Stakeholder capitalism, which is not capitalism at all, is just a way to broaden the number of people who have a non-shareholding “stake” in a company. Eventually you broaden the stakeholder pool so much that everyone is considered a stakeholder. When everyone has a stake, nobody does except the government, and you’ve morphed shareholder capitalism into stakeholder communism. From Vivek Ramaswamy at bariweiss.substack.com:
It may be good for companies Airbnb, Nike and Disney. But it’s terrible for America.
“Stakeholder capitalism” may not be a phrase you are intimately familiar with, or it may be a phrase that makes your eyes glaze over. But it’s definitely something you’ve witnessed.
Let me give you an example:
This May, when the actor John Cena was promoting the latest movie in the “Fast and Furious” franchise, he called Taiwan a country. This, needless to say, displeased China — and Cena offered a groveling apology. “I love and respect China and Chinese people. I’m very very sorry for my mistake,” he said in Mandarin on Chinese social media.
Last summer, while Uber was putting out soaring statements about becoming an anti-racist company — it promised, among other pledges, to implement anti-racism education for riders and drivers in California — the company was pushing for Prop 22, which allowed the company to continue to classify its drivers as independent contractors rather than employees.
So “stakeholder capitalism” is the kind of gauzy expression that suggests a freer, fairer, more diverse, environmentally and LGBTQ-friendly world. But in reality it is something far different. It looks, in the case of Cena, like an American movie star doing the bidding of the Chinese Communist Party. In the case of Uber, assurances about “antiracism” allowed the company to distract the public from a political issue with real economic stakes.
This corporate hustle is the subject of a new, bestselling book called Woke Inc: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam by biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. Ramaswamy makes the compelling case that “stakeholder capitalism” sounds like a good thing, but is in fact deeply damaging our democracy. He explains why in the essay below. — BW