MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Woke Capitalism Is a Monopoly Game

Posted by M. C. on February 11, 2022

And, as Xi Jinping acknowledged in a recent address to the World Economic Forum, it is not “egalitarian.” It vests economic and political power in the hands of corporate and state elites, and it uses coercion and state power to concentrate the control of wealth in their hands—however much they promise to redistribute it through “social justice.”

https://mises.org/wire/woke-capitalism-monopoly-game

Michael Rectenwald

In 2018, Ross Douthat of the New York Times introduced the phrase “woke capital.” Essentially, Douthat suggested that woke capitalism works by substitut­ing symbolic value for economic value. Under woke capitalism, corporations offer workers rhetorical pla­cebos in lieu of costlier economic concessions, such as higher wages and better benefits. The same gestures of woke­ness also appease the liberal political elite, promoting their agendas of identity politics, gender pluralism, transgender rights, lax immigration standards, climate change mitigation, and so on. In re­turn, woke corporations hope to be spared higher taxes, in­creased regulations, and antitrust legislation aimed at monop­olies. Although woke capitalism alienates cultural conservatives, the Republican Party remains procorporate, making woke capitalism a win-win strategy for corporations.

Business Insider columnist Josh Barro suggested that woke capitalism provides a form of parapolitical representation for workers and corporate consumers. Given their perceived political dis­enfranchisement, woke capitalism offers them representation in the public sphere, as they see their values reflected in corporate pronouncements.

Others have suggested that corporations have gone woke only to be spared cancellation by Twitter mobs and other activists, that wokeness is a good “branding tool,” or that progressive shareholders also demand corporate activism.

But woke capitalism cannot be sufficiently explained in terms of placating coastal leftists, ingratiating left-liberal legislators, or avoiding the wrath of activists. Rather, as wokeness has escalated and taken hold of corporations and states, it has become a demarcation device, a shibboleth for cartel members to identify and distinguish themselves from their nonwoke competitors, who are to be starved of capital investments. Woke capitalism has become a monopoly game.

Just as nonwoke individuals are cancelled from civic life, so too are nonwoke companies cancelled from the economy, leaving the spoils to the woke. Corporate cancellations are not merely the result of political fallout. They are being institutionalized and carried out through the stock market. The Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Index is a Chinese-style social credit score for rating corporations. Woke planners wield the ESG Index to reward the in-group and to squeeze nonwoke players out of the market. Woke investment drives ownership and control of production away from the noncompliant. The ESG Index serves as an admission ticket for entry into the woke cartels.

Research suggests that ESG investing favors large over small companies. Woke capitalism vests as much control over production and distribution in these large, favored corporations as possible while eliminating industries and producers deemed either unnecessary or inimical.

See the rest here

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