In an expletive-laden rant, Tesla boss Elon Musk has slammed the shelter-in-place orders which have been implemented in various American states over the past few weeks.
It’s a debate which is going on around the world during the coronavirus pandemic. Should health care and saving lives be prioritized, even at the expense of the economy. Or should the economy be allowed to operate as close to normal as possible, to ensure people can pay their bills and put food on the table.
In poorer countries, or indeed in poorer parts of America, where there was greater poverty to start with, and where less people enjoy the benefit of government-subsidized healthcare systems or unemployment payouts, the issue is even more pressing.
Never shy to speak his mind, Musk has weighed in on the subject. The South African-born entrepreneur believes that some of the current lockdown regulations go against the liberties which the United States has traditionally stood for.
“Frankly, I would call it forcible imprisoning of people in their homes against all of, their constitutional rights, in my opinion,” he said in a conference call this week.
“It’s breaking people’s freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong and not why they came to America or built this country. What the f***. Excuse me. Outrage. Outrage.”
· Apr 30, 2020
$TSLA CEO @elonmusk blasts shelter in place orders: “To say that they cannot leave their house and they will be arrested if they do, this is fascist. This is not democratic, this is not freedom, give people back their god damn freedom.”
Musk said he’s not overly concerned about the future of his own company. But he voiced his anger about the effect which closed businesses will have on peoples’ lives.
“It will cause great harm, not just to Tesla but to many companies,” said the Space X founder. “And while Tesla will weather the storm, there are many companies that will not. Everything people have worked for their whole life is being destroyed in real time.”
“If somebody wants to stay in their house, that’s great and they should be able to. But to say they cannot leave their house and that they will be arrested if they do, that’s fascist. That is not democratic — this is not freedom. Give people back their goddamn freedom.”
Mixed fortunes for Tesla and Elon Musk
Tesla has been one of the few companies to keep posting profits even during the coronavirus pandemic. And it’s share prices have surged upwards this year.
The electric carmaker’s value had been nearing $100bn, a mark which would trigger a bonus payment of hundreds of millions of dollars to Musk.
But in his typically cavalier way, Musk managed to sabotage himself this week by tweeting “Tesla stock price too high imo”.
Unsurprisingly that brought Tesla’s stock price crashing down and $14bn was wiped off the company’s value. Musk personally took a $3bn knock to his own fortune as a result of his strange tweet.
Despite his antics, Musk seems to be remaining popular…well just about:
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Image credit: Daniel Oberhaus (2018)