Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Woke capitalism, a new oxymoron

Money is most successful when it operates in the background and/or in the shadows. Whenever Money takes the lead within the Power domain of the 7 Belief systems, it will be crushed by either Politics (eg, China) or Religion (eg, Iran). American businesses used to appeal to all Americans. Not anymore.

Recently, the Economist published an article that Republicans are falling out of love with America Inc. The reason is woke capitalism, the latest oxymoron (eg, bittersweet). A recent example is “Disney’s feud with Ron DeSantis, Florida’s Republican governor, over discussion of sexual orientation in classrooms”.

The term woke capitalism was invented in a NYT opinion (sic!) article (ie, Wiki). Unfortunately, it stuck in the collective mind. Given the primacy of politics over business, the term is ridiculous. Genuine capitalism belongs to previous centuries, and would never ever be woke.

The idea that businesses should interfere in politics is stupid because it can – and will – alienate some 50% of its customers. It’s no surprise that Disney’s PR chief was subsequently fired. To punish Disney, it lost its favourable tax status, and it may even lose its Mickey Mouse copyright in 2024 (BBC).

I suppose American businesses are interfering in politics due to its infinite stupidity (eg, alt-Right vs woke-Left, SCOTUS overturning Roe vs Wade). Some business CEO’s may have genuine ethical and/or moral objections. They forgot the 1768 phrase: where ignorance is bliss, it’s foolish to be wise.

Sometimes, the biggest oxymoron isn’t even considered an oxymoron. The Tesla brand is very popular amongst the US liberal-left (source), while its CEO seems like a 19th century capitalist with shady business practices for “its cars, workplace culture, business practices, and occupational safety” (Wiki).

Research by Columbia University management professor Vanessa Burbano “suggests that companies’ public statements on polarising political topics also tend to generate more blowback than approval” (FT, FD). The FT adds (former) common sense: “some business leaders are now wondering whether to lie low.”

Latter is common sense. A Dutch proverb says that you need to sit still when you are being shaved (or sheared w.r.t. sheep). This advice is common sense at a barber but it also implies do not panic when being criticized. Also see these 17 quotes on dealing with criticism.

Common sense is not so common. A quote by François-Marie Arouet (1694-1778) a.k.a. Voltaire

Money, Money, Money (1976) by ABBA
band, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-song

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.

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