The pandemic, as it has done to so many industries, has put in a pin in the production and distribution of movies and television shows, yet as so many people are forced to self isolate, the demand for content new and old has never been higher. As COVID-19 drains some sectors of the film industry and boosts others, we investigate who the biggest winners and losers of the pandemic are in the entertainment industry.
Higher education is a lucrative industry. Millions of students funnel billions of dollars into universities to not only attain an undergraduate degree but to also live the so-called “college experience.” But just like every other industry, it has been hit hard by the coronavirus, and students are rethinking whether the virtual, online college experience is worth the high price tag.
“Factories with Fences” and “American Made” boasts UNICOR. Better known as the Federal Prison Industries program, UNICOR makes nearly half a billion dollars in net sales annually using prison labor, paying inmates between 23¢ to $1.15 per hour. Despite already earning one-sixth of the federal minimum wage, inmates with final obligations must contribute half of their earnings to cover those expenses. UNICOR, in addition to other government-owned corporations and private prisons, makes millions upon millions of dollars using nearly free prison labor.
Israel, a small nation of less than 10 million people tucked in the western corner of the Middle East, has both the most venture capital per capita and the most startups per capita out of any other country in the world, thus being dubbed “the Startup Nation.” Their culture of ingenuity, adeptness at recognizing and developing talent, and emphasis on tech can all be attributed to their success in startups. However, these traits did not emerge in a vacuum.
The cacao bean, once thought a divine food by the Aztecs that imparted wisdom, is now considered by its farmers the curse of “brown gold.” The curse itself is easy to understand: manufacturers like Hershey’s and Nestlé must sell cheap chocolate to make a profit, and where else to cut costs but at the very bottom of this food chain? There, we find the cacao farmers of the Ivory Coast. These impoverished Ivorian farmers supply 40% of the world’s total supply of cacao beans alone. Despite playing such a dominant role in the global chocolate industry, the Ivory Coast benefits little from its position and does not have the leverage required to raise the prices of cacao exports to support its workers.