You know the global monetary system is in shambles when even central bankers are getting tired of it.
Mark Carney, the outgoing head of the Bank of England (BoE), recently delivered a speech at the Jackson Hole symposium in which he outlined a plan to overhaul the global financial system. Ostensibly, it begins by axing the US dollar and replacing it with something like Facebook’s Libra. It is time to put an end to the status quo, he says.
Carney explained that economic policy uncertainty, protectionism, and exacerbated market concerns are igniting “negative shocks” in the global economy, adding that they cannot be offset with the central banks’ limited policy space.
He conceded that central banks need to grapple with the current situation, but he thinks that accepting “the status quo is misguided.” So, what should be done? “In the longer term, we need to change the game. When change comes, it shouldn’t be to swap one currency hegemon for another,” Carney said.
The longtime central banker might have the right sentiment, but he does not have the correct remedy. What is the real answer? Leave it to the market.
Instead of replacing one central planning scheme with another, economies should be left to their own devices. Governments need to get out of the business of having a monopoly on currency, the central bank should not artificially raise and cut interest rates, and taxpayers must no longer be subjected to currency wars, debased money, and bailouts – at home and abroad.
Even if Carney wanted to burn the present system to the ground, at least he could have advocated gold as a suitable successor!
Feeling the Pain
Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries were determined to be responsible for fueling the state of Oklahoma’s opioid drug crisis. Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman ordered the consumer products juggernaut to pay $572 million to help combat the problem. The decision could influence more than 1,500 similar lawsuits filed by state and local governments.
At the same time, Purdue Pharma is negotiating a $10 to $12 billion nationwide settlement, resolving the roughly 2,000 lawsuits that have been filed against the OxyContin maker. If the agreement is passed, then the pharmaceutical giant will devote nearly all its profits to cleaning up the opioid epidemic. The news is being celebrated, but the verdict will have a major unintended consequence.
First, what is an opioid? It is a pharmaceutical substance that produces effects similar to what you would feel with morphine. Its primary function is to relieve unbearable chronic pain, making it an extremely useful drug in health care. Some patients would go as far as referring to it as a miracle drug because it helps the user manage his or her pain, whether it is because of an illness or from a serious surgery.
Now that manufacturers are being blamed for the opioid outbreak, it will inevitably result in companies producing less of this product. Why? Fear.
Since there is now a constant concern that these producers will be slapped with multi-million-dollar fines or billion-dollar lawsuits, why would they risk manufacturing opioids? No one will argue with the fact that a great number of people abuse the drug for its euphoric effects. But many consumers also misuse a whole host of products, from eating Tide Pods to placing a powerful mobile device on their ear for hours at a time. Should makers of these goods also be faced with dozens of court cases and hefty fines?
Put simply, an opioid is a tool.
InterContinental Hotels Group and Marriott Hotels announced that they plan to replace mini-shampoos, conditioners, and other miniature toiletries within the next two years. The hotel behemoths say they want to have less of an environmental impact and minimize their carbon footprint.
But will these moves really do anything for the planet? Hardly. This is just another case of woke capitalism, companies trying to virtue-signal and demonstrate how progressive they really are. Nothing really changes, except perhaps these brands’ bottom lines – good or bad.
Nike recently dropped a Betsy Ross-themed shoe because of racism or something, but the decision will not do anything to improve race relations in America. The company is enjoying a 10% gain in share price this year, though. Gillette, too, participated in the Woke Olympics, lamenting on toxic masculinity with some ridiculous commercial. Like Nike, it did not achieve much in promoting gender equality. Unlike the apparel maker, the razor giant lost billions of dollars.
So, InterContinental and Marriott may garner a round of applause from environmentalists, but they will fail to “significantly reduce our waste footprint and environmental impact.” The larger containers may not even offset the eco waste from mini-bottles because they might not be recyclable, plus they will still require a lot of resources – manufacturing, transportation, and installation. Indeed, this transition will barely prevent a single fish from eating microplastics for dinner, much in the same way paper straws will do nil for the oceans.
What they will do, though, is save more than $11 million annually. These companies would garner some more respect if they would just admit that this is their true motivation.
You Woke, Bruh?
What is hilarious about the whole world going woke is that it showcases the deep irony of the left. They are generally opposed to the free-market capitalist system, but then they go out and purchase products that are social justice-themed. They just want their goods and services to be politicized, dammit!
But will this new era of wokeness really change things? Nope – and you shouldn’t care. As long as these companies satisfy consumer demand at an affordable price, the CEO can turn out to be a drag queen, a new marketing campaign can feature Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) doing ancient Native American dances, and labels can identify as one of the 23 different genders. Please, leave us alone to imbibe Oreo pronoun packs and hate The Man with a protest-inspiring Pepsi!