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Friedman, 1986. Photo: George Rose/Getty
When hedge fund CEOs, presidential candidates and college professors shout that something is wrong with capitalism as practiced, they are — unwittingly in most cases — attacking a long-deceased, 800-pound gorilla in the economy.
What's happening: In recent months, hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, numerous Democratic presidential candidates and others have called for a more socially minded corporate America.
But if Friedman were alive, he with mighty certainty would have some choice words in response.
Over the subsequent years and decades, Friedman's philosophy became orthodoxy, visible in tax law, accounting standards, business school curricula, and deep-seated corporate and societal attitudes. "There is a 'before-Friedman' and an 'after-Friedman' when it comes to corporate social responsibility," said Jennifer Burns, a professor at Stanford and the author of a forthcoming biography of Friedman.
Dalio's and Fink's firms did not respond to requests for comment. But leading economists contacted for this post said they do not see a lot of meat in complaints voiced by the business community and others:
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Tesla's share price plunged by more than 4% today after a key bull, Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities, downgraded the company. That was after, in conversation with analysts this week, CEO Elon Musk emphasized the advantages of a new chip. Weighing in on the Hardware 3 chip is Axios Expert Voices contributor Sudha Jamthe, director of DriverlessWorldSchool and an instructor of AV Business at Stanford Continuing Studies. Jamthe owns a Tesla and shares of the company's stock. Her post:
Tesla's new proprietary chip for self-driving software is key to CEO Elon Musk's promise of a driverless robotaxi fleet by 2020. The chip alone won't deliver fully autonomous cars that can operate anywhere but it could help to increase the value of Tesla vehicles.
The big picture: Other carmakers are focused on autonomous driving for ride-sharing, but Tesla isn't accepting that consumers will abandon car ownership. It is chasing a hybrid model of individual car ownership with the option for owners to earn money by sharing their vehicles via robotaxis.
What's happening: Tesla says it has deployed its Hardware 3 chip — which uses a neural network designed to support its self-driving software — in many of its 41,000 employees' Tesla vehicles since December 2018.
The value of the cars could go up, Musk says: Tesla says it will send out self-driving software via over the air update by 2020, which would make vehicles with Hardware 3 capable of full autonomy. It would allow a Tesla owner to potentially add their car to the company's robotaxi pool and earn money off of rides.
Yes, but: Tesla's self-driving software is not yet fully developed, and Musk has missed ambitious deadlines in the past.
An Amazon warehouse in Orlando. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto/Getty
In a 14-month span starting in August 2017, Amazon fired about 300 full-time employees at a single warehouse in Baltimore because of their productivity, according to reporting from The Verge that Amazon confirmed to Axios.
Kaveh writes: That's a significant chunk of the roughly 2,500 people employed at the Baltimore warehouse where the firings occurred, reports the Verge's Colin Lecher.
According to documents The Verge obtained, Amazon has a system for automatically rating warehouse employee productivity and sending them warnings or even a pink slip if their numbers fall — "without input from supervisors."
At the Inferno Festival in Oslo. Photo: Per Ole Hagen/Redferns/Getty
A band called Dadabots plays live death metal music on its YouTube channel — 24/7.
Erica writes: If that sounds tiring it's because it is not humanly possible. Dadabots can only play without any breaks because it is actually an AI program, constantly generating new death metal music.