Daily Archives: August 26, 2021

Vaccine Greed: Capitalism Without Competition Isn’t Capitalism, It’s Exploitation

Among the pandemic’s many lessons, however, is that greed can easily work against the common good
By Jag Bhalla – DID GREED JUST save the day? That’s what British Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed recently. “The reason we have the vaccine success,” he said in a private call to Conservative members of Parliament, “is because of capitalism, because of greed.

Despite later backpedaling, Johnson’s remark reflects a widely influential but wildly incoherent view of innovation: that greed — the unfettered pursuit of profit above all else — is a necessary driver of technological progress. Call it the need-greed theory.

Among the pandemic’s many lessons, however, is that greed can easily work against the common good. We rightly celebrate the near-miraculous development of effective vaccines, which have been widely deployed in rich nations. But the global picture reveals not even a semblance of justice: As of May, low-income nations received just 0.3 percent of the global vaccine supply. At this rate it would take 57 years for them to achieve full vaccination.

This disparity has been dubbed “vaccine apartheid,” and it’s exacerbated by greed. A year after the launch of the World Health Organization’s Covid-19 Technology Access Pool — a program aimed at encouraging the collaborative exchange of intellectual property, knowledge, and data — “not a single company has donated its technical knowhow,” wrote politicians from India, Kenya, and Bolivia in a June essay for The Guardian. As of that month, the U.N.-backed COVAX initiative, a vaccine sharing scheme established to provide developing countries equitable access, had delivered only about 90 million out of a promised 2 billion doses. Currently, pharmaceutical companies, lobbyists, and conservative lawmakers continue to oppose proposals for patent waivers that would allow local drug makers to manufacture the vaccines without legal jeopardy. They claim the waivers would slow down existing production, “foster the proliferation of counterfeit vaccines,” and, as North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr said, “undermine the very innovation we are relying on to bring this pandemic to an end.” more>

Updates from McKinsey

Running on all five sources: Actions leaders can take to create more meaningful work
Knowing about the five sources of meaning is a great start, but the real magic occurs when leaders begin to embed them into how the work gets done.
By Timothy Bromley, Taylor Lauricella and Bill Schaninger – Research shows that when people view their work as meaningful, their performance and job attitudes improve significantly. Previously, we proposed a strategy that leaders can use to create meaningful work: making the connection to and highlighting the impact their work has on society, customers, the company, team, and individuals’ personal success—otherwise known as the five sources of meaning.

Knowing about the five sources of meaning is a great start, but the real magic occurs when leaders begin to embed them into how the work gets done. There are three steps leaders can take to start integrating the five sources this week:

  1. Determine what matters most. Start a dialogue with your team to understand what sources resonate most. This can be done during one-on-one check-ins or as a group exercise during a team meeting.
  2. Hardwire meaning into day-to-day work. Once you know what sources of meaning resonate most for your team, find small ways to hardwire them into existing activities and communications. Perhaps it’s adding an “impact story” or recognition to the start of a meeting, encouraging team members to lead meetings and complete work autonomously, or sharing customer feedback in a weekly recap email.
  3. Create connections. A common thread across the five sources is the impact of the work on others. Providing opportunities for your team to assist, mentor, support, or simply spend time with customers, other teams, members of the community, and one another is key to providing a touchpoint for meaningful experiences—particularly as the workforce returns from remote work.

There’s no shortage of inspiration in how other companies put the five sources of meaning into practice. Many organizations have found creative and bold ways to integrate the five sources of meaning into their communications, talent processes, and day-to-day activities. more>

Updates from ITU

Up to 8 Gbit/s broadband with new ITU standard MGfast
ITU – ITU standards experts have achieved another leap forward in broadband access over telephone wires and coaxial cable with MGfast, a new access technology capable of transmission at an aggregate bit rate up to 8 Gbit/s if in Full Duplex (FDX) mode, and up to 4 Gbit/s if in Time Division Duplexing (TDD) mode.

The MGfast standard, ITU G.9711, not only promises higher bit rates than ever, but also ultra-low latency for highly interactive applications, the capability to optimize Quality of Service (QoS) in line with the needs of different applications, and point-to-multipoint operation enabling better coverage within the premises.

This work is led by the Q4/15 working group (Broadband access over metallic conductors) of ITU-T Study Group 15 (Transport, access and home). See the graphic below for an overview of the bit rate and reach capabilities of ITU-standardized access solutions from the Q4/15 working group, and more on key application features of MGfast in an MGfast technical flyer. more>

Related>

Why Elon Musk Isn’t Superman

The Betting Economy vs. The Operating Economy
By Tim O’Reilly – At one point early this year, Elon Musk briefly became the richest person in the world. After a 750% increase in Tesla’s stock market value added over $180 billion to his fortune, he briefly had a net worth of over $200 billion. It’s now back down to “only” $155 billion.

Understanding how our economy produced a result like this—what is good about it and what is dangerous—is crucial to any effort to address the wild inequality that threatens to tear our society apart.

In response to the news of Musk’s surging fortune, Bernie Sanders tweeted:

Bernie was right that a $7.25 minimum wage is an outrage to human decency. If the minimum wage had kept up with increases in productivity since 1979, it would be over $24 by now, putting a two-worker family into the middle class. But Bernie was wrong to imply that Musk’s wealth increase was at the expense of Tesla’s workers. The median Tesla worker makes considerably more than the median American worker.

Elon Musk’s wealth doesn’t come from him hoarding Tesla’s extractive profits, like a robber baron of old. For most of its existence, Tesla had no profits at all. It became profitable only last year. But even in 2020, Tesla’s profits of $721 million on $31.5 billion in revenue were small—only slightly more than 2% of sales, a bit less than those of the average grocery chain, the least profitable major industry segment in America.

No, Musk won the lottery, or more precisely, the stock market beauty contest. In theory, the price of a stock reflects a company’s value as an ongoing source of profit and cash flow. In practice, it is subject to wild booms and busts that are unrelated to the underlying economics of the businesses that shares of stock are meant to represent. more>