Category Archives: Labor

COVID-19 Has Left Some Corporations With Lots Of … CASH

Business, COVID-19, Economy, Labor

Short term mañana thinking is endemic in business, too.

Were companies prepared for these “black swans,” these “highly improbable events” like corona virus? It turns out, as The Economist observes, that,

It might be possible, in principle, to self-insure against a disastrous drop in overall demand by sacrificing margins in order to build up buffers and to keep open strategic options the company will probably never willingly choose to use. But good luck convincing investors of that approach. Strategies which pay off handsomely in the event of even the worst case are terribly expensive.

Given the wealth transfer initiated from small to big business, due to the structure of the state’s stimulus, it is no surprise to learn that gargantuan business has endured quite well:

… many companies are already sitting on stacks of cash. Few boast sofas as plumply padded as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook, which have $270bn in net cash between them, enough to finance many countries’ covid-related fiscal stimulus. But the total cash holdings of the world’s 2,000 biggest listed non-financial corporations increased from $6.6trn in 2010 to $14.2trn today.

Trust Republicans To Sabotage A Safe Return To Work

Business, COVID-19, Free Markets, Labor, Law, libertarianism, Private Property, Regulation, Republicans

“In the absence of clinical therapies or a vaccine for coronavirus, the successful return to work rests, very plainly, on the willingness of the citizenry to cover up, keep clean and keep a distance.” (“The Ethics of Social Distancing: A Libertarian Perspective.”)

If businesses want customers to resume consumption and workers to stay safe and productive on the job—they must, within reason, provide a safe working and shopping environment.

The market incentivizes business to protect customers and employees and thus to also reduce the spread of COVID. If business acts recklessly, customers will stay away. And if companies place workers in a precarious position, then the worker who gets sick on the job generally has recourse through litigation.

The free-market and the law—more so than government regulation—provide corrective mechanisms to ensure workers and customers are safe. Government regulations are generally agreements between industrial special interests and the state. Duly, they mostly benefit those interests alone.

By removing the incentives aforementioned,  so necessary in a society based on ordered liberty, the government sabotages a safe return to work, as it fails to allow corrective mechanisms to work.

Trust the Republicans, then, to strive to remove the incentives for business to fit the workplace for success in the age of coronavirus.

To hell with the desperate young worker, who toils in a crowded, unclean, meatpacking facility, currently a “serious vector for the pandemic.”

Or, the flight attendant who was told by the airline she’d be fired if she wore a mask. If they get sick on the job because their employers refused to set up and suit up for COVID—the worker will have no recourse, courtesy of the Republicans’ liability protection guarantees.

With half of all U.S. states forging ahead with strategies for easing restrictions on restaurants, retail and other businesses shuttered by the coronavirus crisis, business groups have been pushing for protection against COVID-19-related lawsuits …The Trump administration is also pushing for liability safeguards … [Reuters]

GOP lawmakers have warned that without additional protections they believe business owners will be too fearful of litigation to reopen.

McConnell, during an interview with Fox News on Tuesday, called the extra protections his “red line.”

“Let me make it perfectly clear, the Senate is not interested in passing a bill that does not have liability protection. … What I’m saying is we have a red line on liability. It won’t pass the Senate without it,” he added.

Stripped of baffle-gab, this means that Republicans wish to shield business from the consequences of reckless disregards for the safety of shoppers and workers. For the courts will examine cases on their merit, and throw them out if they are frivolous.

Fail to allow corrective mechanisms like litigation to work—and you’ll increase illness, death and poverty and spread more devastation.

* Thanks, Scott Olson | Getty Images, for fair use.

@ Unz Review.

UPDATED III (5/3): NEW COLUMN: Who Invited The World To Infect America?

COVID-19, IMMIGRATION, Labor, Logic, Multiculturalism, Outsourcing, Technology, The West, Trade

UPDATE II (5/2): NEW COLUMN is “Who Invited The World To Infect America?” It first appeared on The Unz Review and WND.COM. It’s currently on American Greatness.

UPDATED I (5/1):  Fans of American Greatness: The column will appear there on Monday.

And excerpt:

On March 31, the number of Americans dead from coronavirus stood at 3,900! A mere month on, at the time of writing, 63,801 Americans have perished.

American deaths by COVID account for a fourth of the world’s, including those in the undeveloped world. To ignore this Third-World-like specter is to dismiss the dead and the dying. It’s tantamount to cancel culture!

China sucks. But if the United States must rely on the Chinese government to keep its citizens safe, then what kind of a Micky Mouse country is it?

If the American people can be convinced by their government to saddle a foreign power with the responsibility for their existential welfare—what kind of people are we?

