We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

“A majority of Americans want companies to stay out of politics. They want to have a separate space for where they shop, where they work, and where they invest from the places where they cast their ballots or engage in their political debates.”

Vivek Ramaswamy, a young businessman and author of Woke Inc. He is critical of the current trend of firms, and asset managers such as BlackRock, seemingly putting non-financial goals before those to do with actually earning a return for investors.

26 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • TomJ

    This suggests that tide may already be turning…

  • I’ve made my annoyance clear to many places I shop (or formerly) did regarding unwanted preaching. And if I dump a brand or shop because of it, I always politely let them know why they will never see another penny from me.

  • Barbarus

    critical of … putting non-financial goals before those to do with the environment

    Which is to say, critical of putting one non-financial (presumably, lefty political) goal before another. Not much here for anyone who really wants companies out of that arena.

  • just a lurker

    BTW, what happened to Paul Marks?
    He used to comment under every blog post every day for many years, it is disturbing when regular commenter suddenly just vanishes.
    Was he banned?
    I hope he is alive and well.

  • He is not banned but some harsh words were said.

  • just a lurker

    He is not banned but some harsh words were said.

    What happened, if I can ask? Was it about Ukraine, or was Mr. Marks too blackpilled and devoid of all hope for this blog?

  • bobby b

    He stayed on one topic too long for some. He should return. “Some” should work on civility.

  • Fraser Orr

    Moving on from Paul, who I also miss, and back to the OP: what I don’t really understand is this. The board of directors and the executive committee have a fiduciary duty to the best interests of their shareholders (not their, employees, not the public, not the country, not mother earth) to run the company in their best interests according to the charter of the corporation. Nearly all corporations are formed to give shareholders a good return on their investment, and so to sideline with things that are not doing that is, in my view anyway, a breach of their duty. I wonder if a group of shareholders could successfully sue on that basis.

    FWIW, the opposite is becoming true. The SEC here in the US is beginning to impose at first reporting requirements and no doubt soon much more on publicly traded companies with regards to the whole leftie agenda. Which is not good at all.

    When I was a kid the Russians used to believe that they would win because of “western decadence.” They might end up being right after all.

  • He stayed on one topic too long for some. He should return. “Some” should work on civility.

    Oddly, I’ve just had a similar experience with one semi regular commenter. Hurling insults and shouting because the conversation isn’t going his way and banging on and on and on about his pet peeve pissed me off enough to engage in some harsh words myself. If you want to be the pub bore, go down to the pub and do it.

  • On the OP, my approach is the same as Perry’s. I do not want politics with my shopping and will actively disengage from suppliers who do it.

  • When I was a kid the Russians used to believe that they would win because of “western decadence.” They might end up being right after all.

    But Russia is no less decadent, just decadent in a different way and if anything even more disconnected from reality.

  • Hard to define the subsistence existence of most Russians outside the Moscow / St. Petersburg suburbs as “decedent”. Whereas the Russian 1% are living lives of extreme decadence, comparable to the Gilded Age.

    Hopefully the recent idiocy in Ukraine will lead to a little realignment in inequality levels, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

  • While there is indeed a tide against woke capitalism, the wind from the woke towards it still blows strongly. In conditions of wind over tide, expect turbulence – which I prefer to the silent desolation they call peace.

    ON THE OT-THREAD: I too have begun to miss Paul’s contributions, while agreeing that (for example) the fact that a certain modern phenomenon could be traced back to the Frankfurt School of Marxism was often not the thing about it most worth commenting on, certainly not at length. “This FSOMic phenomenon is … [something specific about it] … “ would often have made for a shorter and better comment. (In some cases, nothing else being said about it, it would have made for an absent comment, which would in that case also have been shorter and better. 🙂 )

    FSOM might be too short for a newbie reader (or might have prompted them to ask, whereupon Paul could have spread himself in a follow-up 🙂 , or, better, might have been a link, routinely pasted in, to some very old comment or post where the Frankfurt School of Marxism was fully defined).

  • (Back on-topic), I think it was instapundit a while back (posting on this same topic) who pointed out that the hate-filled left did boycotts very well, whereas the saner right did boycotts poorly, but did buycotts well. I, like Perry, do not patronise those whom I discover funding my oppression, but I try also to support and recommend any firms I see with the courage to stand upright when the woke wind blows against them.

    (Wherever, of course, one honestly can. Adam Smith said

    I never knew much good to be done by those who affected to trade in the public interest.

    and in some other time that is so not today, one might possibly encounter a roll-right-and-die firm to parallel the many examples of Sarah Hoyt’s roll-left-and-die syndrome. But that won’t happen often because it is no accident that – for example – Elon Musk has every reason to expect free speech will improve Twitter’s value – plus sacking censors will cut down on overhead. Our saner principles get on with reality much better than theirs.)

  • Clovis Sangrail

    I miss Paul too!

  • Clovis Sangrail

    Given the FSOM and Soviet connections it can be no accident that the “I am not a robot test” asked me to identify tractors!

