So what’s the moral of the story? It’s that we are each more than just one thing. And that’s what true pluralism is all about: the pluralism of identities within each of us.
That vision of pluralism stands in stark contrast to the woke version of identity. According to wokeness, we are each defined by a small handful of characteristics that we inherit on the day we’re born. In a woke world, we are each defined by the innate and the immnutable, by the visible and the skin-deep.
P322 / 2023-01-02 21:58
as Americans, we’re trained from a young age to think about service to others as being about something that we do to advance our own self-interest. I certainly was. It’s an unfortunate feature of modern American culture. There’s no such thing as doing service for the sake of service — just as there’s no such thing as pursuing profit just for the sake of pursuing profit either. They’re two sides of the same coin: in America we simply can’t do anything just for its own sake anymore.
P307 / 2023-01-02 21:45
we lack a shared national identity. We think of ourselves as black or white,male or female, Republican or Democrat; we don’t think of ourselves as Americans. And so it becomes natural to make decisions based on what’s good for our race, gender, or party rather than what’s good for America. Wokeness flourishes in the absence of a shared national identity and then further divides us because we split ourselves into factions based on other commonalities.
P295 / 2023-01-02 19:19
when punishment is the first tool we turn to rather than persuasion, we naturally start to see people who disagree with us as enemies c not fellow citizens.
P289 / 2023-01-02 19:07
When I was young, it was cool to be rebellious, to act like you didn’t care about anything. Now it’s cool to be woke and act like you care about everything.
P277 / 2023-01-02 12:02
Corporations used to try to convince you that buying their stuff would make you cool; now they tell you buying it will make you good.
P277 / 2023-01-02 12:00
Woke CEOs and investors trick consumers with the illusion that by engaging in normal acts of consumption we’re fulfilling our social obligations. They tell us that by giving our money to the right companies (conveniently, their companies), we’re making the world a better place. Maybe the idea is that it’s strictly better to give our money to socially responsible companies than their near- identical competitors.
P276 / 2023-01-02 11:58
We all want justice, we just disagree about what it is.
P276 / 2023-01-02 11:57
Under the woke worldview, being born white, straight, male, or — worse — all three is an original sin that one must spend their life atoning for. Just as Catholics think we inherited the sins of Adam and Eve even if we’ve done nothing wrong, disciples of wokeness think we’ve inherited the sins of the Founding Fathers — the mechanism for group guilt is just called systemic racism instead of original sin.
P257 / 2023-01-01 14:29
Remember, the EEOC says that non-theistic moral or ethical beliefs count as religious ones under Title VII if (1) they’re as strongly held as religious ones typically are and (2) they occupy the same role in one’s life as religious beliefs, meaning they’re part of a belief system that makes claims about “ultimate ideas” like “life, purpose, and death”.
P256 / 2023-01-01 14:25
If Creativity, professing white supremacy, is a religion, then Wokeness, professing the opposite, must be too.
P255 / 2023-01-01 14:22
True diversity is very valuable,both for a nation and for a company. But it’s diversity of thought that’s supposed to matter, not a kind of diversity crudely measured by appearance or accent. At some point we all started using superficial qualities as proxies for intellectual diversity. But the more we focused on those proxies for intellectual diversity,the less we cared about the thing the proxies were supposed to represent.
P219 / 2022-12-31 18:51
The real catch is this: the same companies that have improved consumer access and lowered the prices of technology are also the ones limiting options in the marketplace of ideas and raising the “cost” of ideological dissent. That’s not the classical antitrust viola- tion of price-fixing. It’s whatI call “idea-fixing.”
P194 / 2022-12-20 13:35
Corporations aren’t people, but in one way they’re exactly alike. Whether you’re a corporation or a person, if you aspire to a reputation for goodness and achieve it, at some point maintaining the appearance of virtue becomes more important than virtue itself. Woke nonprofits are silent middlemen in the woke-industrial game: they allow corporations to buy the appearance of virtue by paying nonprofits to speak on their behalf.
P156 / 2022-12-19 13:38
One rule of woke capitalism is that jerks who obviously care only about money don’t get to keep making it.
P151 / 2022-12-19 13:21
A corporation offers woke people money and influence, and in return they lend it the protective cloak of wokeness’s moral superiority to hide its wrongdoing.
P143 / 2022-12-18 22:42
The wedding of wokeness to capitalism offers a tempting, individually rational choice that harms the nation as a whole by handing corporations social and political power. They don’t truly have wokeness’s best interests at heart, and the two systems aren’t truly compatible. Wokeness and capitalism simply tolerate each other because each feels it can use the other. They will turn a blind eye to each other’s faults as long as they themselves can still benefit. But a marriage in which each side secretly has contempt for the other cannot end well.