China didn’t force the traitors of the American economy to shift crucial production lines to its country and strand Americans without surgical and N-95 masks and medication; homegrown turncoats made that decision, all by their lonesome.

Trade Goods, Not Places

Decades ago, the political, corporate and industrial leaders of the West chose to enmesh the fate of their pliable people with that of the vigorous, voracious Chinese.

Like the U.S., another hard-hit region—Northern Italy, so progressive and tony—had swung its tollgates open. Like greedy, northern, Yankee industrialists, Italy outsourced whole production lines to China.

Free trade in goods is great. But trade goods, not places. The tollgates were swung open to human trade, or population replacement.

Since the Chinese had begun settling in Northern Italy and buying up assets, I hazard that, much like youngsters of King County, in Washington State—local Italian girls and boys have had a hard time affording life in their homeland. And now, their grandparents and parents are dying.

Italy constructed gleaming tarmacs to accommodate the many direct flights to and from Wuhan. Over 100,000 citizens from China moved to Italy. As the Chinese accrued wealth over the past two decades, still more took up residence in Northern Italy, and bought-up Italian firms.

See if you can spot the trend. New York City, by Wikipedia’s telling, is home to far and away “the highest Chinese-American population of any city proper.”

Courtesy of an Italian strain of COVID-19, the New York metropolitan area has been as badly struck as Italy. In … early April of 2020, it was said that “coronavirus was killing a person roughly every four minutes in New York state, and about every six minutes in New York City.”

In my state of Washington, the overwhelming majority of Chinese reside in King County and Snohomish County, where the infection was seeded and from where it spread.

The West’s political and corporate leaders, not China’s, had opened their borders to the world’s flotsam and jetsam. Agreements to exchange goods and people reflected the choices of these gilded global elites, not those of their people.

Economic Elephantiasis

The sphinxly Bill Gates, we are told, foresaw the pandemic. Gates also pioneered the outsourcing of American lives to China (and India). I say “lives,” because, as it has become abundantly clear, in the wake of COVID, the very stuff of life has been outsourced to China. Not mere jobs; but careers, not just some products, but entire production lines; not one or two manufacturing plants, but the means of production.

Engineers who can think hate Gates. America’s best and brightest have done time supervising and titivating squalid, sub-par Chinese factories, when they knew full well that, instead of cheap, nasty, and disposable, their colleagues back at home could have delivered classy, attractive, durable and sustainable products and production capability, around which real communities would have coalesced. …

… READ THE REST. NEW COLUMN is “Who Invited The World To Infect America?” It’s currently on American Greatness.

UPDATE III (5/3):  The numbers game.

American Leaders, Political and Corporate, Outsourced Life To China

China, Donald Trump, Ethics, Foreign Policy, Healthcare, Homeland Security, Labor, Outsourcing, Trade

Unless major shifts are taken by the West to stop outsourcing life to China—it is Western leaders who must be considered traitors to their people. China is just being China. Ultimate retributive action against China must come from our leaders. Ire must be directed at our leaders if they continue to outsource life to China, which includes manufacturing as well as energetically replacing American workers with Chinese workers.

It’s not enough to agonize “aloud, about how [the West] found [itself] so dependent on a country like China.

Via The Economist’s Chaguan column:

“On March 29th the Mail on Sunday, a British newspaper, quoted government ministers blaming Chinese secrecy over covid-19 for ruining the world economy. How could Britain [and the U.S.] not now review Sino-British [and Sino-American] ties?”

Easily, unless the people hold their leaders responsible for reckless endangerment …

European and American elites “were [so] confident of ‘change through trade’; that commerce with China will nudge that country towards openness and democracy.”

a propaganda campaign [is] under way inside China to stress that most new infections involve cases imported from abroad. Though almost all of these involve Chinese nationals, curbs on foreigners are tightening. The border has been shut to most of them. On March 27th the government shocked embassies in Beijing by declaring a halt to the issuing of new identity cards for most grades of diplomat. This was apparently in response to the flouting of virus controls by a Western envoy. Embassies, in effect, face a ban on staff rotations until at least mid-May.

…during this pandemic, POTUS seems strikingly unmoved by ethical questions about China’s conduct. Asked about Chinese propaganda accusing America of infecting China with covid-19, which his own aides have angrily denounced, Mr Trump shrugged. “Hey, every country does it,” he told Fox News

On April 19, Trump suggested that Chinese culpability for mass murder would depend on the presence of intent: “If it was a mistake, a mistake is a mistake. But if they deliberately carried responsibility for it, that’s what I mean, then there must be consequences.”

I agree with President Trump that the “autocracy called China” is characterized by “ruthless self-interest” that is praise-worthy. More so than America is China likely to act in the interest of its own people.