06 Nov 2011

Corporate Cant

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Typical propaganda.

Samwise Gamgee attends an engineering department lecture at Boeing and finds the boasting louder about the levels of political correctness they’ve achieved than about their technical accomplishments.

I ventured over to the school of engineering today to hear a lecture from Boeing’s Chief Technological Officer. Being in a “social science,” I was looking forward to some good old fashioned capitalist talk. You know, men who wear ties and not track pants, free bottled water, profits, markets, calculus, etc?

The talk was impressive in a sense. The CTO highlighted Boeing’s technological successes by showing us videos of the materials testing they had to endure to satisfy the FAA. They basically would bend the wings of a 787 about 25 feet from the tip on each side, making the plane virtually U shaped. They would land 787’s all around the world, in freezing cold, in 35-50 mph crosswinds, loaded down with a million pounds of steel. The tests were impressive enough to earn a spontaneous round of applause from the audience of mostly engineers and faculty. Plus, you have to admit, humans went from not being able to fly in 1903 to a jet engine by the 1930’s. That’s an extraordinary rate of growth!

But then came the truly impressive portion of the talk; environmental progressivism and diversity! According to the CTO, the “most important”… let me say that again … the MOST IMPORTANT objective technologically for Boeing is environmentally progressive operations. Large portions of research dollars are devoted to bio fuels that are never to be made using drinkable water or food sources. At this point, students began to look around and some rolled their eyes. Some fat bearded grad student laughed… I won’t say who. Words like “footprint,” “carbon reduction” and “community” were used.

Finally, the whole talk was capped off by something that looked like a University of Iowa brochure that had been shoddily photo shopped. A video was shown that included a virtual ethnic tapestry of diversity; people from all races laughing, pointing at diagrams and whatnot. I looked around the room and wondered if all the nerdy Asian and white guys jived with the whole “diversity” portion of the technological presentation.

Why is it that every company feels the need to pay lip service to climate change and diversity? I wanted to ask the fella, “did someone from the government make you say these things?” Was he jumping through hoops to keep various tax incentives or to keep the FAA and other regulatory agencies happy?

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