Sweet Dreams, iPhone

I have this routine, you see. Every night after brushing my teeth, I get into bed and set three differently timed alarms for my morning wake up. It has become natural, an instinct even. I slide open the lock screen, type in my four-digit password, and flip to the second page of the home screen. By clicking the top right corner App, I access my “Utilities” category in order to get to the “Clock.” I never set an alarm ahead of time; it’s become part of my sleep routine for it gives me peace of mind.

Where is the logic in this? The Apple product is advanced enough that it allows you to preset alarms at different times for the days of the week – yet this is a capability I choose to overlook. After listening to Mr. Daisey’s monologue, I am concerned by my need to be in touch with my iPhone, an object, before I am able to rest. It’s as if once my phone knows I need to be up at a certain time, my brain registers that it can shut down to sleep. What does that say about me? Have most people adopted this same routine? Are people ditching their real alarm clocks for their smart phone because it can be tucked underneath their pillow? The realization that the thing I want close to me at the end of a long day is my iPhone, terrifies me – more than a little bit.

As I observe my peers at the computers in the library, I see that most of their iPhones are placed directly next to the mouse pad. How strange it needs to be out when the computer in front of them is the only thing they need in order to do their work.  Like me, with my phone snuggled up next to my pillow, it seems like everyone needs their phone to be in a certain spot in order to feel a sense of calm. The chances that an extreme circumstance will arise with only this iPhone as a way of necessary communication are very slim. This feeling of needing this object close to you at all times is unrealistic and a construct.  Even so, people like me are panicked when we cannot find our phones and given a sense of calm and reassurance when we know that our little iPhone is right there next to us. This week’s podcast and assignment forced me to question when this form of behavior became commonplace. Without my knowledge, my device has become the thing that puts me to sleep at night and gives me a thumbs up to go ahead and start that paper. I pose this question despite learning how some of Apple’s subcontractors treat their employees.  Why would I, and many others, be so attached to a brand that morally may be questionable? Yes it is wrong that this monster of a company does its best to hide these truths in its brand’s shadow. Yes of course, the treatment of these workers is unjust and they deserve way better treatment but I, and the rest of this consumerist society, have developed an attachment to my device and the label that created it.  I wish I could say that in recognizing this issue I want to detach myself from my iPhone but the attachment is to strong and I cannot severe the electrical umbilical cord that connects me to this artificial source of comfort.


Enforced Ethics

1. Why does Mills make the argument that it is critical for society to have a sociological imagination?

He argues that the sociological imagination is crucial not only for individuals, but also for groups, to use when making decisions.  Throughout the article, he explains that if people act with this kind of consideration, they will be able to operate in a more understanding manner. By doing this, it not only makes society better, but it would create a cohesiveness of decision making for both one’s personal and business life. Mills continues that society needs the sociological imagination in order to think carefully – using the information to act in a way that is significant or sometimes insignificant to them.  Mills suggests that motives of one’s behavior wouldn’t be questioned since the thought process could by the society that used this method of thinking.

2. What did Standard and Poor and Moody do to contribute to the financial crisis of 2008?

Listed above are the two largest rating companies that helped contribute to the recession. Their purpose was to rate the riskiness of securities, and especially mortgages. Although the questions asks, “what did” they do, the question should be asked in terms of “what didn’t they do?”

The businesses continued rating mortgages on the highest possible levels, which in fact in some cases, have been disqualified. The problems were that the companies did not foresee a decline in the housing market, and therefore failed in their responsibilities. The system in which they were giving these ratings was thoroughly defective.  The companies were giving high ratings, not because the people deserved them, but in order to be hired by the agencies that were giving these ratings. This in turn ensured more happy customers, and therefore created a higher paycheck for Standard and Poor and Moody. By failing to give appropriate ratings, high-risk investments were made because of a falsely high rating.

3. Should large businesses leaders be obligated to make sure that their company is run in an ethical manner?

“Ethical” is a loose term, for the definition can vary depending on who is answering the question. If we reflect on the sociological imagination that Mills discusses, there is an explanation of ethical reasoning outlined that business leaders should use. By utilizing the imagination, there will always be a simplistic or creative solution that is likely to end with a positive outcome – not only for oneself, but also for the community involved. Although events cannot be changed, it is the reaction and adaptation to these occurrences that define the nature and ethical practices of a business.

The company Barclays was involved in a scandal in which they were being accused of rigging interest rates. After months of a quiet lull, Anthony Jenkins came out publically to publically uphold the five values most cherished by the company: respect, integrity, service, excellence and stewardship. He also states that he doesn’t “want to do it for public relations…it is simply how [he] will run Barclays. Yes, this announcement was made after a scandal, but it simply amplifies the point that leaders should make sure that the company is run in an ethical way. Not only will they have to out and apologize to the public, but will have to take the time to restructure the way the company runs; meaning time wasted. Leaders do have the obligation to enforce ethical practices, for it is the only way to ensure self-preservation from a shaming community.