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Back on the topic, I should add that I know quite a lot of wealth managers who think as Perry de Havilland does. There are problems coming: a lot of “green” bonds sold by issuers at cheap funding costs are now under water, and trading below 100 cents on the dollar, because rising inflation/rates means they will struggle to repay their creditors in full.

    The claim is made by advocates of “sustainable” investing, etc, that this delivers as good a return as the old-fashioned approach of focusing on making a profit by delivering great service and products and keeping on top of costs. It is true, to a degree, that a well run, honest and intelligent business will tend to also be profitable. For example, an oil refinery firm can be well run, pay its staff well, have good industrial relations, and treat communities it operates in decently. Contrary-wise, a solar panel firm that gets subsidies because of cronyism can be inefficient, have terrible HR, neglect R&D, pay a measly return, and have shit corporate PR.

  • Plamus

    Fraser Orr:

    The board of directors and the executive committee have a fiduciary duty to the best interests of their shareholders (not their, employees, not the public, not the country, not mother earth) to run the company in their best interests according to the charter of the corporation. Nearly all corporations are formed to give shareholders a good return on their investment, and so to sideline with things that are not doing that is, in my view anyway, a breach of their duty.

    This is the old view, that has for some time now been considered uncool. Furthermore, the law does give a CEO a broad discretion to define what is best for the shareholders, and a lot of them argue that being woke is good business. It’s up to the shareholders to correct that, but increasingly the biggest shareholders are Blackrock, State Street, and Vanguard, who approve of this non-sense.

  • pete

    Non-financial goals?

    Woke propaganda from firms is pure commerce.

    They hope to get lots of that disposable income that young, impressionable and woke people have to spend.

  • bobby b

    Used to be, you’d draft and submit your incorporation papers with some provisions defining what purposes were within the corp’s essence, which would also then define which were ultra vires, or outside and beyond the corporate scope. Like the corporation shall exist to clean and refurbish ducks and small mammals. If the corporate work then didn’t involve ducks or small animals, it was outside the purpose of the corporate formation, and a shareholder would have cause for complaint.

    Looking at the newer AofI and charter templates recently, I see many new-to-me vague and meaningless alternate provisions, which serve to grant near-total discretion to boards and officers to determine what is a proper corporate function. Shareholders don’t get much say in limiting such corporate entities, which I’m told are now more common than the limited-purpose ones.

  • Stonyground

    “…the hate-filled left did boycotts very well, whereas the saner right did boycotts poorly, but did buycotts well.”

    I stopped buying Gillette products, after their insulting ad campaign and haven’t bought any since. I do also buy stuff occasionally because the firm that produces it has made some kind of stand. Tunnocks biscuits were the last ones. I think that directing your spending gives you a kind of unofficial democracy, voting with your wallet in effect.

  • The right may or may not do boycotts well. It’s hard to say, because they don’t make as much noise about it. Same with the left – we’re not sure what’s happening, but they sure make a lot of noise.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Stonyground
    I do also buy stuff occasionally because the firm that produces it has made some kind of stand. Tunnocks biscuits were the last ones.

    You mean that and the fact that their products are awesome? What do they put in those tea cakes to make them taste so good? The thing I miss most about Scotland (aside from family) is the food. Would that they would open a Gregs bakery here in Chicago. On the other hand, I’d probably put on a stone in a week.

    I think that directing your spending gives you a kind of unofficial democracy, voting with your wallet in effect.

    I have often said that free markets are the ultimate form of democracy — where you get to vote on your preferences every day — and the ultimate form of federalism where the smallest unit of government is me, myself and I.

  • JohnB

    The advance of cultural Marxism (FSOM) into the west has been championed by that mysterious elite, such as World Economic Forum, Davos attendees, etc as “stakeholder capitalism” wherein everyone in a “society” is a stakeholder.

    Stakeholder capitalism is the idea that “the purpose of a business or a company is to be primarily concerned with serving the interests of all ‘stakeholders’, rather than to deliver maximum profits for its shareholders.

    The proposed mechanism for this transition is the Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) scoring system. This rates corporations and businesses in accordance with their perceived responsibility in those three fields.

    Come back, Paul!!

  • AndyM

    I operate “buycotts” at a country level as well. I currently buy Argentinian wine, but if they start sabre rattling over the Falkands then it’s back to the banned list. I also look at charities’ websites – if they mention global warming – sorry, “climate change”, they get sweet FA.

    OT – I often skipped Paul Marks’ comments because he did go on a bit – I’ve only a limited time on this planet.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Ellen
    The right may or may not do boycotts well. It’s hard to say, because they don’t make as much noise about it. Same with the left – we’re not sure what’s happening, but they sure make a lot of noise.

    I think it is a mistake to not make a bit of noise about it, as Perry mentioned above. Most large corporations have huge data analysis facilities that you apply to determine what increases or impacts sales, so if you don’t feed your input to the machine it’ll get lost and ignored. Use their complaints box, write a letter to the editor, post of twitter or FB. Your contribution doesn’t do much, but enough contributions will make a difference because math doesn’t lie.

    Of course it isn’t your full time occupation to make a noise about it. It is one thing I notice about a lot of the more radical lefties. They make so much noise because, unlike the rest of us, they don’t have anything better to do with their time.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>