Sunday, May 10, 2020

A seriously unstable Elon Musk strikes again

I seem to be devoting a disproportionate amount of this blog to Elon Musk, one way or another. But then I guess he is a very newsworthy guy. People say he's very clever, and he's certainly rich and successful, but he still seems to do and say some very stupid things.
The latest Musk stunt to hit the presses is that he so objects to the state of California interfering with his profit-making that he is seriously considering moving his entire Tesla operation out of Fremont, California, to a state more willing to accommodate his wishes.
The issue of course is that California is insisting that Tesla stay closed at least until the end of May, in accordance with the state's lockdown measures designed to slow the advance of the COVID-19 pandemic. Musk, none too concerned with the health and safety of his 10,000 or so workers, calls the decision "facist", a "serious risk" to US business, and "unconstitutional".
For now, Musk is insisting that he will reopen the plant next week, notwithstanding the state's ruling. If he is actively prevented from doing so, he says he will move the factory, lock, stock and barrel, to a more compliant and less regulated state like Texas or Nevada. This will, of course, cost the company millions and take an estimated 12-18 months. The actual Tesla employees are not quite so gung ho about returning to work in the midst of a pandemic, but feel they have to toe the line, even against their better judgement, or risk losing their jobs permanently.
So, rather than stay closed for another three weeks against his divine will, Musk is willing to do all this, and presumably lay off or physically move many thousands of workers in the process. If this is the action of an intelligent person, then it is not the action of a well-adjusted, mentally stable person? Oh, boy, no.

Stable or not, Musk may just have won this particular game of chicken. The San Francisco Bay Area authorities have blinked first, and have given the go-ahead for Tesla to officially re-open next week, subject to various worker safety precautions that the company has already agreed to.
So, we may never know whether Musk is actually crazy enough to follow through on his bizarre threats to relocate the whole company's US operations over a disagreement on the health of its workers. Only that he is crazy enough to threaten it.

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