Don’t ya know that it Hertz so good

… to paraphrase Susan Cadogan.

One of the first corporate dominoes fell this week as the car rental company, Hertz, commenced the bankruptcy process in the USA.

That a car rental company might file for Chapter 11 after 6 weeks of almost total cessation of global and domestic travel might not be so surprising, perhaps.

There’s an analogy to be had here though, which can be summarised by one question.

Before I pose that question, I will explain that this is the second time I posed it. The first was last night when we finally managed to visit friends for dinner. One of the couple was very much of the “one death is too many, regardless of the economic and long term social costs” attitude, so prevalent in all of the media class and nearly every national government.

She was also absolutely certain the published figures for fatalities from around the world were 100% accurate, despite also conceding the data collection methodologies varied by country and local jurisdiction.

Her reaction when I asked the following question was visceral; she physically moved and paused in her conversation. Depending on which psychology source you read, this can sometimes be an indication of a moment of cognitive dissonance. The question was this:

“Over recent years, Hertz has taken on $19bn of debt, so do you think Hertz died of the virus or simply with it?”.

Bill’s Opinion

The virus might have hurried Hertz and Virgin along to an early grave, but the debt level both companies had taken on was unsustainable by any objective measure.

What do we think will the Receiver will write as the cause of death on their death certificates?

4 Replies to “Don’t ya know that it Hertz so good”

    1. “Who, in the name of all that is holy, allows a management consultant to spend over $32m building a non-functional website?”

      Well….. I can guarantee there’s a government agency currently battling a similar dispute for similar amounts and lack of functionality. Standby for the newspaper headlines on that one….

    2. The only way worse, i.e. more expensive & poorly prioritised, than hiring an Accountancy Firm to do something that is NOT accountancy, would be to hire a Law Firm to do it.

      Bonus fuck-up points if either firm is corporate rather than a few partners in private practice. (Just coz I’m small business & our fuck-ups are NOTHING alongside the unholy stuff-ups corporates are capable of)

  1. Of course one unnecessary death is too many. Now to look at the costs. Say that I value a life at an arbitrary ten million dollars. It sounds kind of reasonable. We could haggle that a young life with another fifty years expectancy per the life tables should be worth a bit more than mine with one year per tables. But let’s call it ten million to “save” one life by increasing the lifespan from one month to several decades. It’s tough and we’re all going to have to dig very deep into our pockets, but morally we just have to find those trillions to save all those lives.

    Except that for ten million, we could have saved ten lives from another disease, or a hundred lives from another threat, and those are only the visible costs. So, dear lady at dinner party, the cost of your one rona life saved is not ten million. It’s ten or a hundred other lives. Who died and went to heaven and put you in charge of deciding who lives and who dies?

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