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The phoney ethics of ESG Davos Man has a new fixation

Can BlackRock save the planet? Credit: Beekash Roopun/L'Express Maurice/AFP/Getty Images

Can BlackRock save the planet? Credit: Beekash Roopun/L'Express Maurice/AFP/Getty Images


January 24, 2023   6 mins

This year at Davos, three letters were on the tip of every person’s tongue, perhaps the only acronym uttered with equal joy by Greta Thunberg and billionaire and BlackRock CEO, Larry Fink. They are ESG, or “Environment, Social and Governance”. While last year, the world was gripped by diktat of Covid-related public health policy, today ESG has eclipsed virtually all other policy frameworks, stirring enormous contention in its wake.

As with many such super-policies — including the now-moribund “globalisation” for whom Davos 2023 served as a five-day, open-casket wake — answers regarding ESG have been handed down from on high before those most affected by it ever asked the questions. These are the basics: what is ESG? What does it mean for us? And, guided as it is by the very visible hand of the Davos elite, where is it taking us?

The Environment, Social and Governance movement grew out of a late 20th-century approach that used capital as a means of fighting for social and moral causes. The boycott of Apartheid South Africa is frequently cited as a landmark case, with businesses pulling out of the country in response to the regime’s brutal and racist policies — a progenitor of today’s approach to Russia. But the watershed moment for ESG came in 2004, when a UN initiative called the Global Compact released a report called “Who Cares Wins”. Issued by some of the world’s biggest (and most financially aggressive) banks, the report laid the groundwork for how the financial world can “integrate environmental, social and governance issues in analysis, asset management and securities brokerage”.

Since then, the global capitalist ecosystem has been able to “integrate” ESG issues to an extent the movement’s founders could have only dreamed of. Today, ESG is more a pledge of corporate legitimacy than it is a framework of ethical guideposts, with some of the world’s most corrupting, polluting, and abusive firms taking up the green standard of the movement with an alacrity that’s at times unnerving.

Today, companies from tobacco giant Philip Morris to BP — whose Deepwater Horizon platform dumped 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico — don’t just tout their ESG bona fides but have devoted millions in crucial resources to the endeavour, building entire corporate departments to purpose. Even Gazprom, the Russian oil giant that feeds Putin’s coffers with petro-dollars, puts out an impressive “Sustainability Report” that notes the company’s commitment to ESG. “As a globally significant energy company, Gazprom always conducts business in a considered and responsible way,” Gazprom chairman Alexey Miller writes in the report’s introductory message.

This is nowhere more apparent than at the World Economic Forum’s annual confab at Davos, which I attended this year not as a member of the WEF, but as the guest of a New York-based think tank. At Davos, even small fry like me could hear the watery murmurings of ESG coursing through the currents of power. It was everywhere — in every break-out meeting, every wine-drunk dinner, and each trudge through the snow-lined streets towards the next event.

Like many global ideologies, ESG bears a kernel of truth. After witnessing the predations of successive financial scandals, the exploitation of vulnerable people in sweatshops and mines, and the wholesale destruction of natural environments, it’s hard to argue that capitalism does not need a broader system of checks and balances to reign in humanity’s perennial tendency towards excess. This idea became excruciatingly apparent during the early 2000s, when neoliberalism gallivanted around the world, exploiting labour, sucking up resources, and generally sowing economic chaos, including in Russia whose economy was “privatised” by WEF headliners and darlings of the global ESG fan club, such as former US Treasury secretary Larry Summers. Out of the ashes of neoliberalism’s “naughty Noughties” came a new impetus for capitalism to clean up its act.

But the core question swirling around ESG is who, exactly, is supposed to do the scrubbing? The “Who Cares Wins” report was published in 2004, just months after the “Oil-For-Food” scandal struck the UN, which saw billions in humanitarian funding to Iraq siphoned off, using the UN as the (very much reusable) financial straw. The scandal was so gargantuan it drew in the UN Secretary General, founder of the UN Global Compact, the founding bureaucracy of the ESG movement. On the social front, the UN also saw horrific allegations that some of its peacekeepers were running child sex and sex trafficking rings in the very places they were supposed to protect.

In this sense, ESG might appear to be more of a feint; public relations wrought to its utmost. But even when not tied to reputation-tainting financial scandal, it’s precisely the involvement of supra-democratic global organisations such as the UN and WEF — which are accountable to no electoral constituency — that puts people on edge. For those who don’t get to spend $250,000 on a five-day-long conference, ESG can seem like a network of interlocking policies that are never put to a democratic vote.

And the corporate and governmental advocates of ESG appear to be optimising it to startling effect. Much the same way that organised global power was able to sidestep Apartheid South Africa’s electorate by degrading the country through economic might until the government became untenable, the same international elite is learning to do the same on the level of the individual. Thus, when Canada’s truckers protested in response to vaccine mandates, it didn’t take legal action to break up the protest, but concerted economic action that simply made the lives of the truckers untenable.

While the trucker protests seemed to align on the axis of nationalism vs globalism, the response — including shutting down some of their bank accounts — was a play from the ESG handbook. As the issue of vaccine mandates arose in the US, the gaze of enforcement turned from government to corporate actors. Michael Peregrine, a corporate lawyer who focuses on governance wrote in Forbes that: “if the government, including state and local leadership, is unable or unwilling to adopt such measures [as vaccine mandates], the burden may fall on private enterprise to step in, as a matter of social responsibility.”

While there is a heavy critique of market capitalism associated with ESG, there is also a faint echo of its core tenet: that capital should reign supreme. The difference is that while for neoliberalism, capital was the ends to achieve at the cost of (almost) any means, for ESG, capital is the means that’s justified by a moralistic end. In this sense, it’s the later term of the moniker, “governance”, that is the most salient. In the ESG setting, governance is about how companies are run. The notion here is simple: Enron — an American energy company that practiced only a thinly-veiled cronyism as it committed fraud and ultimately failed — is the definition of bad; BlackRock — driving profit as it pledges to invest only in causes accredited by ESG — is good.

