Labor, Wages & Rights, SPACs Bubble Burst 💰

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The Real Debate: Labor, Wages or Rights?

The labor shortage isn’t new.

Businesses nationwide are complaining about the difficulty in hiring and retaining employees. Here’s what they think is the problem.  

  1. Some business owners blame the labor shortage on hefty unemployment benefits from the government. However, even those states that have rescinded supplemental unemployment benefits are finding that many people remain hesitant to take the sorts of jobs that are on offer.   
  2. In some places the shortage is largely due to COVID-19 restrictions. Restaurants, especially have lost several cooks in the last few months because they're tired of wearing a mask at work. It's hot, it's high pressure, and wearing that mask for eight hours in that heat, with all the fire and oil, it’s brutal.
  3. Big businesses—like Amazon, Walmart, resort casinos—are offering $1,000 signing bonuses to new employees and referral bonuses to current employees who get a friend work for the company, but smaller businesses can’t swing an incentive that big. 

While all these factors may be true and are in part a result of the pandemic, the reality is far from this. 

For several decades, workers’ wages have remained too low to cover rising housing, education and health care costs. You’d need an average of $25 an hour to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, and minimum wage workers can’t afford rent anywhere in the nation. People are working two jobs and still can’t afford decent healthcare. 

Childcare is another barrier

Women are still shouldering the bulk of unpaid child and elder care, a balancing act that the pandemic has made nearly impossible. Nearly 2 million women dropped out of the labor force during the pandemic, and many did so in order to take care of their kids or sick parents. It’s no coincidence that the sectors having the most difficult time staffing up are majority female occupations.

All in all, millions of Americans are refusing to go back into low-wage, no-benefits jobs that require them to abandon dignity and rights at the workplace door. Their struggle has brewed for 40 years. The “labor shortage” is really a shortage of good wages and workers rights. 

But this labor revolution isn’t the first of its kind.

W.E.B. Du Bois posited in his masterful "Black Reconstruction in America" that enslaved people engaged in a general strike when they ran away from plantations, took up arms and sabotaged cotton production, forcing President Abraham Lincoln’s decision to end slavery. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first Depression-era revision to labor law gave employers the upper hand, general strikes in San Francisco, Minneapolis and the textile industry helped convince him to pass the National Labor Relations Act. 

SPACs Tank $75 billion

More than six months after the SPAC craze peaked, a broad sell-off wiped out about $75 billion of the value of companies made public by special acquisition companies, according to a Dow Jones Market Data analysis of numbers from SPAC Research.

Earlier this year, stocks of companies backed by SPACs practically rose to all time highs. But in only about 6 months, the massive sell-off in these companies has led to a colossal drop in their share values. For instance, shares of Hippo Holdings Inc.—which went public in a roughly $5 billion cope with a SPAC backed by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Mark Pincus—are down about 60% of their value from 6 months ago. 

The boomerang in returns has hit fund management companies, hedge funds, pension managers and different buyers that raced to place cash into SPACs in the early days the hardest.

Nevertheless, some buyers have called this boomerang inevitable. They believe many firms merging with SPACs have little income but carry valuations of billions of dollars. They have very little foresight or gameplay or direction. 

The Theranos Impact On Female-led Startups

As Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes’ trial begins, a few entrepreneurs believe the fallout could outlast the trial headlines, particularly for female startup founders.

Holmes’ foray into disruptive healthcare, which aimed to revolutionise blood testing, culminated in the implosion of her company. She’s now facing years in prison after Theranos was revealed to have burned through billions in funding, while misleading both patients and investors about the efficacy of its ambitious technology.

Holmes was charged with multiple counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in 2018. Each count carries up to 20 years in prison, $250,000 in fines, plus restitution.

Several female biotechnology founders have argued that the scandal surrounding Holmes has made it more difficult for them to start a company and flourish in the healthcare space. It makes it harder when the most visible female founder in the space - Holmes - is one who’s associated with fraud. After the Theranos saga, the scientific and the technological bar was raised for female entrepreneurs. 

Accessing venture capital funds is also more challenging because VCs are afraid of similar frauds. In fact, the share of VC funding going to women-led startups dropped from 2.8% in 2019 to 2.3% in 2020, according to one Harvard Business Review study.

As a result, diseased women who could benefit from cutting edge and experimental treatments aren’t receiving them on the timelines that could otherwise be possible. That’s because often it’s the female-led startups that work on these healthcare technologies and services that could ultimately benefit women.

Shorts ⏳
  • Solar-run U.S. - Solar power could supply nearly half of American electricity by 2035, according to an Energy Department report released Wednesday. 
  • Ukraine legalises bitcoin - In a nearly unanimous move, the Ukranian Parliament passed a law to legalise and regulate bitcoin - making it the 5th country behind El Salvador, U.S., Cuba and Panama to do so. 
  • Racism costs trillions - Racial and ethnic inequities have cost the U.S. economy $51 trillion in lost output since 1990, according to San Francisco Federal Reserve President Mary Daly.
  • Dragon slowing down - China's factory gate inflation hit a 13-year high in August driven by roaring raw materials prices while earnings at China's industries slowed for five straight months.
  • Musk tech to pass the Taliban - Elon Musk is working on a new generation on satellites that could allow the internet to slip past iron curtains and the Taliban. 
  • Hurricane Ida - A Fox reporter covering the hurricane in New Orleans was blown away on camera while broadcasting from a Louisiana parking garage. #NotAJoke

Stash Recommends: Tools to Explore
B2B Checkout: The first B2B checkout built for businesses, allowing companies to process any payment method, offer flexible terms, and get paid instantly

GreenlightMake it easy to give feedback on any website. Get rid of vague screenshots and infinite feedback loops by giving targeted feedback right where your team can see it.

UsetifulThe perfect solution to improve user onboarding, feature adoption and customer self-service, with great flexibility and affordability.

Echofin: A chat-focused, community management platform for financial teams that offers automated subscription management, integrated billing, and business analytics metrics.

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