sex with that woman. Miss Lewinski.”
When you’re hurdling through the air at 500 miles per hour 6 miles above the earth you’d like to think that the contraption you are flying in has been designed and tested by the most capable people humanity has to offer. In the case of the Boeing 737 Max, it appears that may not have been the case. God knows if the same thing is true for Boeing’s other aircraft, hundreds or thousands of which are in the air right at this moment. Possibly right over your head.
If Boeing’s reliance on a foreign software development company did result in the errors that brought down two of their 737 Max jets packed with people, it would be interesting to ask company executives if the lives of 346 people is an acceptable price to pay in order to save some money by hiring low-wage programmers in order to increase profits.
There is little that disgusts me more these days than the increasing level of corporate misbehavior that can result in real harm to real people. The only thing I can think of that might disgust me more is the behavior or violent criminals, brutal regimes like North Korea and of course, the endless self-serving behavior of politicians.