Elon Musk seemed cool from afar, and look, he’s slightly cooler than a lot of shitty billionaires but that isn’t saying much. Then the dude started talking about wanting to build a colony on mars and I was like: ohhh, so you’re completely batshit insane. I can’t actually think of a dumber waste of resources than that shit. So, you want like slave labor to build y’all spaceships so you can go try and colonize an inhospitable planet? But our environment might die? But, Mars’ environment’s already dead. Why on earth would anyone want to live there? Seriously, you’d want to live in a place where you could never go outside?
I shouldn’t have to even get started on how much this would actually fucking cost or how unbelievably implausible it all is. Seems like maybe feeding people or raising their quality of life in literally any other way would make more sense as something cool to do with your money, but whatevs.
Here’s the thing. Fame has gotten to this guy’s head. He’s deluded. We’ve got to stop listening to smart people (especially the ones who excel at capitalism). We need to start listening to wisdom instead if we’re going to pull out of this mess. Which is why it wasn’t surprising to me to learn that good ole Musk burger runs slave driver factories, just like seemingly everyone else in the owner class. From the Guardian:
“When Tesla bought a decommissioned car factory in Fremont, California, Elon Musk transformed the old-fashioned, unionized plant into a much-vaunted “factory of the future”, where giant robots named after X-Men shape and fold sheets of metal inside a gleaming white mecca of advanced manufacturing.
The appetite for Musk’s electric cars, and his promise to disrupt the carbon-reliant automobile industry, has helped Tesla’s value exceed that of both Ford and, briefly, General Motors (GM). But some of the human workers who share the factory with their robotic counterparts complain of grueling pressure – which they attribute to Musk’s aggressive production goals – and sometimes life-changing injuries.
Ambulances have been called more than 100 times since 2014 for workers experiencing fainting spells, dizziness, seizures, abnormal breathing and chest pains, according to incident reports obtained by the Guardian. Hundreds more were called for injuries and other medical issues.
In a phone interview about the conditions at the factory, which employs about 10,000 workers, the Tesla CEO conceded his workers had been “having a hard time, working long hours, and on hard jobs”, but said he cared deeply about their health and wellbeing. His company says its factory safety record has significantly improved over the last year.
Musk also said that Tesla should not be compared to major US carmakers and that its market capitalization, now more than $50bn, is unwarranted. “I do believe this market cap is higher than we have any right to deserve,” he said, pointing out his company produces just 1% of GM’s total output.
“We’re a money-losing company,” Musk added. “This is not some situation where, for example, we are just greedy capitalists who decided to skimp on safety in order to have more profits and dividends and that kind of thing. It’s just a question of how much money we lose. And how do we survive? How do we not die and have everyone lose their jobs?”
Musk’s account of the company’s approach differs from that of the 15 current and former factory workers who told the Guardian of a culture of long hours under intense pressure, sometimes through pain and injury, in order to fulfill the CEO’s ambitious production goals.
“I’ve seen people pass out, hit the floor like a pancake and smash their face open,” said Jonathan Galescu, a production technician at Tesla. “They just send us to work around him while he’s still lying on the floor.”
He was one of several workers who said they had seen co-workers collapse or be taken away in ambulances. “We had an associate on my line, he just kept working, kept working, kept working, next thing you know – he just fell on the ground,” said Mikey Catura, a worker on the battery pack line.
Richard Ortiz, another production worker, spoke admiringly of the high-tech shop floor. “It’s like you died and went to auto-worker heaven.” But he added: “Everything feels like the future but us.”
Look, it’s my shaman sense here that’s telling me that this guy is utterly useless. It’d be nice to think there’s some cool hip billionaire that’s totally going to save us like Tony Stark or some shit, but I’m not seeing it with the lot we’ve got currently. Elon Musk is nuttier than a Payday. Mark my words on that.
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