Corporate America Isn’t Woke

A friend of mine sent me this piece a while back and it is even more pointed in the wake of Corporate Hollywood’s sudden discovery of conscience about sex predator Harvey Weinstein:

Mocking neoliberalism is a vicious, unsporting pastime, like bear baiting or fishing with dynamite. This is not because our woke capitalist elites and their echo chambers in the media don’t deserve ridicule, but because they invite it so heedlessly.

A case in point is the routine breathless enthusiasm with which corporations and their leaders are praised for making vaguely woke gestures. My favorite example is BuzzFeed‘s immortal classic, “46 beautiful rainbow brand logos celebrating marriage equality.” But soberer voices are just as guilty. It is equally ridiculous for The New York Times to single out the chief executives of Walmart, JPMorgan Chase, PepsiCo, and Apple for praise. We should not be looking to corporate America for moral instruction or making exemplars of its leaders or heaping approbation upon their bland, cynical consultant-designed utterances.

Talk, after all, is cheap, and the gap between what MBA-educated CEOs say and what the vast enterprises under their command actually do is yawningly wide. Walmart, a monstrous parasite of a corporation that ruthlessly destroys competitors, pays starvation wages to its employees, and thinks nothing of leaving a community bloodless and broken at the whims of computer algorithms, has settled numerous lawsuits related to racial discrimination in recent years. But, hey, the CEO just called for “healing” in Charlottesville.

Likewise Apple’s Tim Cook tells us that he is against racism. I believe it. Good on him. Cook also just received a $90 million bonus on top of his salary and other perks for his role in the development of the iPhone 8, a luxury product. He is the CEO of a corporation that has made profits on a scale hitherto unimaginable in human history by exploiting cheap labor in a poor country ruled by tyrants whose authority is perpetuated in no small part thanks to Apple’s own compliance in its silencing of dissent and hiring the smartest lawyers in the world to make their tax burden negligible. Want to help black people in America, Mr. Cook? Consider opening a factory in Flint.

Read the rest here.

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