The opposite of waking capitalism is still capitalism

It is a sign of how much the Donald Trump era has disturbed our politics that American rights – which not so long ago were reflective and gleefully defending capitalist prerogatives – are now actively consider whether large enterprises have become so powerful that they threaten individual liberties. .

Such arguments belong almost exclusively to processes. But at a recent debate organized by conservatives Federal Association, lawyer Ashley Keller argued that the government should use its antitrust power to crack down on big Tech corporations censor conservatives, businesses require their employees to variety trainingand companies put “wake up” message to the public. “Looks like overnight corporations have almost given up on Milton Friedman’s shareholder preference model of the company, “Keller despair.

As Keller went on to explain, Friedman “had the crazy idea that the purpose of a company is to make money, not to take stock of its resources to support social programs.” And while that “isn’t to say that CEOs can’t support political goals… they should do it with their own money, not the official infrastructure, brands, and colossal coffers of the companies they operate.” On the other hand, Keller emphasized, “the company’s agents can do whatever they want. And what do they want? Why, of course, to signal the waking person.”

Friedman’s ideas about shareholder preference have dominated corporate thinking for most of the past 50 years, but they Yes come under recent supervision. In 2019, a coalition of nearly 200 CEOs released Joint statement rejected Friedman’s philosophy in favor of a “stakeholder capitalismJamie Dimon, President and CEO of JP Morgan Chase, said: “Acknowledges the responsibility businesses have for their workers, their communities and the environment.” .

But Keller’s argument has some glaring shortcomings. For one, businesses did not really sitting on the political sidelines before the rise of capitalism woke up: They dominated immense resources elect politicians and promulgating policies precisely because they Pursuit of profit. (They continued do like that.) Moreover, companies are not all that has woken up – they can pay lip service for racial equality and voting rights, but when it comes to practical practice, surname rarely progress. And it’s not like profit motive has gone missing.

Progressives may be tempted to ally with . from time to time conservatives “common good” like supporters Union, write paeans for dignity of workers, or plead cracked about Big Tech’s monopoly. But Keller’s comments make it clear that the left and the right don’t really share the same agenda. The return to shareholder preference won’t be very easy to understand, but it will be extremely capitalist. The opposite of waking capitalism is still capitalism


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