What we've been reading: Diversity, Avocado Wolfe and baking

What we've been reading
Francois Badenhorst
Deputy editor
BusinessZone and UK Business Forums
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Since we’re all on the cusp of a hellish nuclear apocalypse, we may as well read and discuss some interesting ideas, right? Right?!

Right. So for this week’s What we’ve been reading, we’re gonna try and carve out an oasis of calm for you to enjoy. And if you see a mushroom cloud on the horizon: well, I’m glad you’re spending your final moments with BusinessZone.

A Google employee wrote an anti-diversity ‘manifesto’ that’s going viral inside the company

Google, our almighty internet overlord, went into meltdown this week. The company has been very vocal recently about its diversity stats and how it plans to tone down its homogeneity. They even have a job title called ‘vice-president of diversity’.

This campaign got stuck in the craw of one of Google’s engineers, who penned a manifesto of sorts and shared it with colleagues. In it, he argues that any extant gender gaps at Google are the result of “biological differences between men and women and that the company shouldn’t offer programs that help under-represented groups”.

The engineer in question has since been fired. The online debate has only just started.

If I was being sceptical, I’d argue Google’s rainbow coalition exists to distract from all the nefarious things they get up to with our data. As if spying is fine as long as the people spying are an even 50-50 gender split.

But, whatever.

David Avocado Wolfe is the biggest asshole in the multiverse

The Outline is killing it right now. Their content is brilliantly acidic, sure -- but it’s always paired with a clever and funny design. This dismantling of a social media shyster is not only delicious: it looks great!

You’ve probably stepped into the dog turd that is David Wolfe’s ideas. He’s all over Facebook and Twitter. Here’s a taster of Wolfe’s atrociously insane brain farts: mushrooms aren’t of this planet, they rode in on the cosmic wind.

It’s a hilarious article. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that Wolfe is an entrepreneur; an extremely successful one. This guy, he’s not a nincompoop. He knows what he’s doing and who his audience is. The more salient question is an ethical one: to what extent is it the entrepreneur’s responsibility to act ethically? Is it their responsibility at all?

David Wolfe clearly has his answer. Do you have yours?

I Don't Want Anyone Forced to Bake Me a Cake

There was a big controversy late last year when a Christian couple who ran a bakery refused to bake a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan on it.

After complaints and a court case (and appeal), it was decided that the bakery wasn’t exempt from discrimination laws and couldn’t refuse custom on the basis of their own religious beliefs.

The question then is: should a private business be compelled to do anything? According to FEE’s Pierre-Guy Veer, a gay man, the answer is no, but not quite for the reason you think:

“Instead of having government force businesses to serve anyone, I want it to let them discriminate in the open. This way, I know exactly where not to do business,” he writes. “Because even if I were heterosexual, I would very likely boycott businesses that discriminate on arbitrary traits like sexual orientation or skin colour.

“It’s not a crime – no one’s life or property is endangered by this refusal of doing business – but it goes against my moral standards of treating every human being as an equal.”

People in rich countries are dying of loneliness

Eighteen-percent of UK adults felt lonely 'always' or 'often', one-third of Americans are lonely, and we know that loneliness kills.

After the tragic death of Jo Cox last year, MPs launched the Cox Commission which aims to tackle the epidemic of loneliness. It was an issue that Cox passionately cared about and one she saw all too frequently in her constituency.

As Quartz points out, the problem isn’t limited to “rich” countries -- but the problem is definitely a more acute feature in affluent cultures: “Longer life expectancy, decreasing marriage rates, people having fewer children, more people getting divorced, and more people living alone."

 

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