Deutsche Bank’s pandemic solution? To make you pay for your privilege | Opinion

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Deutsche Bank wants you to check your privilege

Deutsche Bank, which seems to be the financial institute of choice for money-launderers and registered sex offenders, has a few thoughts on making the world a fairer place. It’s simple really: people should pay for the privilege of working at home. A new report by economists from Deutsche Bank proposes that people pay a 5% tax for each day they choose to work remotely after the pandemic. This money, they suggest, could go to low-income workers unable to work remotely.

“[R]emote workers are contributing less to the infrastructure of the economy whilst still receiving its benefits,” Deutsche Bank strategist Luke Templeman explained in the report.

“Quite simply, our economic system is not set up to cope with people who can disconnect themselves from face-to-face society.”

What exactly do they mean by ‘our economic system’? Do they, perchance, happen to mean their own balance sheets? Funnily enough, Deutsche Bank just happens to be the top lender in US commercial real estate finance. It’s almost like they’ve got a vested interest in punishing people for not going into an office.

The Deutsche Bank report, which came out Tuesday, has gone viral and sparked a backlash for obvious reasons. People do not take kindly to a bank lecturing them on how they ought to pay more tax for the good of society. Particularly when the bank in question financed the building of Auschwitz; contributed to the 2008 financial crisis; was fined record amounts for its role in rigging benchmark interest rates; was embroiled in a $20bn Russian money-laundering scheme; did business with Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein; and was fined over allegations that it hired unqualified relatives of Russian and Chinese government officials to win business. And that’s just to name a few of the scandals Deutsche Bank has been involved with.

To be fair, while Deutsche Bank’s report was laughably out of touch, there were some important points buried within it. The report is right to note that a shift to remote working after the pandemic has the potential to disproportionately benefit the affluent, and widen the gap between the rich and the poor. But you know what a very simple solution to that is? Taxing rich people and corporations more. The solution is not, as Deutsche Bank suggests, making someone who earns £35,000 pay around £7 a day for the privilege of working from home. The solution is not stigmatizing remote work and penalizing anyone who chooses to do it: a policy which will inevitably end up hurting women, who are still the main caregivers, the most.

What’s more, a shift to normalized remote working doesn’t necessarily have to exacerbate inequality. Indeed, it could help radically reduce it. If living in an expensive city is no longer a requirement for a good job, the talent pool that companies have access to widens considerably. Remote working could also help close the gender gap: according to a 2019 survey, 31% of women who took a career break after having kids said they didn’t want to but had to because of a lack of workplace flexibility. Additional studies show that flexible working allows mothers to stay in employment after the birth of their first child.

The pandemic “is a portal”, Arundhati Roy wrote in a beautiful essay earlier this year. “We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”

We have an exciting opportunity at the moment to reimagine the world of work. But it is becoming very clear that we are going to have to fight very hard against behemoths like Deutsche Bank who can’t wait to get back to business as usual.

Britney Spears’ dad still in control of every aspect of her life

A US court rejected the 38-year-old singer’s attempt to have her father removed from his role in the conservatorship that has controlled Spears’s life for the last 12 years. Spears has said she is afraid of her dad and will not perform again so long as he remained in charge of her life. There have been a lot of jokes and memes about the #FreeBritney movement but there is nothing funny about the situation the singer is in; she has been stripped of basically all her civil rights. As the ACLU has noted, there are far less draconian alternatives to conservatorships that can help vulnerable people.

Soccer star becomes first woman to coach a men’s pro team in Egypt

Faiza Heidar, who captained Egypt’s national women’s team, has been signed up by the fourth division side Ideal Goldi.

Mary Wollstonecraft statue causes a kerfuffle

The author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) has finally got a statue in her honour. However the sculpture, by artist Maggi Hambling, is proving as controversial as Wollstonecraft’s own work was. Some people are taking issue with the fact she is depicted as tiny, naked, and very toned. Personally, I’m just glad it’s got people talking and discussing Wollstonecraft’s work.

There’s a new (lesbian) sheriff in town

Charmaine McGuffey, lost her job in the Hamilton county, Ohio, sheriff’s department three years ago; she claims one reason she was fired is because she is openly gay. This year she got her revenge: running against the guy who fired her and winning. She’ll be the sheriff now.

Emily Harrington makes history with El Capitan climb

The climber is the fourth woman to ever free climb El Capitan in Yosemite national park and the first to do so using the Golden Gate route. As Outside magazine noted: “A shocking number of news organizations mistakenly characterized her as being the first woman ever to free climb El Capitan in a day, not just Golden Gate”, erasing the achievements of the women before her.

The week in poultry-archy

Three men have been fined hefty sums, sentenced to two years’ probation, and banned from Yellowstone national park for culinary crimes. They decided to prepare a very rustic picnic and boil a chicken (a dead chicken, to be clear) in the parks’ hot springs. Innovative but illegal. The punishment seems a little over the top: two of the men spent a couple of nights in jail meaning they’ve done more jail time for a poorly considered picnic than the Sackler family have for helping to cause an opioid epidemic that killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Deutsche Bank’s pandemic solution? To make you pay for your privilege | Opinion

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