The ownerless hammer

The current crisis that threatens life and social coexistence incited me to think about the effects that man-made technological tools produce on the socio-economic conditions of the pandemic that humanity suffers.

Paulo Coelho wrote that a hammer would make no sense if there were no nails to hit in the world. And even if there were nails, the hammer would not be useful if you just thought: “I can stick those nails with two strokes”, the hammer has to work, be used by the owner´s hand and be used in its function.[1]

Technological tools that do not facilitate improvements in the living conditions of the social environment in which they have developed, lack, like the hammer of Coelho, the hand of their owners.

Paradoxically with the high levels of poverty, inequality and informality that exist, today there is a tremendous technological development created by man.

Technological development alone cannot solve impoverishment, inequality, social conflict, confrontation, and the existence of injustice, but its use can provide marginal sectors with minimal education, some solutions to their subsistence.  The digital economy and networks allow the community to be supplied without state control and economic operators, whatever their size, can enjoy their services with minimal contribution costs or without them.

Both the unemployment resulting from the economic hecatomb created by the circumstances and the one resulting from the substitution that technology produces in the less skilled work, leads the unemployed to seek in informality a minimum solution to their subsistence.[2]

The state, which is primarily responsible for the well-being of society, must take care of the provision of essential services that improve their quality of life and develop opportunities for the disadvantaged sectors and to do so requires the necessary input.

How to supply it in critical circumstances such as those prevailing in society today?

The economy is in a free fall towards greater informality, aggravated by the needs arising from the lack of employment and the impoverishment of society; it is therefore not foreseeable to expect a regular response from the community to the social pact.

Is it possible to imagine Latin American States subjecting small informals to digital control in pursuit of transparency, affecting the livelihoods they represent for them or coercing the payment of taxes to unemployed communities without access to education, health, or vital services?

The critical conditions of the economy, the degradation of natural goods, the inadequacy of basic services and the health situation facing humanity, force institutions to seek solutions from a different perspective.

A culture of contributive solidarity, supported by new technologies and an activity of the state aimed at preparing the community for their development and use with a social sense, can give hope for a better coexistence.

From the technology “the Earth is flat” [3] nationalisms must be overcome, the imposition on transactions that take place in the cloud implies cooperative changes in social organizations.

New technologies lead us to a different concept of taxation. Insisting on adapting the old rules of taxation to the economic forms that result from the application of new digital technologies can be foolish.

The time has come to think of an inclusive social reorganization of impoverished communities, to discuss common goals and responsibilities of States, international organizations, and multinational companies with the Human as a top priority.

A social solidarity effort is needed that ensures the harmonious coexistence of humanity, supported by the tools of its creation, that can control the citizens’ indignation and the revolts of the new generations demanding changes.

It may be less utopian to find the “owner of the hammer” in the common use of technological tools in solidarity, than to expect changes in the selfish behavior of communities without technology support.


[1] The pilgrim- Paulo Coelho
[2] According to ILO figures, an informality rate of 53% in Latin America and the Caribbean represents 140 million workers in formal unemployment.
[3] Thomas L. Friedman, the Earth is flat, 2005

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1 comment

  1. Gildreed Jaqueline Trochez Reply

    Completely in agreement with the subject, although it is true that the digital economy has had a great impact on productivity, research, etc. This development must be adapted to employees as employers always in search of labor and digital resilience that positively impacts the structure of all sectors

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