It is rare to see the billionaire put aside enmity.
Elon Musk has distinguished himself this year from most other CEOs.
He broke down the barriers that many bosses wouldn’t even test. In doing so, the serial entrepreneur has built up a long list of enemies. Sometimes he gave the impression that he was trying to make enemies.
“Sometimes I think my list of enemies is too short, so…” the CEO of Tesla (TSLA) – Get Free Report was more or less ironic or joking last June.
But several months later this list has grown much longer because Musk has done everything for it. He never stopped attacking the progressives of the Democratic Party and all those who put forward ESG.
He did not hesitate to attack detractors because for the Techno King any criticism of him is personal. And therefore, he counterattacks by targeting the person. That’s what he did with Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton.
Reich vs. Musk
The current U.C. Berkeley professor said last September that there is no self-made billionaire. For him, today’s billionaires, whoever they are, have all had financial help to get started. Therefore, one must stop with the myth or the legend.
“Elon Musk came from a family that owned an emerald mine in Apartheid South Africa,” Reich wrote on Twitter on Sept. 20. “Bill Gates’ mom helped Microsoft get a deal with IBM. Jeff Bezos’ garage-based start was funded by a quarter-million dollar investment from his parents. ‘Self-made billionaires’ are a myth,” Reich tweeted.
Reich also recorded a video, already viewed by more than a million people at the time of this writing. In the video, Reich wants to denounce social inequalities and accuses the wealthy of not paying their “fair share of taxes.” He deconstructs the myth, according to him, of self-made billionaires who have succeeded by their “courage,” their “grit” and an “original idea.”
He claims that most billionaires have received a financial boost or benefited from family connections. He also accuses billionaires of profiting from the labor of their employees who are underpaid and are subjected to “abusive” working conditions.
Musk had taken this criticism very badly and had not hesitated to insult Reich.
“You both an idiot and a liar,” the billionaire responded.
Musk, Reich Agree
A little over three months later, the tech mogul just did something he rarely does with an enemy: publicly agree with them. There seems to be some sort of rapprochement between Musk and Reich.
In a tweet, the professor laments the growing lack of competition in many industries. He then concludes that all economic sectors are being controlled by a small core of companies each time, which does not bode well for consumers.
“Wall Street has consolidated into 5 giant banks,” Reich wrote on Dec. 29 without providing names. But it should be thinking of JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley or Wells Fargo.
“Airlines have merged from 12 carriers in 1980 to 4 today,” he continued, referring to American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and SouthWest. “A handful of drug companies control the pharmaceutical industry. Four giants control over 80% of meat processing.”
As a result: “the evidence of corporate concentration is everywhere,” Reich concluded.
Musk seems to agree with this analysis and draws the conclusion that all these concentration movements are not good for consumers.
“Agreed, reduced competition is not good for the people,” the billionaire commented.
Reich then took the opportunity to ask Musk to speak directly to the Republicans who will have control of the House of Representatives in January. The Twitter owner and SpaceX founder has become a widely heard and influential voice in the conservative camp since announcing that he is now a Republican.
“Elon, @jim_jordan (who’ll chair House Judiciary) should hear this message from you. He opposed #OAMA & #AICOA which would have loosened Apple’s grip on the app ecosystem,” Reich tweeted back at Musk, referring to Rep.Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).
Musk didn’t respond.
OAMA stands for the Open App Markets Act (OAMA), a bill introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), that would force some mobile app stores and operating systems to open their platforms to rival in-app payment systems.
As of AICOA, it stands for American Innovation and Choice Online Act, a bill that would force online platforms to treat rivals’ services as they would their own.
Neither bill has become law.
Reich brings up these bills especially because Musk has already criticized the 30% fee that Apple (AAPL) – Get Free Report applies to in-app sales as well as in-app purchases on several occasions.