Such a Manichaean division, however, obscures the fact that, however exquisite the window dressing, corporations cannot play the role of ethicist, priest or prophet, and the more they try the more we risk corrupting those essential roles. Not just that, but it also calls into question the judgment of companies entrusted with a fiduciary responsibility to their stakeholders, including employees. “The contradictions and apparent hypocrisy of BlackRock’s actions have
 politicised the ESG debate,” wrote Bluebell Capital Partners, a BlackRock activist investor, in a scathing letter. “The reputational damage of being dragged into this politically charged debate, in our view, is very significant because it calls into question the independence of BlackRock as an asset manager.” Bluebell noted that despite its rhetorical largesse, BlackRock still makes lots of money from fossil fuels, raising legitimate questions about the “G”, governance, at work in the world’s most vocal corporate supporter of ESG.

On a global scale, the term speaks much more to what many feel ESG has as its true objective. As the WEF helpfully puts it: “Global governance is a means to manage issues that cut across national borders — whether it is a war, a pandemic, a financial crisis, climate change, or a geo-economic dispute.” In this sense, ESG has rapidly filled the void left by the death of globalisation. If the latter was an imperative to spread capitalism laterally around the world, ESG can be seen as an effort to vertically consolidate the power accumulated by globalism, which is now available — for a price, that is — to weigh in on our most pressing ethical, moral, and epistemological concerns. It’s capitalism not in your life, but as your life: Ask not what your global governance movement can do for you, but what you can do for your global governance movement.

There is little doubt that ESG is a tool of the elite. It’s nominally aimed at constraining the excesses of globalised capitalism, but in effect it’s just as much a means of entrenching those excesses, codifying them in a moralistic power structure. After all, who gets to decide what makes for good environment, social and governance practices?

What’s certain is that ESG is here to stay. At Davos this year, perhaps the second-most discussed subject was the great wealth transfer taking place around the world — that is, money moving from the previous generation of families whose slogan was “preserve the capital” to the current generation of the ultra-wealthy whose priority is “preserve the planet”. For this new generation of wealth, as well as for the decision-makers whose careers and policies they fund, and the activists whose messages they carry, ESG is not a passing trend but very much the moral engine driving the rise of a new approach to power and economics. What it means for the rest of us, however, is decidedly less certain.


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Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

ESG is the ultimate Davos dystopian nightmare. A bunch of unelected, unaccountable oligarchs setting an agenda that is foisted on the rest of the world.

The most privileged people in the history of humanity are driving around in their EVs with smug smiles on their faces, while women and children mine rare minerals in the Congo, suffering depravity we could never imagine in the west.

More than ever, we need courageous, thoughtful political leaders to stand up to these thugs. We’re seeing a bit of that with some governors in the US, but I’m not optimistic. I think they are outnumbered by the Justin Trudeau’s of the world.

For the love of God, we have to stop voting for stooges like Trudeau, but what can you do when your choice is Sunak or Starmer?

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim Veenbaas
Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Exactly! It is easy to dismiss Corporate ESG as a PR feint to make capitalism look less scary. It in sime ways is as old as Time. Remember the plush monasteries established by murderous Macbethy kings and blood soaked nobles to take care of their souls in the afterlife. But there is a problem. In our crazed cultural and political sphere, antipathy to fossil fuels, nukes and capitalism itself are GENUINE if irrational hatreds. The Equality/Anti Discrimination Cult which now controls the State sees wealth creation itself as a dirty dangerous hateful discriminatory practice. It is killing polar bears and meaning millennial children believe they will die in a global inferno before they are 30. The BBC preaches all this. The shadow of Pol Pot hangs over us. And our meek ignorant detached from reality knee bending elite are bowing to it all. You cannot put this derangement back in the box.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Remove the Elite, start with elected representatives. Councillors in May, then the 600 or so MPs in the Commons etc.

D Glover
D Glover
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Bailey

You can only remove them if you have an alternative to vote for. Who do you think is going to replace them? Keir Starmer was at Davos, too.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  D Glover

We cannot replace them.l!!!! Governance in the UK has passed from the puppety formally elected Executive (a hundred odd MPs) to a vast unelected permanent Technocracy numbering hundreds of thousands! The whole point of the Blair/EU political revolution was to shatter and weaken the powers of rival national Parliaments. The Executive do not actually hold the levers of power anymore. This is why the Tories are so hopelessly listless and unable to fix anything within our collapsing Leftist wfh public sector. Illegal migration? Powerless. NHS collapse? Not their job. Inflation control? Bailey’s job. We are no different now from East Europe in 80s. They had the Communist Party controlling the State top to bottom. We have the mirage of democracy. But the Blob rule, their sick values (identitarianism Net Zero Lockdown) promoted via a Newspeak BBC and Humsn Rights legal activism. At least the East Europeans knew their System was corrupted and a lie. Here we still have not grasped the full horror of what has been done.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I fear you’ve hit the nail on the head.

I wonder if my age (57) means I worry overly about these charges or, worse, my fears are justified

Graham Thorpe
Graham Thorpe
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Walter, I often find myself agreeing completely with your summaries of the questions. But do you have even a suggestion about any of the answers?

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I fear you’ve hit the nail on the head.

I wonder if my age (57) means I worry overly about these charges or, worse, my fears are justified

Graham Thorpe
Graham Thorpe
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Walter, I often find myself agreeing completely with your summaries of the questions. But do you have even a suggestion about any of the answers?

