A group of nearly 200 uber-wealthy American CEOs have signed a pledge that seemingly calls for them to henceforth center their businesses more-so on left-wing-styled “social justice” versus on delivering meaningful results to their shareholders.
Published Monday by Business Roundtable, a group of the nation’s top CEOs, the pledge is a revamped mission statement that appears to redefine the group’s purpose as a social one versus a business one. For instance, it speaks of “diversity” and “inclusion.”
In a section about plans to invest in their employees, the CEOs wrote, “This starts with compensating them fairly and providing important benefits. It also includes supporting them through training and education that help develop new skills for a rapidly changing world. We foster diversity and inclusion, dignity and respect.”
This contrasts sharply with the long-held beliefs that, one, employees should earn whatever the market dictates they deserve to earn; two, employees should be hired based on merit, not on their immutable characteristics; and three, a business should prioritize its bottom-line, not “social justice.”
Take a look at the pledge below, and take note of the signatures at the bottom:
Source: Business Roundtable
Signers of the pledge include the CEOs of Apple, Bank of America, Citigroup, Duke Energy, Exxon Mobil, Home Depot, IBM, Procter & Gamble, Raython and Walmart, among hundreds more.
“Supporting the communities in which we work. We respect the people in our communities and protect the environment by embracing sustainable practices across our businesses,” the pledge continues.
The pursuit of left-wing styled “social justice” and environmentalism in particular by America’s wealthiest corporations isn’t actually new.
After President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Agreement, which was widely criticized by conservatives for being a pointless document that would hamper the U.S. economy while doing nothing stop “climate change,” many of these same CEOs signed a “We Are Still In” pledge vowing to remain committed to the agreement’s arguably “useless” goals.
“The Trump administration’s announcement undermines a key pillar in the fight against climate change and damages the world’s ability to avoid the most dangerous and costly effects of climate change,” they, along with thousands of other so-called “leaders” across business, academia, cultural institutions, etc., wrote in 2017. “Importantly, it is also out of step with what is happening in the United States.”
“In the absence of leadership from Washington, states, cities, counties, tribes, colleges and universities, healthcare organizations, businesses and investors, representing a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy will pursue ambitious climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions.”
There are many “We’s” in #WeAreStillIn. https://t.co/P27ozc8h0p#COP23 pic.twitter.com/nn0GbpTPVO
— We Are Still In (@wearestillin) November 10, 2017
Yet a study conducted last year found that barely any of the nations still in the Paris Agreement had actually cut their emissions. Meanwhile, the United States, one of a handful of nations that rejected the agreement, “reduced its carbon emissions by 0.5 percent, the most of all major countries,” as reported at the time by The Washington Times.
This wasn’t shocking news to conservatives because they’ve always been skeptical of left-wing-styled campaigns for “social justice,” “sustainability” and other Utopian concepts. But to the left-wing CEOs who signed the meaningless “We Are Still In” pledge, it was probably the shock of a lifetime.
Dovetailing back to their latest pledge, a number of the signers issued statements that, oddly enough, perfectly echoed factually incorrect Democrat talking points.
“The American dream is alive, but fraying,” Jamie Dimon, the chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and chairman of Business Roundtable, said.
“Major employers are investing in their workers and communities because they know it is the only way to be successful over the long term,” he added. “These modernized principles reflect the business community’s unwavering commitment to continue to push for an economy that serves all Americans.”
The American dream appears to still be alive for those who work hard. Likewise, the economy seems to be serving all Americans, as evidenced by record low unemployment rates and improved wages.
Since the pledge’s release Monday, it’s been hit with criticism from both the left and the right.
According to the left, if the signers of the pledge are serious, then they need to show as much by throwing their “weight behind legislative proposals that would put the teeth of the law into these boardroom platitudes.” In other words, they need to start openly supporting radical far-left proposals like the Green New Deal, Medicare-for-All and perhaps even Universal Basic Income:
“If the Business Roundtable is serious, it should tomorrow throw its weight behind legislative proposals that would put the teeth of the law into these boardroom platitudes.”
Me to @dgelles, who let me bring up the rear of the @nytimes piece. https://t.co/5NtRltxOKo pic.twitter.com/Sck4nIKd07
— Anand Giridharadas (@AnandWrites) August 19, 2019
But according to the right, the whole pledge is nothing but an endorsement of socialism:
The Business Roundtable previously focused on maximizing shareholder value. Now the CEOs ask companies to remember their obligation to all of society. https://t.co/8Pkcx2M4PY
— Matt Holiday ?? (@matt4etc) August 20, 2019
Who’s right? While it’s on every individual to decide for himself or herself, it’s clear which side Nobel Memorial Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman would have taken.
“The businessmen believe that they are defending free enterprise when they declaim that business is not concerned ‘merely’ with profit but also with promoting desirable ‘social’ ends; that business has a ‘social conscience’ and takes seriously its responsibilities for providing employment, eliminating discrimination, avoiding pollution and whatever else may be the catchwords of the contemporary crop of reformers,” he wrote in an article 49 years ago.
“In fact they are—or would be if they or anyone else took them seriously—preaching pure and unadulterated socialism.”
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