P140 / 2022-12-18 22:34
Money was not the only dowry that corporations offered. What they really promised wokeness was a megaphone to turbocharge its message and make it mainstream. By turning wokeness into the default ideology of business, they offered to make it the default everywhere. In exchange, corporations got to wear the protective cloak of wokeness’s moral superiority. It was a cynical arrangement.
P139 / 2022-12-18 22:31
Institutional investors should stop playing this game of shuffling money around and rewarding companies that they like and punishing ones they dislike based on factors that have nothing to do with commercial value.
P125 / 2022-11-13 12:46
Now corporations have simply come up with a new trick tailored for Democrats: they lend corporate power as a tool to implement radical agendas that Democrats could never pass in Congress.
P122 / 2022-10-21 18:18
Many of the analyses in favor of ESG outperformance are cherry-picked. Fudge factors include which companies to include versus exclude, the relevant time horizon to examine, what bench-mark indices to use, and so on. Those are fundamentally subjective decisions, often made by the very people who know what conclu- sion they wish to reach.
P118 / 2022-10-19 13:34
Brazen cost-cutting for one company creates a golden opportunity for another. Investors who follow the crowd and dump a stock because of a bad quarterly report create fertile inefficiencies for other investors to exploit. The logical approach to address the perils of short-termism isn’t to reinvent the rules of global capitalism. It’s to start a business or to invest capital in ways that capture those opportunities.
P115 / 2022-10-19 13:22
Asness explains that investors who practice negative screening can’t make more than investors who don’t because negative screeners are subject to constraints that the others are not. In Asness’s words, “constraints can never help you ex ante and only sometimes ex post through luck. Why? Because if they help they aren’t constraints, they are what you want to do anyway.” In effect, when evaluated purely on return and risk, constrained investors should only expect to make less than or equal to the return of unconstrained investors.
P110 / 2022-10-19 13:05
Stakeholderism is the philosophy that posits that institutions should not only advance their essential purpose but also advance societal goals that go beyond the institution’s essential purpose. On its face, that philosophy sounds benign enough.
At its core, it’s a tool that empowers the managerial class and allows them to escape accountability for their failures to properly advance the essential purpose of an institution.
P103 / 2022-10-19 12:50
That’s where my view departs from Lind’s. We both agree that the rise of the managerial class is a fundamental problem for America.But Lind views it as a battle between elites and ordinary people. By contrast, I view it as a battle between hired hands and those who embody the essence of an institution-like professors at universities, doctors at hospitals, or founders and shareholders at companies.
P102 / 2022-10-19 12:47
Today university administrators are generally monolithic in their political perspectives, choking the free exchange of diverse ideas at universities. Samuel Abrams, visiting scholar at the Amer- ican Enterprise Institute,found that liberal staff members out- number their conservative counterparts by an astonishing ratio of 12 to 1.
P101 / 2022-10-18 13:57
stakeholderism, in which institutions beyond for-profit corpora- tions invoke amorphous “stakeholders” to justify expanding their original missions to suit their manager’s personal desires.
P100 / 2022-10-18 13:55
stakeholder capitalism, a game in which greedy executives play stakeholders and shareholders against each other to make sure that they’re answerable to no one.
P100 / 2022-10-18 13:53
The BJR was never intended to protect executives from liability for corporate actions that weren’t motivated by maximizing prof- its for shareholders in the first place. Legal scholars almost uni- versally agree that the only reason for the BJR is that executives and directors are supposed to be the stewards for protecting share- holder value. That’s why it’s called the business judgment rule, not the “social judgment rule.”
P99 / 2022-10-18 13:51
IN ADOPTING THE multi-stakeholder model,the corportre managerial classhas pulled off the pertect con:CEOs can do whar. ererthey want so long as they say they have everyone’s bestinter ests in mind.Wokenomics is a powerful weapon for CEOs,which they can readily deploy as a smoke screen to distract from greed, fraud,and malfeasance. It provides the perfect alibi: accountability to everyone is accountability to no one at all.
No man can serve two masters. Corporate executives know that better than anyone.They claim to serve both shareholders and stakeholders.But as you’ll see, when they have to pick one master to serve,they serve themselves.
P90 / 2022-10-15 10:46
They teach us in high school that there are three branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial. That’s certainly what the Constitution says. Yet in real life, the fourth branch of government-the administrative state-is often more power- ful than any of the other three. This alphabet soup of government agencies-SEC,FAA,FTC,HHS,FCC,and so on-runs the day-to-day affairs of the federal government, staffed by civil ser- vants largely insulated from political accountability.
P85 / 2022-10-15 10:33
if limited liability was the quid from society, then the mandate to maximize shareholder value was the quo from corporations.