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  D Glover

We cannot replace them.l!!!! Governance in the UK has passed from the puppety formally elected Executive (a hundred odd MPs) to a vast unelected permanent Technocracy numbering hundreds of thousands! The whole point of the Blair/EU political revolution was to shatter and weaken the powers of rival national Parliaments. The Executive do not actually hold the levers of power anymore. This is why the Tories are so hopelessly listless and unable to fix anything within our collapsing Leftist wfh public sector. Illegal migration? Powerless. NHS collapse? Not their job. Inflation control? Bailey’s job. We are no different now from East Europe in 80s. They had the Communist Party controlling the State top to bottom. We have the mirage of democracy. But the Blob rule, their sick values (identitarianism Net Zero Lockdown) promoted via a Newspeak BBC and Humsn Rights legal activism. At least the East Europeans knew their System was corrupted and a lie. Here we still have not grasped the full horror of what has been done.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Bailey

And replace them with what exactly?

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Bailey

Right yeah. Cos that will stop the multi corps how? If anything you would create a vacuum they are better funded to fill than anyone. What you gunna do to replace global commodity markets? Anyone that wants to ‘remove the elite’ fundamentally is calling to take on capitalism. You a communist then? Lmao.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

There will always be an elite. We need to replace the existing elite with an elite that actually favours free markets and champions meritocracy.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Yeah OK. Or we could not get obsessed with the ‘elusive elite’ and talk about why the un is so corrupt. This is where the problems are. Where these institutions come together and cross over. They have got too big and rife with corruption.
Where are you planning to pull this new ‘elite’ from. Who gets to say which ‘elites’ are OK and which aren’t. Let’s come back down to earth please people. Either you have people with wealth ‘elites’ or you don’t. If you don’t want ‘elites’ accruing wealth you can’t have capitalism in its current form.

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Agreed. I use the word elite way too much. Convenience I guess. And it makes it sound like I hate elites. I don’t. We need elites. Elites will be present all the time. We just need to replace them with more effective elites.

Right now, the leaders controlling almost all the institutions – regime media, academia, big tech, the bureaucracy, finance, corporations – subscribe to the same progressive ideology. There’s no diversity of opinion.

How do you replace them? No idea. But the first step is exposing their irrational ideas, confronting them and challenging them to be better.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Right. Try and bear with me. This isn’t about defending elites.
The commenter I replied to said ‘remove the elite’. I’m saying think about what you are saying. If you believe (as you said the other day) in free markets and capitalism, personal freedom, democracy, you can’t advocate removing ‘elites’ that don’t suit your politics in such a broad and sweeping way. You cannot have it both ways. Either you want rid or you don’t. You can’t be selective without a selection process.
I am saying the problem is the UN itself. The problem is we have global institutions where ANYONE regardless of their idealogy can push an agenda. Where the power to change policy actually lies. This is what we should be talking about reforming, or disbanding if necessary, the institutions that allow this to happen, this is where the corruption is.
You want to hype people up into ‘removing the elites’ that’s fine. But try and bear in mind what you’re actually calling for. That actually compiling lists of ‘progressive elites’ to be removed is actually very much against the principles of (British anyway) democracy and individual freedom.
Maybe we could have a sensible conversation about reforming or disbanding the un/ WEF etc. instead. Which actually would be upholding the principles of democracy and individual freedom, shifting power away from the unaccountable institutions setting these policies…..

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

When I say remove the elites, I mean let’s start electing leaders who put the will of their constituents ahead of other interests, who are willing to reject the narrative on something like the trans agenda and represent the will of the people.

The UN is a joke. Everything it touches turns to poison. A lot of those international organizations are the same way, like FIFA. I don’t think we understand how deep corruption runs in some of the third world countries. It’s part of the culture. If two thirds of the UN assembly comes from deeply corrupt cultures, well you can expect that at the UN as well.

Su Mac
Su Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Agree. The UN is really just an American controlled enforcer for their “rules based order” – they are the ones who have corrupted the UN more than anyone. They don’t even use the actual, solid UN rules! Look at calls for investigation of accused “war crimes” in Ukraine. Ignored!
The countries not aligned with the USA agenda have seen through the UN long ago.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago
Reply to  Su Mac

Actually, The UN is not terribly popular or respected in much of the US.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago
Reply to  Su Mac

Actually, The UN is not terribly popular or respected in much of the US.

Julian Williams
Julian Williams
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Corruption isn’t just a developing world problem – it’s rife here in the UK, too. We urgently need the establishment of an independent (from government) commission against corruption, with full investigative and prosecution powers.

Su Mac
Su Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Agree. The UN is really just an American controlled enforcer for their “rules based order” – they are the ones who have corrupted the UN more than anyone. They don’t even use the actual, solid UN rules! Look at calls for investigation of accused “war crimes” in Ukraine. Ignored!
The countries not aligned with the USA agenda have seen through the UN long ago.

Julian Williams
Julian Williams
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Corruption isn’t just a developing world problem – it’s rife here in the UK, too. We urgently need the establishment of an independent (from government) commission against corruption, with full investigative and prosecution powers.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

When I say remove the elites, I mean let’s start electing leaders who put the will of their constituents ahead of other interests, who are willing to reject the narrative on something like the trans agenda and represent the will of the people.

