thenondualtankie

Would you work for the defense industry?

12 posts in this topic

This post is especially for engineers / technically minded types, but please chip in anyway if you're not in that category.

In a lot of circles it's considered bad to work for so-called 'defense' companies. You're directly contributing to the death of Middle Eastern children. I find myself largely in this camp.

But is it always true that designing weapons is immoral? Surely not, because bad guys do exist. Under what circumstances would you agree to work on weapons systems? What country would you want to be working for, or what kind of country?

Further, should one just take the 'the game is the game' attitude and simply follow the money? Defense pays. And the challenges are very interesting from a technical perspective.

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On 3/18/2024 at 6:37 AM, thenondualtankie said:

But is it always true that designing weapons is immoral? Surely not, because bad guys do exist. Under what circumstances would you agree to work on weapons systems? What country would you want to be working for, or what kind of country?

This is the type of predicament that Albert Einstein found himself in, as an American scientist working on atom bombs during the WWII, because Werner Heisenberg decided to do that for Germany. The predicament was that 'If world-class scientists of other countries are working on this high-leverage weapon, the world-class scientist of my country (me) has to work on it for my country!' 

You're not Einstein or Heisenberg, though. There are already enough big-wigs working on missile-technology and stuff like that. Morality is a much simpler decision for you. It's more about what you want to do with your life and what your value-system is. 

On 3/18/2024 at 6:37 AM, thenondualtankie said:

Further, should one just take the 'the game is the game' attitude and simply follow the money? Defense pays. And the challenges are very interesting from a technical perspective.

Never forget that AI is on the rise and that one day, what you build won't belong to humanity - it'll belong to AI. Precisely because geopolitics will become so complicated that the bureaucratic responsibilities will be entrusted to AI, including the operation of high-tech weapons. 

There are a lot of interesting technical challenges in a lot of other areas. Please, do some good work with your time and energy. Make a positive contribution to the world. 

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That though came to me as well, going into electrical engineering.

If one is on this forum I regard them as an above average consciousness individual, open to feel the collective suffering at one point or another. I don't fret they will leave the industry at some point, at the moment they earn enough, and you can make a similar argument for many industries, some appearing pure.

We need money to survive. Even Leo worked in online advertising, albeit it's less harmful than weapons manufacturing.

Yes, I'd go 'the game is the game' until I earn enough to leave it.

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I personally wouldn't

My mum always taught me that there are three types of companies she would never work for: Guns, Drugs and Gambling

In the end, you wanna be making a positive impact in the world. Let other people have that job. Work in something that uplifts humanity, you will feel more fulfilled. 

This is just my opinion


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Posted (edited)

Even if you don't directly, as long as you work for some larger corporate entity you are indirectly supporting trade with pharma companies, big oil, cheap clothing manufacturers, offshore exploitative services, greedy auditing firms etc. In some shape or form most of those are connected to defense industry even if only by supplying some form of  3rd party software. You can't avoid it. Even just by shopping at large supermarkets, you're part of that albeit indirectly - those groceries were delivered to you by a vehicle with a fossil fuel emision, that fuel was purchased from company like Shell who buys it from some multinational corporation, who probably also supplies fossil fuels for navy, airforce and military vehicles all over the place. 

If you want to have a reasonably well paid career, you can't avoid it completely but ofcourse you can always choose to be employed by a highly reputable company like Patagonia, for example who have extremely strict policy on their supply chain and have scored the highest B-Corp rating ever recorded. But businesses like that are extremely rare. 

Or you can go solo, but even then complete disconnection from this chain might not be possible as you'll likely need 3rd party software, hardware tech, subscriptions of all kinds, payment platforms etc etc. 

So if the position is well paid and you can maybe offset that "evil footpring" elsewhere such as eating fewer animals, recycling more, composting, driving less & cycling more and just being a better human being. Then go for it and forgive yourself. 

Edited by Michael569

“If you find yourself acting to impress others, or avoiding action out of fear of what they might think, you have left the path.” ― Epictetus

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I don't think my soul will allow me to work there. But I don't judge people who do.

But not all those weapons are going to bomb teenager girls in the middleast. A lot of it is used to fight against evil. So take that into consideration. 

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No more morally bereft than the fast food industry. At least humans are aggressive and we have to take measures to defend ourselves whether collectively or individually. Nobody needs to eat fast food and the only reason fast food exists is because we tend to eat more for pleasure than nutrition. Or such foods were invented when there was no real knowledge of nutrition. 

An IT worker is also "immoral" since how the raw materials for microchips and processors often contain harm. 

There probably aren't many industries that are harm-free in some capacity. A drug a doctor prescribes might have been tested on animals, for instance. 

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Posted (edited)

Bit of a tangent but sorta related.. I'd go into Law just to help the helpless and poor. If it's something I can pull off lmao.

Edited by puporing

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         ┊ ┊⋆ ┊ . ♪ 星空のディスタンス ♫┆彡 what are you dreaming today?

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Without a strong defense it is not possible to have a stable and functional state. I don't think arms manufacturing is inherently immoral with the exceptions of weapons of mass destruction IMO. It is more how those weapons are used and to who it is being sold to. Unfortunately, it is the norm to for western arms manufacturers to sell weapons to authoritarian regimes.

The silver lining for me is that better weapons will keep your boys alive.

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Humans are aggressive. War happens. It could be argued that the defence industry is a boon and not a hindrance. Blame human nature. 

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As the other would say, responsible but not guilty. 

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The devil is in the details.

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