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Terminator 3? [Was: Re: Accessible Flash]

From: Charles F. Munat <chas@munat.com>
Date: Tue, 05 Mar 2002 10:28:01 -0800
Message-ID: <3C850E31.8070602@munat.com>
To: "WAI (E-mail)" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

RUST Randal wrote:
 > Good grief, can't we at least recognize that Macromedia is moving in
 > the right direction?  I'm not flaming Bob, but all too often on
 > this list people are complaining about how a web site or a product
 > falls short of being accessible in some way or another, even though
 > people are trying very hard to make things as accessible as
 > possible.

Key word: people.

If Macromedia were "trying very hard" to make Flash accessible, then it
would have been accessible and available on every platform long ago.

What amazes me about reactions on this list is not that some people 
complain, but that others rush to defend mega-corporations for making 
trivial progress. Then again, the ability of human beings to live in 
denial of the obvious never ceases to astonish me.

Here is a little story. Remember those old science fiction tales, the 
ones where humanity invents thinking machines and then the machines take 
over? The latest in the series were probably the Terminator movies.

Well, those machines were invented several centuries ago, and perfected 
in the nineteenth century. And they've since taken over, though the 
process was so slow and gradual that most human beings grew to accept it 
as natural.

The reason we have trouble recognizing that we are now slaves to our 
machines is because the machines in question have no physical form. They 
are abstract entities: legal machines. They are called corporations.

Corporations are immortal. They have the same legal rights as a person, 
which means, in effect, that they have more legal rights than any 
person. They are predators, and the larger and stronger they grow, the 
more effectively they can crush any resistance and swallow up the 
competition.

Corporations exist for only one purpose: to make a profit. They will 
destroy anything in their pursuit of profit, because they have no other 
values. In order to prevent or limit this destruction, they must be kept 
under control by strong governments, but now they have grown stronger 
than any government, and so the pace of destruction increases worldwide.

Inside every corporation are people. Since corporations are inanimate, 
abstract entities, they must use people to have any effect at all. When 
corporations are still babies, those people may have some effect on the 
actions of the corporation. But when a corporation grows large, then the 
efforts of its people are overwhelmed by the sheer momentum of the 
corporation as a whole.

If you think that this is a radical philosophy, then you are mistaken. 
It is not radical and it is not a philosophy. It is a simple statement 
(albeit a somewhat colorful one) of the truth.

That Macromedia has come this short distance indicates that there are 
probably several people at Macromedia who've been working very hard to 
accomplish this. It is to those people, not to Macromedia the abstract 
legal entity, that we owe our thanks and support. Instead of ascribing 
the progress made to the machine, let's find out who at Macromedia is 
behind this progress and publicly thank them for what must have been a 
difficult struggle. We need to encourage people, not "corporations."

And while we are encouraging those individuals who have fought to get 
the corporation to do something right, we should be chastizing the 
corporation itself (and corporations in general) for not doing enough.

But then if we really want to change the world, we need to rethink 
corporations themselves. There is no reason that we can't create legal 
entities that will strive to better life for everyone on this planet. 
It's all in how they're constructed. A better world is possible.

But given the remarkable ability of humans to live in denial, I'm not 
holding my breath.

Sincerely,
Charles F. Munat
Seattle, Washington
Received on Tuesday, 5 March 2002 14:41:31 GMT

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