The UN is a joke. Everything it touches turns to poison. A lot of those international organizations are the same way, like FIFA. I don’t think we understand how deep corruption runs in some of the third world countries. It’s part of the culture. If two thirds of the UN assembly comes from deeply corrupt cultures, well you can expect that at the UN as well.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Right. Try and bear with me. This isn’t about defending elites.
The commenter I replied to said ‘remove the elite’. I’m saying think about what you are saying. If you believe (as you said the other day) in free markets and capitalism, personal freedom, democracy, you can’t advocate removing ‘elites’ that don’t suit your politics in such a broad and sweeping way. You cannot have it both ways. Either you want rid or you don’t. You can’t be selective without a selection process.
I am saying the problem is the UN itself. The problem is we have global institutions where ANYONE regardless of their idealogy can push an agenda. Where the power to change policy actually lies. This is what we should be talking about reforming, or disbanding if necessary, the institutions that allow this to happen, this is where the corruption is.
You want to hype people up into ‘removing the elites’ that’s fine. But try and bear in mind what you’re actually calling for. That actually compiling lists of ‘progressive elites’ to be removed is actually very much against the principles of (British anyway) democracy and individual freedom.
Maybe we could have a sensible conversation about reforming or disbanding the un/ WEF etc. instead. Which actually would be upholding the principles of democracy and individual freedom, shifting power away from the unaccountable institutions setting these policies…..

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Agreed. I use the word elite way too much. Convenience I guess. And it makes it sound like I hate elites. I don’t. We need elites. Elites will be present all the time. We just need to replace them with more effective elites.

Right now, the leaders controlling almost all the institutions – regime media, academia, big tech, the bureaucracy, finance, corporations – subscribe to the same progressive ideology. There’s no diversity of opinion.

How do you replace them? No idea. But the first step is exposing their irrational ideas, confronting them and challenging them to be better.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Yeah OK. Or we could not get obsessed with the ‘elusive elite’ and talk about why the un is so corrupt. This is where the problems are. Where these institutions come together and cross over. They have got too big and rife with corruption.
Where are you planning to pull this new ‘elite’ from. Who gets to say which ‘elites’ are OK and which aren’t. Let’s come back down to earth please people. Either you have people with wealth ‘elites’ or you don’t. If you don’t want ‘elites’ accruing wealth you can’t have capitalism in its current form.

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

There will always be an elite. We need to replace the existing elite with an elite that actually favours free markets and champions meritocracy.

D Glover
D Glover
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Bailey

You can only remove them if you have an alternative to vote for. Who do you think is going to replace them? Keir Starmer was at Davos, too.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Bailey

And replace them with what exactly?

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Bailey

Right yeah. Cos that will stop the multi corps how? If anything you would create a vacuum they are better funded to fill than anyone. What you gunna do to replace global commodity markets? Anyone that wants to ‘remove the elite’ fundamentally is calling to take on capitalism. You a communist then? Lmao.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Polar Bears? Try another species, Polar Bears are breeding even more. I’m with you with some species but Polar Bears. Think again.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

I was taking the mickey Doug!!!. I dont believe our kids will incinerate in 20 years either. Scientists are another yet another once trusted group who have surrendered to groupthink and prosper via catastrophism.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Population up about 12-15% over the last decade. Less ice means better plankton growth, that being the primary food source in the PB ecology.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

I was taking the mickey Doug!!!. I dont believe our kids will incinerate in 20 years either. Scientists are another yet another once trusted group who have surrendered to groupthink and prosper via catastrophism.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Population up about 12-15% over the last decade. Less ice means better plankton growth, that being the primary food source in the PB ecology.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Remove the Elite, start with elected representatives. Councillors in May, then the 600 or so MPs in the Commons etc.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Polar Bears? Try another species, Polar Bears are breeding even more. I’m with you with some species but Polar Bears. Think again.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Setting an agenda that is basically filling their own bank accounts, whilst they pretend to care for the planet.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I don’t think you should look to Starmer as a defender of national interest against the domination of the global elites. Here he is at the WEF last week:

Westminster is too constrained
 Once you get out of Westminster, whether it’s Davos or anywhere else, you actually engage with people that you can see working with in the future. Westminster is just a tribal shouting place.

Steven Farrall
Steven Farrall
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Can you find the link to the clip where he says that? I saw and lost the link. It deserves the widest possible audience.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Steven Farrall

I haven’t the clip but i read it in The Spectator

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Steven Farrall

I haven’t the clip but i read it in The Spectator

Steven Farrall
Steven Farrall
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Can you find the link to the clip where he says that? I saw and lost the link. It deserves the widest possible audience.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Vote Reform Party

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The world needs Elon Musk to run for President.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I’m fortunate to be living in Florida, where Governor DeSantis is putting a stop to this. He is a model not just for other governors, but all those in leadership positions – public or private – around the world. I’m sorry about the quality of your choices for PM, but surely you can take more control locally? Here in the US, it’s important to know who’s on the school board (and get rid of those who try to hide information from parents), show up to vote for a sensible town council, mayor, police chief, judge, state attorney, etc. An active local community can have a very big effect on state, regional, and national government – just look at Loudoun County, Virginia. Their out-of-control school board was national news and handed gubernatorial victory to Glenn Youngkin. I’m afraid my knowledge of electoral politics in Great Britain consists of Baldrick becoming a lord, so perhaps I’m off the mark here. But it really does seem that people everywhere need to exercise the power they have instead of ceding it to these villains stroking each other’s egos.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

Unfortunately, turnout in elections in the UK for Police and Crime Commissioners is around 20%. When first introduced there were plenty of successful independent candidates but the main political parties have now taken over what should be apolitical, local administration.

John Hilton
John Hilton
1 year ago

That actually makes it perfect for his suggestion. Activists can easily take control when voting is low, just by getting their supporters out – I suspect that many local police commissions are leftist.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

And that’s the big problem. In my former New England town voting for, say, public school teacher salaries was often held during summer vacation when teachers were on vacation but the rest of us were working. They and their families (many on school boards, town councils, city government, etc.) got out in force to vote for pay raises (meaning higher property taxes), and even if they lost, they’d schedule another vote a few months later during another school vacation. In other words, no decision was fever final; they simply held votes until the got the results they wanted. It was one of the many reasons we left a formerly sane state.
If only 20% turn out for elections, the voters have, in effect, voted in absentia, and they have no business complaining.

