For most of capitalism’s life, the parameters were well established. Morality was never supposed to absent itself from business activities because monstrosities like the perverse relationships between democracy-based corporate entities and evil regimes like communist China’s could surface, but on a historical level, politics and commercial activity were kept has separate. There was, figuratively speaking, a wall between private and public entities.
However, there has been an ideological, corporatist activism that started in the 1980s, but that has recently sprung, that threatens to strangle the free enterprise system, corrupt our republican form of government, and consequently, suppress the notions of a free society.
This is why Stephen R. Soukup’s book The Dictatorship of Woke Capital: How Political Correctness Captured Big Business (Encounter Books, 2021) is such an important read. Big business has become politicized to the point that its concrete curbing of free speech, conservative political thought, and religious practice has transformed it into a concurrent, unelected, absolutist government. Despite its relatively small volume, Soukup does a comprehensive job of laying out the intricacies behind the bizarre phenomenon of woke capitalism.
As Publisher and Vice President of The Political Forum, an independent research platform engaged in consulting services to the investment community, Soukup’s background has offered him an excellent insider prism from which to analyze and generate a conclusion. The book posits the theory that the anti-apartheid South Africa divestment campaign of the 1980s was the beginning of “shareholder activism”.
“For most of their history”, writes Soukup, “the American capital markets have been dominated almost exclusively by those with an explicitly business-related purpose for their involvement.” “That began to change pretty quickly in the late 1980s and early 1990s, however”, adds the author, “when it became clear to activists that they, too, could use the capital markets—only in their case, it was to advance political and social agendas that were “too important” to leave to the democratic process”.
Ideologues realized, according to The Dictatorship of Woke Capital’s premise, that structural alterations of the traditional business model, by way of its wholesale politicization, could impact the sociopolitical order from the commercial sidelines.
Soukup’s expertise in the investment world, undoubtedly, versed him well for the task. Investment management firms and exchange-traded funds are in a position, when they dominate enormous market shares of their respective sectors, to effectively monopolize policy courses. As the book demonstrates, a handful of these entities virtually exercise control over these nerve centers of economic activity. Ideological zealots that run these companies enjoy great power over decisions in the corporate boardrooms.
In addition to itemizing the sins of Big Tech, its methodology, and its gargantuan role in concocting the left’s political agenda, The Dictatorship of Woke Capital, does a superb job of offering an introduction to cultural Marxism (Neo-Marxism), the worldview underpinning of woke capital. György Lukács, Antonio Gramsci, and the German Marxists of the Frankfurt School were all meticulously laid out and properly credited with affording the woke activist businessman with the ideological poison from which to become intoxicated. This section alone is worth the read.
Soukup has written a magnificent book that is worth reading for those seeking answers to the perplexing questions regarding the aggressive support by big business for identarian socialism. For those that still believe that this is a contradiction, The Dictatorship of Woke Capital is a good place to start in the quest for truth and possible solutions.