Our Business Leaders Aren’t Leading

By May 8, 2020 Commentary

It has been surprising to see how few business leaders have spoken out aggressively on the wisdom, or lack thereof, of the extreme business shutdown orders in many states.  They all have to be amazed at why this was done, given the likelihood that devastating job losses would follow.  So why are they so timid (some might say cowardly)?  In today’s world, you stick your head up on any issue and a million twitter-heads will be mobilized to dump on you and potentially even organize boycotts.  This spreads on social media and often reaches traditional print and broadcast media as well.  So business leaders try to avoid this occurring, regardless of their actual beliefs.  Not saying what you think lacks integrity, but a lot of business leaders don’t seem to have a problem with that.

And of course, most of these business leaders are extremely well compensated, so they aren’t feeling any financial pain from the shutdowns.  I get emails from readers who work in large companies and they describe the phenomenon of hearing from their executives that they think the lockdowns are a bad idea but having to go along for PR reasons.  Since the public is starting to get very antsy about the wisdom of lockdowns, it is disappointing that business leaders aren’t more being proactive about expressing concern and looking for alternatives.

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  • Matt R says:

    Perhaps part of the reason is that many “business leaders” (as recognized by the criteria of having high publicity potential) are actually benefiting quite nicely from these orders. As with almost any regulatory action, large businesses gain advantages over small businesses. They have staff that can quickly shift to figuring out how to navigate the red tape, and often even gain from it during the process, while their small business competition often lacks the staff with the skills or capacity to deal with the administrivia. They might also have political connections that ensure their ‘safety plans’ get reviewed and approved quicker, as many have speculated might be the case of why a large candy store can get approval ahead of arguably much more essential businesses. Only part of the explanation, but certainly could be a factor for some.

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