Last edited 1 year ago by Allison Barrows
John Hilton
John Hilton
1 year ago

That actually makes it perfect for his suggestion. Activists can easily take control when voting is low, just by getting their supporters out – I suspect that many local police commissions are leftist.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

And that’s the big problem. In my former New England town voting for, say, public school teacher salaries was often held during summer vacation when teachers were on vacation but the rest of us were working. They and their families (many on school boards, town councils, city government, etc.) got out in force to vote for pay raises (meaning higher property taxes), and even if they lost, they’d schedule another vote a few months later during another school vacation. In other words, no decision was fever final; they simply held votes until the got the results they wanted. It was one of the many reasons we left a formerly sane state.
If only 20% turn out for elections, the voters have, in effect, voted in absentia, and they have no business complaining.

Last edited 1 year ago by Allison Barrows
Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

Unfortunately, turnout in elections in the UK for Police and Crime Commissioners is around 20%. When first introduced there were plenty of successful independent candidates but the main political parties have now taken over what should be apolitical, local administration.

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

At least one of the monsters, Ardern in New Zealand, has chosen the exit door (or was pushed?). But you’re right, there are plenty more where she came from; a veritable infestation.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Exactly! It is easy to dismiss Corporate ESG as a PR feint to make capitalism look less scary. It in sime ways is as old as Time. Remember the plush monasteries established by murderous Macbethy kings and blood soaked nobles to take care of their souls in the afterlife. But there is a problem. In our crazed cultural and political sphere, antipathy to fossil fuels, nukes and capitalism itself are GENUINE if irrational hatreds. The Equality/Anti Discrimination Cult which now controls the State sees wealth creation itself as a dirty dangerous hateful discriminatory practice. It is killing polar bears and meaning millennial children believe they will die in a global inferno before they are 30. The BBC preaches all this. The shadow of Pol Pot hangs over us. And our meek ignorant detached from reality knee bending elite are bowing to it all. You cannot put this derangement back in the box.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Setting an agenda that is basically filling their own bank accounts, whilst they pretend to care for the planet.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I don’t think you should look to Starmer as a defender of national interest against the domination of the global elites. Here he is at the WEF last week:

Westminster is too constrained
 Once you get out of Westminster, whether it’s Davos or anywhere else, you actually engage with people that you can see working with in the future. Westminster is just a tribal shouting place.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Vote Reform Party

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The world needs Elon Musk to run for President.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I’m fortunate to be living in Florida, where Governor DeSantis is putting a stop to this. He is a model not just for other governors, but all those in leadership positions – public or private – around the world. I’m sorry about the quality of your choices for PM, but surely you can take more control locally? Here in the US, it’s important to know who’s on the school board (and get rid of those who try to hide information from parents), show up to vote for a sensible town council, mayor, police chief, judge, state attorney, etc. An active local community can have a very big effect on state, regional, and national government – just look at Loudoun County, Virginia. Their out-of-control school board was national news and handed gubernatorial victory to Glenn Youngkin. I’m afraid my knowledge of electoral politics in Great Britain consists of Baldrick becoming a lord, so perhaps I’m off the mark here. But it really does seem that people everywhere need to exercise the power they have instead of ceding it to these villains stroking each other’s egos.

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

At least one of the monsters, Ardern in New Zealand, has chosen the exit door (or was pushed?). But you’re right, there are plenty more where she came from; a veritable infestation.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

ESG is the ultimate Davos dystopian nightmare. A bunch of unelected, unaccountable oligarchs setting an agenda that is foisted on the rest of the world.

The most privileged people in the history of humanity are driving around in their EVs with smug smiles on their faces, while women and children mine rare minerals in the Congo, suffering depravity we could never imagine in the west.

More than ever, we need courageous, thoughtful political leaders to stand up to these thugs. We’re seeing a bit of that with some governors in the US, but I’m not optimistic. I think they are outnumbered by the Justin Trudeau’s of the world.

For the love of God, we have to stop voting for stooges like Trudeau, but what can you do when your choice is Sunak or Starmer?

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

It’s hard not to despair for the future when you read an analysis like this, or when you discover trans activists are demanding that Spotify take down “Natural Women” by Aretha Franklin, or you find out the kids who terrorized Atlanta the other night have been raised with opulent wealth and privilege.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Or that the Minority Whip in the Us Congress’ son-now-daughter was just arrested in Boston, MA for defacing public property and hitting a police officer
mental illness seems to be pervasive in the children of liberal elites. Why is that?

Last edited 1 year ago by Cathy Carron
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

I’ve almost lost hope of trying to figure out what’s happening here – other than the decline and fall of the west.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Yeah me too. Maybe that’s closer. Read this following the gas business, people have been bailing esg:

For the first time in more than a decade, 2022 will see the first annual ESG fund outflows as volatile financial markets and overperforming energy markets took the shine out of environmental, social, and governance issues.

– Following years of net inflows, investors have withdrawn a net 13.2 billion this year so far according to Reuters, with total net assets managed in ESG funds down 29% ytd.

– Whilst non-ESG funds have also witnessed massive withdrawals to the extent of 420 billion in Jan-Nov 2022, this represents only a 21% drop in net assets, outperforming ESG funds for the first time in five years.

– Global equity issuance in the ESG has more than halved in 2022 to date, coming in at 21.9 billion, i.e. even lower than readings from the pandemic-ridden 2020.

Source: https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/How-Europes-Natural-Gas-Price-Cap-Could-Backfire.html

Looks like esgs are becoming less attractive at least. Maybe that’s a glimmer of hope.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

This is good news. Maybe the markets do figure it out. By their very nature, ESG funds can’t outperform any other fund.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Maybe esgs were just another big rinse and now they are taking the money and running…..

