Woke, Inc. | Vivek Ramaswamy

Summary of: Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam
By: Vivek Ramaswamy


In an era where being ‘woke’ often means aligning oneself with progressive causes, author Vivek Ramaswamy cautions us to stay watchful of corporate co-optation in his book ‘Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam’. This book summary delves into how corporations are leveraging societal concerns for their advantage, hiding beneath a veil of virtue while pursuing their own selfish motives. From stakeholder capitalism’s deviation from fundamental democratic principles to the concerning rise of Big Tech’s censorship, this summary provides an overview of the delicate state of corporate involvement in America’s essential values.

The Debasement of Social Values

The term “woke” refers to being hyperaware of power structures and injustices based on race, sex, or gender. However, corporations have co-opted this concept as a smokescreen to profit off of social values and dictate them to the rest of society. This practice, known as woke capitalism, has become prevalent in recent years. Companies use their supposed support for diversity and other social causes to distract from negative practices. For example, Goldman Sachs used its pro-diversity stance to divert attention from a billion-dollar bribery scandal. This debasement of social values ultimately harms American democracy.

Stakeholder Capitalism and the Distortion of American Democracy

The rise of stakeholder capitalism has led to companies being responsible for social as well as shareholder welfare. The focus is no longer just on generating value for shareholders, but also on considering the impact of the business on stakeholders like customers, suppliers, employees, and communities. However, this has led to companies playing an active role in political matters, which is a moral judgment rather than a business one. When companies use their corporate power to push their views, they essentially dictate people’s values. This distorts American democracy and undermines the democratic process. It’s acceptable for CEOs to speak up about their values as private citizens, but not to blast those messages out using their corporate megaphones and money.

Tackling Pharma’s Price Gouging

In 2015, Clinton and Trump both expressed concerns about the pharmaceutical industry’s price gouging. In response, companies like Allergan pledged to limit price increases to once a year and by single digits. However, their actions were mainly aimed at avoiding government regulators and potentially stricter price restrictions. The key message is that companies should face repercussions for their conflicts of interest. To tackle corporate misbehavior, the scope of the business judgment rule (BJR) – a special legal privilege for corporations – could be restricted. This would make CEOs and directors accountable for their decisions and prevent them from using corporate resources to support their personal interests.

The Religion of Wokeness

Emmanuel Cafferty was fired for making a hand gesture that he thought was an “OK” sign. Little did he know, it was a symbol used by the alt-right to represent “white power.” This incident sheds light on the larger issue of wokeness becoming a religion that discriminates against those who don’t subscribe to it. The author argues that companies pushing woke beliefs on employees could fall under religious discrimination, a violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The solution, according to the author, is to recognize wokeness as a religion and abide by the rules that apply to all other religions.

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