Justice League

  • Alumni

Activity Feed

On December 1, 2017, Justice League commented on Solar Wars: the Battle for the US Solar Industry :

In a world where US solar manufacturers are largely automated, and Chinese labor becomes expensive, similar to Fuyao Glass [1], I could see it being cheaper to produce solar panels in the United States eventually. One must also consider while federal energy subsidies for solar might end, trade barriers might be erected to make it easier for US companies to compete with Chinese competitors. The current presidential administration views trade practices with China as a key issue to be resolved and wants to end what it sees as unfavorable practices [2].

In my opinion, federal energy subsidies should likely be stopped soon to allow market forces to bring the cost down soon, rather than allowing American manufacturers to compete artificially, akin to using training wheels.

In terms of putting R&D to action, the federal government can instead incentive and create loans for companies that deploy R&D in the field at scale at a certain quality level (either through manufacturing at volume or deploying at volume) – thus allowing photovoltaic technology to exit the lab quicker and be deployed at scale faster.


[1] Shih, Willy. “Fuyao Glass: Americas Sourcing Decision.” Harvard Business School Case 618-007, August 2017. (Revised November 2017.)

[2] Lynch, D. (2017). Trump fires opening shot in China trade battle. [online] Washington Post. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/trump-fires-opening-shot-in-china-trade-battle/2017/11/28/fcbad7fc-d474-11e7-b62d-d9345ced896d_story.html?utm_term=.83cbb97c31fb [Accessed 1 Dec. 2017].

On December 1, 2017, Justice League commented on UnitedHealth: Losing Ground to New Entrants :

Very interesting perspective on digitization, Faraz. I think the critical thing here is to note that (from personal experience) insurers have a hard time deploying new technologies within their ecosystem. And as we have seen from IBM Watson’s struggles [1], unlocking clinical data is even harder, especially from the EMR. I think you are right to mistrust the ability of UnitedHealth to deploy and adopt technology quickly.

However, I would also doubt the ability of Oscar and Bright Health to do this as well. Healthcare is slow, and companies like Oscar are burning money and unprofitable [2], so unless a company is in it for the long haul and can raise long-term capital, I’m unsure who will win.

Stockholders rarely invest in the long-term. Given the political uncertainty with the healthcare system, shareholders will probably not value new technology deployment as part of the stock price. However, given UnitedHealth is a behemoth and its divisions are rather opaque, they probably have a better chance of implementing something like this through a 10-15 year sustained effort (if value-based payments continue), than startup insurers who exist today.

To summarize, the future is bleak for technology in health insurance, but UnitedHealth has a better shot than young upstarts.


[1] Freedman, D. (2017). What will it take for IBM’s Watson technology to stop being a dud in health care?. [online] MIT Technology Review. Available at: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/607965/a-reality-check-for-ibms-ai-ambitions/ [Accessed 1 Dec. 2017].

[2] Goldberg, D. (2017). Amid continuing losses, Oscar searches for the right strategy. [online] Politico PRO. Available at: https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2017/08/30/oscars-numbers-dont-yet-match-its-rhetoric-114220 [Accessed 1 Dec. 2017].

On December 1, 2017, Justice League commented on Brexit – Serious Implications for the UK’s National Health Service :

Sud, excellent job summarizing the key challenges that lie ahead for the NHS, given Brexit.

In terms of the NHS being reorganized, under a ‘no deal’ scenario, the most likely option is the NHS has to raise salaries to attract more domestic headcount or create lower-skilled roles that involve more triage at the top from doctors with more specifically-directed training at the bottom. The NHS has the highest level of healthcare quality in the world [1]. While the Brexit impact would be severe, I think the NHS with some process re-engineering around care, especially primary care, would be able to still maintain higher quality outcomes compared to the rest of the world.

In regards to private options, I believe the private sector does not have a role to play. One of the things that makes NHS work is the idea that central planning and organization creates cost control and price pressure to keep the cost of healthcare manageable. While the funding of the NHS will probably need to be increased, thus breaking the initial Brexit “promise” of saving the British citizens hundreds of millions of pounds on the NHS [2], the private sector will probably increase costs further. Rather, this is simply a problem of hiring and training the appropriate level of personnel, which can be solved without a private market intervention.