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Maybe esgs were just another big rinse and now they are taking the money and running…..

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

This is good news. Maybe the markets do figure it out. By their very nature, ESG funds can’t outperform any other fund.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Yeah me too. Maybe that’s closer. Read this following the gas business, people have been bailing esg:

For the first time in more than a decade, 2022 will see the first annual ESG fund outflows as volatile financial markets and overperforming energy markets took the shine out of environmental, social, and governance issues.

– Following years of net inflows, investors have withdrawn a net 13.2 billion this year so far according to Reuters, with total net assets managed in ESG funds down 29% ytd.

– Whilst non-ESG funds have also witnessed massive withdrawals to the extent of 420 billion in Jan-Nov 2022, this represents only a 21% drop in net assets, outperforming ESG funds for the first time in five years.

– Global equity issuance in the ESG has more than halved in 2022 to date, coming in at 21.9 billion, i.e. even lower than readings from the pandemic-ridden 2020.

Source: https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/How-Europes-Natural-Gas-Price-Cap-Could-Backfire.html

Looks like esgs are becoming less attractive at least. Maybe that’s a glimmer of hope.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

I’ve almost lost hope of trying to figure out what’s happening here – other than the decline and fall of the west.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

No, say it’s not true! The Aretha Franklin thing. Please say you made it up

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Or that the Minority Whip in the Us Congress’ son-now-daughter was just arrested in Boston, MA for defacing public property and hitting a police officer
mental illness seems to be pervasive in the children of liberal elites. Why is that?

Last edited 1 year ago by Cathy Carron
Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

No, say it’s not true! The Aretha Franklin thing. Please say you made it up

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

It’s hard not to despair for the future when you read an analysis like this, or when you discover trans activists are demanding that Spotify take down “Natural Women” by Aretha Franklin, or you find out the kids who terrorized Atlanta the other night have been raised with opulent wealth and privilege.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago

Vivek Ramaswamy put it well in his insightful Woke Inc. The right to incorporate with limited liability for shareholders is a privilege that was, at the outset, afforded to chartered companies that had a specific purpose eg to build and operate a particular railway, or whatever. This later got broadened out to any enterprise whose purpose is to maximise returns for its shareholders. A rationale for this was that a privately controlled entity protected by limited liability could exert excessive influence on the political affairs of a society, something about which the American founding fathers were keenly aware.

If corporations are now colluding with each in pursuit of purposes other than those for which they were founded, and which are overtly political, social, or environmental (which they unabashedly are), they ought to lose their privilege of limited liability, piercing the corporate shell. Shareholders would then become personally liable for any damages done, or losses incurred, by the company that they own. It would certainly make them think twice before unsticking themselves from their knitting.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

That would simply make any successful enterprise a target for activists alleging all sorts of harm. It wouldn’t matter if they won in court or not: the process is the punishment.

And, as always, despite the anti “Big” rhetoric, in reality they would go for the smaller, and therefore more vulnerable businesses.
You know, the ones that innovation springs from. Innovation that successful societies need if life is to improve.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

The Officers of the companies should be liable. I’m a small shareholder and, when Brown wanted Lloyds to take over HBOS I and others I knew who were shareholders in both companies ALL voted for no merger, as we had just been taken for a ride by HBOS who had raised ÂŁ4 Bn in a rights issue. NOT because they were in trouble, oh no, just as a precaution. Anyone stung by that knew that getting Lloyds to take them over would be suicide for Lloyds, so voted no. BUT the big boys outvoted small shareholders, and Brown’s ‘waiving of the law’ to allow it meant we were stuffed. If that wasn’t bad enough, imagine then being held responsible for the losses? There wouldn’t be a company worth investing in as a small shareholder if that were the case.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

That would simply make any successful enterprise a target for activists alleging all sorts of harm. It wouldn’t matter if they won in court or not: the process is the punishment.

And, as always, despite the anti “Big” rhetoric, in reality they would go for the smaller, and therefore more vulnerable businesses.
You know, the ones that innovation springs from. Innovation that successful societies need if life is to improve.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

The Officers of the companies should be liable. I’m a small shareholder and, when Brown wanted Lloyds to take over HBOS I and others I knew who were shareholders in both companies ALL voted for no merger, as we had just been taken for a ride by HBOS who had raised ÂŁ4 Bn in a rights issue. NOT because they were in trouble, oh no, just as a precaution. Anyone stung by that knew that getting Lloyds to take them over would be suicide for Lloyds, so voted no. BUT the big boys outvoted small shareholders, and Brown’s ‘waiving of the law’ to allow it meant we were stuffed. If that wasn’t bad enough, imagine then being held responsible for the losses? There wouldn’t be a company worth investing in as a small shareholder if that were the case.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago

Vivek Ramaswamy put it well in his insightful Woke Inc. The right to incorporate with limited liability for shareholders is a privilege that was, at the outset, afforded to chartered companies that had a specific purpose eg to build and operate a particular railway, or whatever. This later got broadened out to any enterprise whose purpose is to maximise returns for its shareholders. A rationale for this was that a privately controlled entity protected by limited liability could exert excessive influence on the political affairs of a society, something about which the American founding fathers were keenly aware.

