Here’s a chilling article with which to start your day. You recall those terrible crashes of the Boeing 737 Max air liner? And you’ll also recall that the company seems to have known about the problems in those planes? Every wondered why on earth anyone would rush a product to market even though it might (almost certainly) result in the deaths of hundreds of human beings?
Well, Bloomberg Businessweek says it knows why. In Former Boeing Engineers Say Relentless Cost-Cutting Sacrificed Safety, Peter Robinson writes that “The crisis, according to more than a dozen interviews with former employees and FAA inspectors and hundreds of pages of internal emails and records, is best understood as part of a larger drama that’s played out as Boeing has reshaped itself in an all-consuming focus on shareholder value. ” Basically, the company has recently re-organized to focus on profit above everything, even if that meant that engineering concerns took a second or even third place behind Wall Street’s demands.
The company has also recently busted many of the unions that before organized its workplace — and, frequently, made sure that engineers’ concerns were heard.
And so, once again, we come to the fundamental failure of libertarianism as an ideology. In theory, the market itself will force vendors to provide a better and safer product. In reality, at least in an age when profits are more determined by hedge funds than by sales, the customer comes last, and safety is all too easily forgotten.