So, WeWork. Yep, idiot idea badly done. OK, so, what next then?
Particularly after the 2020 Covid pandemic and a new economic recession, WeWork’s nightmarish if relatively short-lived reign hints at what one future nihilistic phase of capitalism could look like if market-fueled economic inequality is allowed to continue to grow unchecked.
Umm, sorry, what? Investors, the capitalists, lost lots of money here. The people who got the money were the people who worked for the company. That’s what business losses mean – the staff are being paid out of the checks of the investors. This is a reduction in inequality. Well, presumably it is, the investors likely being richer – at the start – than the workers.
In retrospect, Neumann’s knack for amassing billions of dollars in venture capital with no viable business model was one of the greatest scams of the twenty-first century.
Scam at least implies illegality which isn’t right here. But yes, transfer of money from investors – which is a reduction in inequality, right?
Just as WeWork successfully milked a stable of venture capitalists drunk on a tech-fueled bull market,
We’re not exactly moving away from this idea of this being an increase in inequality, are we?
WeWork’s investors—and SoftBank in particular—lost billions on their ill-advised bets on Neumann,
Yes, quite so.
but in the grand scheme of what those venture capital firms are worth and what they spend regularly, the money they burned on WeWork is the equivalent of a regrettable night at a casino for you or me—an embarrassing and humbling loss, but a risk that comes with the territory.
Also quite so but it’s not actually that increase in inequality, is it?
The complete untethering of the stock market from the rest of the economy—a phenomenon in the making for decades but accelerating even more swiftly in the wake of the pandemic—portends the widening of an already vast gulf between the oligarchs (currently profiting obscenely from market rebounds) and everyone else.
Now that’s just damn stupid. WeWork fell apart because the stock market – by examining the IPO document – brought some well needed sanity to the conversation about WeWork’s worth. This is a vindication of public markets story here.
In other words, even if WeWork (which now appears to be on its last legs) and other erstwhile unicorns don’t survive the pandemic, their investors and top brass likely will. That’s by design; as economic inequality continues to surge out of control, and climate disaster looms on the horizon, the financial overlords have done all they can to extricate their fates from everyone else’s.
No you idiot. The financial overlords *lost money here*.
Where in hell do they get these people?
J.C. Pan is a staff writer at The New Republic.
Ah, well, yes, should have known, eh?