Big Tech is the new Walmart

 

Is this Iowa? No, it’s Google.

Big Tech is the new Walmart /img/google-data-center-iowa.jpg

For decades, Walmart department stores have had such negative consequences on almost all the communities they were opened in, that they have been publicly studied, and denounced, as the “Walmart Effect”.

Now, the same effect comes through much more glamorous companies. The ones that are the most valuable and for this also wrongly considered the most “innovative”.

You can find many real examples and data in a recent article by Time, that documents how:

Google hires lots of technicians to run its huge data centers in rural locations, but it always and only does it through subcontractors, like Modis Engineering, that almost never offer anything better than three-month contracts renewable for only two years, after which [people cannot] reapply to Modis for six months”. Regardless of how well they worked, and even if they do the exact same work as permanent Google employees.

It’s not just Google, of course

As Time documents, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon… do the same thing, every year, everywhere they want.

Besides, all these companies always demand deals to not pay local taxes, that would improve the local communities, even if they often exploit much more than local workforces: “Data centers use huge amounts of water to cool computer equipment, yet they’re being built in the drought-stricken American West.”

All this, to run infrastructure that, in the long term, is both unsustainable and excessively fragile. NOT good, this is.

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