That was the true grand bargain. The requirement to maximize profits wasn’t just about protecting shareholders, as Milton Friedman types had assumed. It was about protecting the rest of society from a Frankensteinian corporate monster. That’s why we keep the monster trapped in the cage of capitalism: to protect democracy and other civic institutions from a monster that, once unleashed, would exercise more power than any business or person ever should.
P76 / 2022-10-15 10:23
The creation of the limited-liability corporation was a potent tool to unlock not only pro- ductivity through the private sector but also potentially limitless corporate power that could infect other spheres of society beyond the marketplace for goods and services. By limiting the focus of corporate boards to shareholders’ financial interests alone, corpo- rate law is actually confining the sphere of influence of corporations. That protects our democracy and other civic institutions from cor- porate overreach.
P73 / 2022-10-13 19:42
The members of a cor- poration’s board are indeed people. But corporations aren’t literally people. Unlike people, corporations as entities have a view on one thing and one thing alone: profits.
P67 / 2022-10-12 21:05
Enter the “board of directors.” Because shareholders are often disparate geographically, diverse in their views, and unknown to one another, they elect a board of directors to look after their affairs by representing their collective point of view. The board then becomes the so-called fiduciary of those shareholders: they owe the shareholders the highest level of care, just as DJ’s externally hired managers owed him that duty.
What if shareholders have different views on what the board should do? Corporate law in most jurisdictions deals with this problem in a simple way: it demands that the board make decisions to maximize overall shareholder value. In simple terms, this means maximizing profits. Delaware is the state where most American companies are incorporated, and in 2015 Delaware’s Chief Jus- tice Leo Strine summed it up well when he said that Delaware law “reveals that…directors must make stockholder welfare their sole end.”2 Not their main end, but their sole end.
P66 / 2022-10-12 21:03
A “corporation” is nothing more than a legal invention, a bunch of words written on a piece of paper.Those words on paper accomplish two basic things.
First, corporate law creates an obligation owed by managers to the owners of a business. That obligation is known as a fiduciary duty-the highest form of trusted obligation that one person can legally owe another. It’s the same obligation your lawyer owes you
P65 / 2022-10-12 21:00
I also felt uncomfortable being inauthentic with my employees. Personally, while I believe racism exists and should be eliminated, I don’t believe in “systemic racism.” In fact, I don’t even know what it means: to me, it sounds like a catchall phrase designed to allow political leaders to escape accountability for solving real-world problems like poverty and failure in education. So I didn’t want to publicly denounce something that I didn’t believe in-or, at the very least, that I didn’t fully understand.
P63 / 2022-10-12 20:55
My senior colleagues told me I came across as uncharacteris- tically aloof that day, maybe even dismissive-and, worst of all, inauthentic. In retrospect, I failed as a leader that day: I had let my own personal views get in the way of connecting with my employ- ees at a time when they had an important issue on their minds. That was on me.
P61 / 2022-10-12 20:52
Stakeholder capitalism pretends to be a milder form of capitalism, but it’s actually capitalism gone wild: it encourages capitalism’s winners to wield greater power in our democracy. Ordinary Amer- icans who vote at the ballot box each November are like the poor devotees who wait in the long line at the temple. Meanwhile,CEOs and investors issuing moral fiats from Davos are the rich devotees who get to cut the line.
P54 / 2022-10-12 18:57
If greed and nepotism weren’t pretty, then “social responsibility” offered the right brand of makeup.
P39 / 2022-10-10 17:33
In reality, companies like BlackRock, and in particular their leaders, are using social causes as a way of assuming their place in a moral pantheon. And in the process, they’re quietly dropping hints to consumers to take the bait and make purchasing decisions on the basis of moral qualia rather than product attributes alone. And many consumers then do it, especially when they’re feeling lost and hungry for a purpose, as so many Americans do today. Woke consumerism is born when woke companies prey on the insecurities and vulnerabilities of their customers by deflecting our focus away from the price and quality of their products. As it turns out, morality makes for a great marketing tactic.
P33 / 2022-10-08 10:42
(A phenomenon in which) woke consumers are the ones who demand that companies drive social change … (is) what I call “woke consumerism.”That isn’t a top-down phenomenon. It’s a grassroots, bottom-up demand that consumers make upon companies.
Woke consumerism is real. It divides us as a people and weaponizes buying power to stifle authentic debate. And there’s no easy fix, since we live in a free country and people still get to do what they want.
P32 / 2022-10-08 10:32
But my bigger beef is with the insincere woke capitalists. Here’s what the sincere guys miss: when they create a system in which business leaders decide moral questions, they open the floodgates for all their unscrupulous colleagues to abuse that newfound power. And there are far more CEOs who are eager to grab money and power in the name of justice than there are CEOs who are agnostic to money and power and care only about justice.
