John R. Smith: The Three Horsemen of the Business Apocalypse
It all started when the political left birthed “political correctness.” As it affected the business sector of society, political correctness sought to impose a social or financial penalty on companies that conducted business that the leftists didn’t like. It required that businesses adopt strategies, language, and behavior that are considered “inclusive”; businesses must exclude investing in and becoming involved in certain investments and industries that, in the opinion of self-designated “social justice warriors,” might harm individuals. It was demanded that businesses should ignore the perils of pet leftist crusades such as global government and global warming. It would also eliminate investing in politically “incorrect” companies.
Before long, political correctness morphed into the concept of ESG—a prescribed regimen of Environmental, Social, and Governance issues imposed on businesses of all types. In doing so, the left ignored the truism that what may or may not be best for business or society becomes a matter of personal opinion. Then, ESG was joined by its cousin DEI- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion- to form a toxic plague that threatened to sweep the business world into compliance. Those looking to divide Americans on race and gender issues never seem to give up.
DEI proposes to promote a more “just” and inclusive workplace or society. It does so by elevating victimhood over achievement and merit. Equity, or equal outcomes, is pushed over excellence. The problem is that what DEI affects, it destroys. DEI too often places unqualified people into employment slots beyond their capabilities, pushing competent, credible people out of consideration.
You can think of political correctness, ESG, and DEI as the Three Horsemen of the Business Apocalypse. There is no doubt that ESG and DEI are anti-business movements. ESG makes company executives “liable for corporate irresponsibility” and criminally liable for failed business decisions. It rejects the concept of Shareholder Value and places the interests of other stakeholders, primarily those who embrace a leftist view of the world on climate change, unions, Occupy Wall Street, BLM, and MeToo, over the interests of shareholders. But when shareholder value is pursued, company executives can concentrate on the corporation’s business and well-being and fulfill their fiduciary obligations to shareholders.
DEI also seeks to slot Americans into two classifications: oppressed and oppressor and the decision is based on group identity, not behavior. People of color are deemed to be the oppressed. DEI promotes the notion that society is systemically racist and creates division that keeps people at each other’s throats. This is especially troubling when applied to the workplace and when pressure is applied to executives to make decisions on that basis. According to DEI, equal outcomes are far more critical than equal opportunities; this means that the best-qualified person for an important job must be discriminated against to ensure that a person of color is selected, whether qualified or not.
The good news is that recognizing DEI’s dangers, Florida legislators have abolished DEI in our state universities and passed laws prohibiting ESG standards when investing government money—Ditto for other states like Texas and Kansas. As a general fact, more and more segments of society see the negatives of ESG and DEI as systemic threats and how they hurt the effectiveness of decisions by business and education executives. Florida’s new laws apply to DEI and limit some harmful aspects of the ESG movement. The law prohibits financial institutions from using a “social credit score” when offering services. Such businesses can’t “deny or cancel services to people based on political opinions (or) affiliation.” When money managers pursue ESG objectives that investors have not agreed to, “coerced ESG investing is a form of theft.” When asset managers and business executives are told they must make decisions based on radical political agendas, negative results happen.
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