If corporations are now colluding with each in pursuit of purposes other than those for which they were founded, and which are overtly political, social, or environmental (which they unabashedly are), they ought to lose their privilege of limited liability, piercing the corporate shell. Shareholders would then become personally liable for any damages done, or losses incurred, by the company that they own. It would certainly make them think twice before unsticking themselves from their knitting.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
1 year ago

James Lindsay of newdiscourses dot com has a very inciteful take on ESG. Here is an excerpt related to the “S” in ESG;

“The Corporate Social Responsibility movement, which was radically altered toward the “Woke” following the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011–2012, forms the basis for the S, for Social (Justice), component of ESG. In other words, the S in ESG stands for Social Justice, which is little more than the updated branding for Communist redistribution under the identity-political social theories of late neo-Marxism (that is, Woke Marxism). Corporations and institutions that promote, implement, mandate, and sell “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)” or “unconscious bias” training and policies or that support “Woke” social causes will see their ESG scores go up. Thus, the prevailing wisdom of “Go Woke, Go Broke” is revealed to be suspended through ESG-driven market manipulations, and corporations are highly incentivised to bundle certain forms of environmental and social activism with their products and services, even if it enrages customers or craters revenue.”
https://newdiscourses.com/tftw-esg/

Last edited 1 year ago by michael stanwick
michael stanwick
michael stanwick
1 year ago

James Lindsay of newdiscourses dot com has a very inciteful take on ESG. Here is an excerpt related to the “S” in ESG;

“The Corporate Social Responsibility movement, which was radically altered toward the “Woke” following the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011–2012, forms the basis for the S, for Social (Justice), component of ESG. In other words, the S in ESG stands for Social Justice, which is little more than the updated branding for Communist redistribution under the identity-political social theories of late neo-Marxism (that is, Woke Marxism). Corporations and institutions that promote, implement, mandate, and sell “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)” or “unconscious bias” training and policies or that support “Woke” social causes will see their ESG scores go up. Thus, the prevailing wisdom of “Go Woke, Go Broke” is revealed to be suspended through ESG-driven market manipulations, and corporations are highly incentivised to bundle certain forms of environmental and social activism with their products and services, even if it enrages customers or craters revenue.”
https://newdiscourses.com/tftw-esg/

Last edited 1 year ago by michael stanwick
Ant Denny
Ant Denny
1 year ago

An excellent piece. For me, it’s nailed in the short penultimate paragraph. The more powerful the corporate (and, by definitive association, the super-rich) are the firmer their grasp of the “received morality”. And contrary to the claims of a moribund globalisation, the very nature of all-powerful private enterprise – with its ESG hymnsheet – is that it is global.
If corporate “owns” morality, they broadly control the debate. It’s helpful to have latter day moralists like Bono on your side, too.
And if you can enervate and keep the global population (sorry, I meant “consumer”) at a manageable level of education, you can present whatever version of ESG you damn well want.

Ant Denny
Ant Denny
1 year ago

An excellent piece. For me, it’s nailed in the short penultimate paragraph. The more powerful the corporate (and, by definitive association, the super-rich) are the firmer their grasp of the “received morality”. And contrary to the claims of a moribund globalisation, the very nature of all-powerful private enterprise – with its ESG hymnsheet – is that it is global.
If corporate “owns” morality, they broadly control the debate. It’s helpful to have latter day moralists like Bono on your side, too.
And if you can enervate and keep the global population (sorry, I meant “consumer”) at a manageable level of education, you can present whatever version of ESG you damn well want.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

The author’s reference to the freezing of Canadian trucker bank accounts is in my view very astute. To paraphrase Eric Blair, if you want a picture of the future, imagine a cash point blaring ‘your card has been declined’—for ever.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Possibly the most scary, dystopian action from a democratic country that I can recall in my lifetime. With a keyboard stroke, you have been erased.

Joann Robertson
Joann Robertson
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

As a Canadian I am encouraged by the number of people from many countries who see the way the Trucker Convoy was handled by Justin Trudeau as dangerous for all of us.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago

Besides which, it gave us the measure of Trudeau’s soul: teeny-tiny, and hiding behind dictatorial arrogance.
Maybe he got it from Fidel Castro, with whom his hippie mother got so friendly?

Last edited 1 year ago by Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago

Besides which, it gave us the measure of Trudeau’s soul: teeny-tiny, and hiding behind dictatorial arrogance.
Maybe he got it from Fidel Castro, with whom his hippie mother got so friendly?

Last edited 1 year ago by Wim de Vriend
Joann Robertson
Joann Robertson
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

As a Canadian I am encouraged by the number of people from many countries who see the way the Trucker Convoy was handled by Justin Trudeau as dangerous for all of us.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Possibly the most scary, dystopian action from a democratic country that I can recall in my lifetime. With a keyboard stroke, you have been erased.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

The author’s reference to the freezing of Canadian trucker bank accounts is in my view very astute. To paraphrase Eric Blair, if you want a picture of the future, imagine a cash point blaring ‘your card has been declined’—for ever.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 year ago

“…money moving from the previous generation of families whose slogan was ‘preserve the capital’ to the current generation of the ultra-wealthy whose priority is ‘preserve the planet.'”
Sorry, the impulse behind the slogan for the current generation is “squander the capital to look pretty in the headlines.”
They’ll not only squander the capital, they’ll destroy modern prosperity and plunge us all back into squalid poverty. Except for them, of course.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 year ago

“…money moving from the previous generation of families whose slogan was ‘preserve the capital’ to the current generation of the ultra-wealthy whose priority is ‘preserve the planet.'”
Sorry, the impulse behind the slogan for the current generation is “squander the capital to look pretty in the headlines.”
They’ll not only squander the capital, they’ll destroy modern prosperity and plunge us all back into squalid poverty. Except for them, of course.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago

At Davos this year, perhaps the second-most discussed subject was the great wealth transfer taking place around the world — that is, money moving from the previous generation of families whose slogan was “preserve the capital” to the current generation of the ultra-wealthy whose priority is “preserve the planet”.

