DEV Community

Cover image for Ethical Debt, we all have it. Now what?
Sarah P
Sarah P

Posted on

Ethical Debt, we all have it. Now what?

As this election season ends like a very awkward date with that kid you had a crush on in High School, there will be many retrospectives. Twitter and Facebook both handled this final hour very differently. What does that mean for the future of the platforms and democracy? These are questions we all should be asking on repeat.

But the reality is tech culture itself encourages ethical debt by reinforcing the grind and grow mentality. While also supporting the power structures implemented by the founding fathers of this country.

Just like now, the 1700s were years of knowledge-sharing and fast growth. Ethical questions regarding diversity are brought up frequently at the beginning of this era's democratic beginning. Questions set aside in the wake of ambitious men, white men like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. They ultimately kept their resource theft side-gig. Landowners whose decisions kept slavery and inequality around by controlling the founding of this country. Decisions we are still paying for in black lives and tight elections with the racist landowners of our season.

But Ethical debt is just like Technical debt or laundry; nobody wants to acknowledge and face the pile in the corner.

It's more fun and exciting to build and reap the reward than to review or remove things from the stack. It's hard to accept the cycle of creation and death in any endeavor.

But the truth is that the virtual realm is just getting more significant in daily life. These problems, like angles just a few degrees apart, only grow with time and influence.

Suppose you are a startup just getting started. Be aware that someday you may pay the price for your teams' lack of diversity and pay equity. Either directly with the individuals, you harm. Or more likely, through what is hiding in your code, ready pounce and cause a public relations nightmare.

Diversity is a lens that opens up the world. It's like that bigger screen with smaller pixels. You don't see the problems that will take your company down because you refuse to see the people you are harming. But if you accept the cycle and both diversify your team and your process. You become part of the solution and put yourself ahead of the field.

The outcry for tech companies to deal with ethical debt is only going to grow from here. What story will the future say about you and the choices you made today?

Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

Discussion (0)