How United Airlines’ Analytics and Algorithms Can Help to Save American Democracy

Maury Seldin, Liz Johnson


This essay and analysis brings to light how analytics and algorithms, such as those used by United Airlines in the
decision to forcibly remove a passenger, highlights the interdependence between American business and American
Democracy. The focus is on the injustices to a diverse group of stakeholders. Considering the United States Supreme
Court ruling in 2010 that corporations have rights like people do, the critical question is in the relationships of rights
of the non-corporate people; stakeholders including passengers, company personnel, management, stockholders, and
the general public. All of this is in the context of corporate culture and the evolving culture of American Democracy.
The concentration on bottom line analytics and disregard for ethical treatment of various stakeholders, especially
fare-paying passengers, weakens the respect for the integrity of rights among the variety of stakeholders. The
consequence is an endangerment of the future of American Democracy, especially from internal self-destructive
forces of unbridled capitalism.

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World Journal of Social Science     ISSN 2329-9347 (Print)  ISSN 2329-9355 (Online)

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