In a long read from the Guardian about workers collapsing from overwork at Tesla’s Fremont factory, CEO Elon Musk let himself and his company off the hook:
“We’re a money-losing company,” Musk added. “This is not some situation where, for example, we are just greedy capitalists who decided to skimp on safety in order to have more profits and dividends and that kind of thing. It’s just a question of how much money we lose. And how do we survive? How do we not die and have everyone lose their jobs?”
The sentiment here is that because Tesla starting a car company from scratch, that putting workers through the ringer is to be expected. But that is a dangerous narrative to feed into, one that other founders have evoked to explain their way out of having a human resources department or underpaying employees. It becomes especially harmful in a circumstance where people’s physical health (read: ability to earn wages long term) is put at risk.