[1] Campbell, D. (2017). NHS holds on to top spot in healthcare survey. [online] The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jul/14/nhs-holds-on-to-top-spot-in-healthcare-survey [Accessed 1 Dec. 2017].

[2] Merrick, R. (2017). Brexit director who created £350m NHS claim admits leaving EU could be ‘an error’. [online] The Independent. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-latest-news-vote-leave-director-dominic-cummings-leave-eu-error-nhs-350-million-lie-bus-a7822386.html [Accessed 1 Dec. 2017].

On December 1, 2017, Justice League commented on The Republic of Maldives is Sinking :

Climate change is real and its implications are grave. For most of the world, the consequences of carbon emissions seem to be a distant afterthought, perhaps statistics that are decades away from causing any real harm to their daily lives. For the citizens of the Maldives, these consequences are a reality.

You ask a thought provoking question: what can large countries do? The key thing is raise awareness that real people are being harmed and track progress toward claims made in the Paris Agreement, on a daily or monthly basis. The other thing that large countries can provide is land for the islanders to resettle on. It might too late for the citizens of the Maldives, but their legacy can continue on elsewhere in the world.

I think it’s near impossible that these small islands will be able to survive. Similar to the Maldives, it seems like Venice and Amsterdam will follow [1]. There have been no drastic changes made by major carbon polluters that can reduce rising sea levels dramatically and the United States has pulled out of the Paris agreement [2]. The only thing we can hope for is that the fate of these smaller islands and cities remains a stark reminder for humanity, that many lives will be lost and lands squandered if we don’t change our ways soon.


[1] Michael, T. (2017). Rising sea levels mean these cities and even entire countries could disappear beneath the waves within decades. [online] Thesun.co.uk. Available at: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4911040/rising-sea-levels-mean-these-cities-and-even-entire-countries-will-disappear-beneath-the-waves-within-decades/ [Accessed 1 Dec. 2017].

[2] Shear, M. (2017). Trump Will Withdraw U.S. From Paris Climate Agreement. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/01/climate/trump-paris-climate-agreement.html [Accessed 1 Dec. 2017].

WS, interesting article outlining the commercial impacts of climate change on a very profit-focused industry that usually tends to be low margin.

In terms of encouraging more awareness of environmental issues, the core starts with activism. If consumers form activist groups and promote not buying brands that adversely impact the climate (directly or indirectly), others will take notice. Furthermore, voters can also independently ask their state or nationally-elected representatives to create legislation asking for the creation of a “climate report card”, allowing consumers to see how truly sustainable a brand is. Another solution might be getting celebrities involved and making not buying sustainable clothing unpopular.

The most effective way of encouraging brands to follow Patagonia’s example would be a decline in sales. If brands feel that they are going to lose out on consumer preferences i.e. at the checkout counter, they will start changing their practices. Consumers need to vote with their wallet. Furthermore, if consumers demand more transparency, brands will be forced to expose practices and then change behavior.

On December 1, 2017, Justice League commented on Target: Digitalization is a double-edged sword :

Great article Aimmy!

In an ideal world, it should do both i.e. rehash existing stores as hubs/pick-up spots and build and expand dedicated fulfillment centers. Amazon and Walmart are both coming after Target’s cheese. The threat Target faces with the shift from brick and mortar to online is existential and it should respond in full-force.

In an offline world, store experience matters. In an online world, often the lowest price, widest selection and fastest delivery wins. Target has been able to offer a lower price for a premium selection for the offline shopper; however, if it can’t make the faster delivery trade-off and meet customer expectations with quick fulfillment for the online shopper, it will lose. This involves complex integration of supply chain systems, real-time data chaining and visibility across the entire customer lifecycle. While orchestrating this will be tough in the short-term, it is necessary if Target is to survive in the long-term.

Therefore, Target needs to both revamp its stores as a dedicated hubs and also offer wider selections at its fulfillment centers with a complicated technology overhaul to stand a chance.