P30 / 2022-10-08 10:22
it reveals an important point about my disagreement with sincere woke capitalists. Our dispute comes down to this: they think they’re morally obliged to minimize the harm that they already do just by “being capitalists,” whereas I think they’re overstepping their authority by trying to affirmatively enact their own conception of the good by using their market power. I think they’re trying too hard to save the world; they think they’re just trying not to make it worse.
But they are making it worse.
P29 / 2022-10-08 10:19
IN PRINCIPLE, “STAKEHOLDER capitalism” can mean one of two things. It could mean that corporations should affirmatively take steps toward addressing important societal issues like climate change, racism, and workers’ rights. That’s the bandwagon that most companies are jumping on these days.
But there’s a more sympathetic version of the same idea that refers to something much simpler — namely, the idea that executives should just account for the negative externalities, or unintended consequences, of their actions before making important business decisions.
P27 / 2022-10-08 10:15
the motives of many CEOs who embrace stakeholder capitalism: it allows them to exercise quasi-political power without having to go through the hassle of getting elected.
P26 / 2022-10-08 10:09
Wokenomics is crony capitalism 2.0, and here’s how it works: big business uses progressive-friendly values to deflect attention from its own monolithic pursuit of profit and power. Crony capitalism 1.0 was straightforward by comparison: corporations simply had to make campaign contributions to legislators in return for favorable legislative treatment.
P22 / 2022-10-07 23:15
Advocates of stakeholder capitalism say it’s totally consistent to oppose corporate contributions to political campaigns while still demanding that corporate leaders pursue social agendas that are good for society at large. Yet this argument ignores why it’s bad for corporations to influence elections in the first place. It’s not just the election that matters, but what the election symbolizes: the idea that every person’s vote counts equally in ourdemocracy. That’s what’s special about an election. That’s what makes capitalist influence over elections so troubling-because when dollars mix with votes, everyone’s vote no longer counts equally.
P20 / 2022-10-07 23:06
Corporations may not be people, but CEOs definitely are, and it’s a good thing when citizens personally engage on civic issues. But there’s a difference between speaking up as a citizen and using your company’s market power to foist your views onto society while avoiding the rigors of public debate in our democracy. That’s exactly what Larry Fink does when BlackRock issues social mandates about what companies it will or won’t invest in or what Jack Dorsey does when Twitter consistently censors certain political viewpoints rather than others. When companies use their market power to make moral rules, they effectively prevent those other citizens from having the same say in our democracy.
P19 / 2022-10-07 23:03
The real problem with stakeholder capitalism isn’t that it’s inefficient.The deeper threat is this: it’s the Goldman Rule in action. The guys with the gold get to make the rules. Not just market rules, but moral rules too.
P18 / 2022-10-07 22:59
Personally, I believe the best way to achieve diversity of thought on a corporate board is to simply screen board candidates for the diversity of their thoughts, not the diversity of their genetically inherited attributes. But that wasn’t what bothered me most about Goldman’s announcement. The bigger problem was that its edict wasn’t about diversity at all. It was about corporate opportunism: seizing an already popular social value and prominently emblazoning it with the Goldman Sachs logo. This was just its latest version of pretending to plant trees in Harlem.
P14 / 2022-10-07 09:09
One of the many vice presidents who worked in the cubicle diagonally across from mine would make a small scene every time he needed to use the restroom, dashing out and walking fast to and from his desk, just to show everyone how busy he was. I was the only one with a direct view of his computer screen; he was usually surfing different news sites on the web.
P12 / 2022-10-07 09:08
A good barometer for the health of any democracy is the percentage of people who are willing to say what they actually believe in public. As a nation, we’re doing pretty poorly on that metric right now, and the only way to fix it is to start talking openly again.
P10 / 2022-10-06 23:58
The antidote isn’t to fight wokeness directly. It can’t be, because that’s a losing battle. You’ll be canceled before you even stand a chance.
P7 / 2022-10-06 23:57
Woke culture posits a new theory of who you are as a person, one that reduces you to the characteristics you inherit at birth and denies your status as a free agent in the world. And it deploys powerful corporations to propagate this new theory with the full force of modern capitalism behind it.
P7 / 2022-10-06 23:48
Sincere liberals get tricked into adulation by their love of woke causes. Conservatives are duped into submission as they fall back on slogans they memorized decades ago — something like“the market can do no wrong”— failing to recognize that the free market they had in mind doesn’t actually exist today.
P6 / 2022-10-06 23:45
Basically, being woke means obsessing about race, gender, and sexual orientation. Maybe climate change too. That’s the best definition I can give. Today more and more people are becoming woke, even though generations of civil rights leaders have taught us NOT to focus on race or gender.
P5 / 2022-10-06 23:43