Episode

2/3 Boeing, And The Deadliness Of Shareholder Capitalism w/ Peter Robison

February 3, 2022

Emma hosts Peter Robison, investigative journalist at Bloomberg, to discuss his recent book Flying Blind: The 737 MAX Tragedy and the Fall of Boeing, on the deregulation and the turn to serve the shareholders exclusively that lead up to a six month period a few years ago that saw multiple plane crashes with the 737 MAX. Robison begins by situating the crashes within the last few years, exploring how, in the wake of the first crash, Boeing dove right into a strategy of blaming the piloting of the plane, only for the second crash to affirm the whisperings of Boeing simply failing to properly train and equip their pilots. Next, he and Emma take a step back, exploring how Boeing became the corporation it is today, central to the development of the US Jet Age, working from the mid 20th Century development of the 747 jets up to the 777 in the mid-90s, both of which served as symbols of great American manufacturing in aerospace. This brings them to the massive shift that occurred as the US entered the neoliberal era, starting with Harry Stonecipher’s McDonnell Douglas acquiring Boeing and immediately shifting to the Jack Welsh model of pushing shareholder profits as the driver of the company, as Peter Robison explores in their shifting proxy statements, which went from discussing customer service and safety to cost containment and efficiency over the 90s. Next, they move to the role of the government itself, with 90s Republicans and Bill Clinton teaming up to “reinvent” government into a machine of financialization and deregulation, pushing the Federal Aviation Administration itself towards a business strategy, granting Boeing and other companies self-regulatory authorities to help push planes through manufacturing and onto the runway. Finally, they take on the compounding of these elements into the manufacturing failures of the late 2010s, with their rise parallelled by a union-busting attitude in the industry and a mass shift of profits going directly into the pockets of executives. Emma also touches on the brutality of US foreign policy, including another strike in Syria with mass civilian casualties, and a refusal to even acknowledge that people see Israeli as an apartheid state, before she dives into Rocky Wirtz, owner of the Chicago Blackhawks, and his absurd response to being questioned by someone he isn’t paying.

And in the Fun Half: Emma is joined by Matt and Brandon as they take calls on Kermit the Jordan Peterson and the engineer to military defense pipeline, and Candace and Robert Malone claim that diversity of views is easier found at home, with just your family, than at public school, with thousands of different people. Tucker continues his crusade in defense of CNN correspondents who engage in sexually questionable business practices (Zucker, Cuomo, Cuomo), and Jimmy Fallon puts forwards perhaps his most awkward interview yet, as he and Paris Hilton show off their super-personalized, totally not identical apes. Nathan from Chicago discusses Pluto TV and the overlapping of news programs, Alex from NY gives his matchups, and Emma explores misogyny in journalism, sports, sports journalism, and politics… and political journalism, plus, your calls and IMs!

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