… 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?”.
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?