Woke, Inc. Inside the Social Justice Scam
Actual pages: 328

Woke, Inc. Inside the Social Justice Scam

“That’s not our country, but a distortion of it. In America we don’t force you to choose between the American Dream and free speech. You get to enjoy both at once.”

Vivek Ramaswamy studied Biology at Harvard, Law at Yale, and founded the biotech company Roivant Sciences. If there is a thing that shocked him as immigrant from India, is not lethargy of US corporate bureaucracy but big businesses pretending to care about justice in order to make money.

Vivek’s aim in this book is to debunk the “Corporate Social Justice Scam” within businesses and academia. That is, how the “Woke” agenda is being pushed by those institutions.

  • When he talks about wokeness and capitalism, his aim is to make us aware that stakeholder capitalism will lead to the end of democracy.
  • When he talks about wokeness and academia, his aim is to make us aware that the “diversity” institutions are talking about is not diversity of thought but of genetics.
His solution: to rebuild a vision for shared American identity that dilutes wokeness to irrelevance.

Wokeness and Capitalism

Why big businesses started worring about Social Justice and started "going Woke" is a 3-stage story:

  1. US Corporate Law gave shareholders limited legal liability: This means, if you are wronged by a corporation you are entitled to sue the corporation but no one of its shareholders.
  2. Liberals claimed corporate social responsibility in return: Limited legal liability was an unearned privilege that had to be balanced with caring about social issues.
  3. Stakeholder capitalism became the solution: The idea that businesses have at least some obligation to serve not just their shareholders but the interests of society at large.

What's wrong with that?

Yeah, I know that you now instinctively like the idea of companies pursuing noble social values… After all, the government seems to suck at solving problems, why don’t we give businesses a chance?

Well... here are some problems:

Coca-Cola diversity training urged workers to be 'less white', 2021
  1. The more people you are accountable to, the less accountable you become. And the more powerful you become. Being accountable to everyone means being accountable to no one.
  2. Who voted you? With the pretext of doing the interest of stakeholders (read: humanity), corporations are advancing their own rainbow, diversity, social justice agenda without bearing the costs of elections. Politicians lend corporate power as a tool to implement a radical agenda they could never pass in Congress.
  3. It's profits under a different guise, stupid!: Big businesses are taking the role of liberal governments on terms that are favorable to their own interests. They push partisan agenda and get favourable regulations back.
  4. Woke capitalism infects spheres of our lives that were previously apolitical. The coffee shop or the baseball stadium soon become divisive places.

How do they "sell" Social Justice?

By putting words like “conscious” or “environmental” capitalism in their advertisement, using the rainbow filter. They want to let you think they don’t care about profits but about social justice. It's virtue signaling.

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Fun Fact: Disney, Marriott, Apple, and the NBA express their moral outrage about injustices like “systemic racism” and transphobia in the US while staying completely silent about human right abuses in China.

...Sometimes you just sell Social Justice short...

"Go woke, go broke"

Wokeness and Academia

There are 2 well-tested ways academia uses to advance wokeness:

  1. Diversity

quotas and affirmative action: Given the belief that US academic and capitalistic systems advance and perpetuate racism (so-called systemic or structural racism), universities thought that the best way to fill this gap was to reserve a quota for racial minorities, and LGBTQUI+ community. The fact that they were not statistically represented as were white heterosexual males, made progressive staff and faculty think that there had to be a structural or systemic issue.

different genetics = different thought: Given the idea that diversity of background helps avoiding groupthink and contributes to higher quality research, "diversity" seemed the solution. Unfortunately, the kind of diversity that has been implemented is not diversity of research, thought, or of the contribution that they can add to the academic debate. Diversity in academia is referred to racial, sex, and gender characteristics. They automatically assume that different genetics = different experience, different background, but more importantly, different thought.

"that genetic characteristics predict something important about the way a person thinks is the most fundamental assumption underlying racism itself"
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Why Quotas? Displaying metrics such as quotas, will instantly portray compliance with the criteria for being recognized as inclusive and diverse. While avoiding the need to engage with true diversity of thought.

2. Censorship

“Extol free speech publicly but keep controversial thoughts to yourself."

Rebranding censorship as “inclusive language" or “anti-hate speech” is increasingly popular in academia.

Also, note the emergence of “trigger warnings” to students before being exposed to ideas that may challenge their presuppositions on social questions like race, gender, or climate change. They have to know whether their feelings may be hurt in class so that they can decide to skip those classes.

The bottom line is quite gloomy, Vivek contends (and will probably get worse in Europe). It seems that

"Intellectual diversity had become a threat to American corporations, universities, and other institutions."

But, I add, US is still better than anywhere else.

My Take Today

Corporate Power: A problem of supply or demand?

When I was reading the book, I always had this question in mind: OK, I follow your reasoning, but How did businesses become so powerful? Where did they get this power from?

Vivek never really addresses this question. In one passage, extremely briefly, he merely says that "capitalism tends to expand outside the economic sphere."

Thus his assumption is that corporations somehow demand this power to politics. Capitalism expands outside economics, intrudes the sphere of politics and takes power from it. Therefore the problem seems to be that there is too much capitalism within politics now.

What if we had the opposite problem instead?

There is too much politics within capitalism, actually. I would rather link the political power that businesses have acquired with a politics that is too powerful, too intrusive, “too big.”

In essence, big businesses have become so powerful because of the huge power that politics can channel. Politicians decide on so many issues and politics affects individuals’ life so much, that engaging in politics becomes a profitable business for capitalists, of course. If only life and decisions could be de-politicized, big businesses would be less likely to lobby politicians and advance their social justice agenda. If political power were never supplied the first time, it wouldn't be demanded by corporations. That is, if political decisions did not interfere – or have the power of interfering – in the economy, then businesses would never try to lobby politicians.

Corporate power has always been considered a problem of demand (for power) by capitalists to politicians instead of supply (of power) from politicians to capitalists.


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