Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam — Vivek Ramaswamy
In this 10th episode of The Creating Wealth Show where Jason discusses a topic of general interest, Jason invites New York Times bestselling author Vivek Ramaswamy to speak about his book Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam.
But first, after his own run-ins with the tech oligarchy running the world who find his opinions dangerous, Jason reminds you that censorship is one of the biggest problems facing humanity. Our free press is now in the hands of tech companies, and if people cannot communicate and solve problems, the problems will be “solved” for us by the elite class. If you still think that money and politics are separate issues, it’s time to wake up!
The political environment is like the air we breathe. It is the context in which we live. Almost everything comes out of the political environment: interest rates, deficits, budgets, national debt, everything. Political stuff is investing stuff. So for all of you out there who want Jason to stick to real estate commentary, thinking you can separate politics from finance is just a delusional, immature idea.
Economic Force as a Substitute for Free Speech
Vivek Ramaswamy is a New York Times bestselling author and frequent contributor on many of the top media outlets. Today’s economic landscape is rife with companies using economic force as a substitute for free speech and open debate to settle political and social questions. Vivek is concerned with this new cancer, both in our culture and in our private sector, which threatens to kill the dream that Martin Luther King Jr. had 60 years ago.
This new philosophy that says that your identity is based on your race, sex, religion, or your sexual orientation is reductive. It takes the true diversity of voices in our country, the true diversity of perspectives within each of us and reduces us to nothing more than the embodiment of a group identity.
Once the private sector becomes politicized, we lose the apolitical sanctuary where true innovation can happen. The free market does not exist when it’s been co-opted to advance a political agenda. Vivek makes the case to separate capitalism and democracy in order to preserve the integrity of both.
Staying Out of Business
As the child of immigrants who came to this country with almost no money, Vivek is now the founder of a successful company and served as CEO of a biotech firm for seven years. There are certain conditions that require that story to be possible: conditions of meritocracy, where politicians stay out of business and businesses stay out of the business of politics. This new cultural cancer, this combination of political forces, even in the private sector, infecting the system of American capitalism itself, threatens to betray the dream that made a story like his possible.
Institutions have adopted the shareholder primacy doctrine and are forcing companies to support particular politicized environmental or social agendas. Companies use market power to tilt the scales of debate on identity questions. But isn’t wokeness acting against the interest of some companies? Vivek believes we can find the answers in the ’08 financial crisis. Occupy Wall Street was on Wall Street’s doorstep and what financial institutions and eventually the rest of corporate America realized, was that it was a pretty tough pill to swallow. The public bailed them out, there was an outcry against the “greed is good” version of capital and there was a demand for a new form and a reinvention of capitalism, or else a call to tear it down altogether.
There was a new woke left that had a slightly different theory of the case and insisted that the real problem is in poverty or economic injustice, racial injustice, misogyny, bigotry and climate change. They made a trade: instead of focusing on systemic financial risk, they wanted to talk about systemic racism.
But the net birth of that was this new, uncomfortable movement that combined some of the forces of progressive big government with the forces of historically conservative big businesses to create a new hybrid force that in some ways duped both sides into submission. Liberals used to be skeptical of corporate power unless it was used to advance the right causes. And conservatives, meanwhile, used to recite slogans like “the free market can do no wrong.” Neither are recognizing that that free market does not exist when it’s been co-opted to advance a political agenda.
Government actors in China are actually exploiting this trend masterfully to their advantage, getting companies to relentlessly criticize the United States, while using access to the Chinese market as a dangling carrot to make sure those same companies don’t criticize China. What does that do? Well, it takes America’s greatest geopolitical asset of all, not our nuclear arsenal, but our moral standing on the global stage and quietly erodes it by using the voices of American companies to do that bidding.