American companies in the ups and downs of wokism

American companies in the ups and downs of wokism

Analyze. Republican conservatives won the legal battle on abortion after the US Supreme Court abolished that federal law in the summer of 2022. By virtue of this victory they are waging a new struggle: the struggle against “awakened capitalism”. ‘, this ‘awakened’ capitalism designed to take corporate social responsibility into account, be it in relation to the environment, gender equality or non-discrimination.

The cause has found its sponsor: Andy Puzder, unsuccessful candidate for Donald Trump’s job as Secretary of Labor and ex-CEO of a fast-food chain. At 72, he would like to take the torch from Milton Friedman, the father of monetarism, who wrote in a famous 1970 article: “Corporate social responsibility is to increase profits. »

In an interview with think tank The Heritage Foundation, Puzder criticizes companies’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria: “ESG investing is negative for profits, it is negative for investor returns. It’s only positive if you’re one of those progressive crusaders trying to push these issues and force Americans to eat them without going to the ballot box. »

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers “Capitalism Awakened” by Anne de Guigné: Business in the face of morality

If Milton Friedman lost the battle for fifteen years, it was mainly at the end of “happy globalization” and the 2008 crisis: capitalism had failed and laissez-faire was no longer an option. Gradually, politics and social issues found their way into the business world.

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It was primarily distancing from the National Rifle Association (NRA) that made and smashed Republican nominations while mass killings multiplied. It was then the shock of #metoo, after the revelations about the sex offender Harvey Weinstein, film producer. Then there was the movement sparked by the death of George Floyd, an African American man, choked to death by a white Minneapolis police officer in May 2020.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers “Awakened activists are part of a long history of political mobilization of youth”

In recent months, this list has been expanded to include awareness of climate issues. The American company has been asked to position itself on these issues with a progressive agenda, as requested by its young employees and an increasingly militant part of its interlocutors (customers, suppliers, etc.), who are quick to wield the boycott weapon.

Until the return of the Republic nutcase. Last year, conservatives felt strong enough to cross swords with previously unassailable companies. It all started with the game between Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — who pushed through a law banning teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation in schools through third grade — and Disney. After the company criticized the law, Mr. DeSantis had the tax benefits it enjoyed for its Orlando amusement park removed.

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