No mention of the 7 trillion dollar transfer of wealth to those at the top as a result of COVID QE on the part of the world’s central banks, at least if the FT is to be believed.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago

At Davos this year, perhaps the second-most discussed subject was the great wealth transfer taking place around the world — that is, money moving from the previous generation of families whose slogan was “preserve the capital” to the current generation of the ultra-wealthy whose priority is “preserve the planet”.

No mention of the 7 trillion dollar transfer of wealth to those at the top as a result of COVID QE on the part of the world’s central banks, at least if the FT is to be believed.

Emmanuel MARTIN
Emmanuel MARTIN
1 year ago

As Elon Musk nailed it, the S in ESG stands for satanic
https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1614786284547112961?s=20&t=9LCpqRdujORTtRUFS_Eh9Q

Last edited 1 year ago by Emmanuel MARTIN
michael stanwick
michael stanwick
1 year ago

And James Lindsay of new discourses labels it Social as in Social Justice informed by identity marxism. I posted an excerpt of his analysis, above.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
1 year ago

And James Lindsay of new discourses labels it Social as in Social Justice informed by identity marxism. I posted an excerpt of his analysis, above.

Emmanuel MARTIN
Emmanuel MARTIN
1 year ago

As Elon Musk nailed it, the S in ESG stands for satanic
https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1614786284547112961?s=20&t=9LCpqRdujORTtRUFS_Eh9Q

Last edited 1 year ago by Emmanuel MARTIN
Joe Donovan
Joe Donovan
1 year ago

It’s all about the cynical financial elites making oodles of money by offering a new “virtue signaling” channel. It’s all about the money.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe Donovan

Or as the anti-Semitic US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar states, “it’s all about the Benjamins”.

Stephen Magee
Stephen Magee
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe Donovan

Nailed it. I despair of the nutters who rant about the global Davos lizard-people conspiracy. As you say, it’s just the money.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe Donovan

Or as the anti-Semitic US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar states, “it’s all about the Benjamins”.

Stephen Magee
Stephen Magee
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe Donovan

Nailed it. I despair of the nutters who rant about the global Davos lizard-people conspiracy. As you say, it’s just the money.

Joe Donovan
Joe Donovan
1 year ago

It’s all about the cynical financial elites making oodles of money by offering a new “virtue signaling” channel. It’s all about the money.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago

“Bluebell noted that despite its rhetorical largesse, BlackRock still makes lots of money from fossil fuels, raising legitimate questions about the “G”, governance, at work in the world’s most vocal corporate supporter of ESG.”

I suspect that what ESG is really meant to achieve is to make it impossible for normal people to invest in energy companies like Shell and BP, reserving the ability to do so exclusively for elites who can then earn far greater returns than if they had to compete on the open market for share purchases.

As an aside, I recently made a small but not insignificant bit of cash through observing the go-woke-go-broke principle, by buying Shell and BP shares early last year following some high profile stories about supposedly ethical investors divesting themselves of large fossil fuel company shares through ESG concerns. Then came the autumn energy crunch at which point those shares shot up in value – so thank you, to whoever the idiots were that chose to do a share sell-off in this manner.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago

“Bluebell noted that despite its rhetorical largesse, BlackRock still makes lots of money from fossil fuels, raising legitimate questions about the “G”, governance, at work in the world’s most vocal corporate supporter of ESG.”

I suspect that what ESG is really meant to achieve is to make it impossible for normal people to invest in energy companies like Shell and BP, reserving the ability to do so exclusively for elites who can then earn far greater returns than if they had to compete on the open market for share purchases.

As an aside, I recently made a small but not insignificant bit of cash through observing the go-woke-go-broke principle, by buying Shell and BP shares early last year following some high profile stories about supposedly ethical investors divesting themselves of large fossil fuel company shares through ESG concerns. Then came the autumn energy crunch at which point those shares shot up in value – so thank you, to whoever the idiots were that chose to do a share sell-off in this manner.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
Gavin Thomas
Gavin Thomas
1 year ago

ESG?
Would that relate to the 50 tonnes of raw material needed to be extracted for EACH Electric Vehicle battery? (according to The New Scientist).
Plus transport and manufacturing costs – all by burning fossil fuels. With battery degradation, a new Tesla can NEVER recover its CO2 ‘footprint’…
…and there are over 16 million EVs in the world.
That’s 800 million tonnes of raw material – already excavated!
There’s no doubt – Electric Vehicles are killing the environment – and the planet.
A petrol driven car is far better – and better still if using e-fuels.

Gavin Thomas
Gavin Thomas
1 year ago

ESG?
Would that relate to the 50 tonnes of raw material needed to be extracted for EACH Electric Vehicle battery? (according to The New Scientist).
Plus transport and manufacturing costs – all by burning fossil fuels. With battery degradation, a new Tesla can NEVER recover its CO2 ‘footprint’…
…and there are over 16 million EVs in the world.
That’s 800 million tonnes of raw material – already excavated!
There’s no doubt – Electric Vehicles are killing the environment – and the planet.
A petrol driven car is far better – and better still if using e-fuels.

David McKee
David McKee
1 year ago

There are two points to make about ESG. First, it is easy to cheat. Like any, baldly drawn up, set of rules, it is child’s play to game the system. Volkswagen (https://www.rockpointadvisors.com/insights-the-vw-emissions-scandal-a-failure-of-esg-investing.php) is an extreme example. Most companies simply outsource the grubby parts of their businesses to someone else. (https://viewpoint.bnpparibas-am.com/research-finds-us-firms-talk-cheap-on-climate-change/) That way, they are squeaky clean, and their business model suffers minimal disruption. Result!
Secondly, ESG is a form of regulation. Large companies can afford the large teams Mr. Rindsberg mentions, much more easily than the small companies that want to challenge the big boys for market dominance. So ESG helps to keep the upstarts down.

David McKee
David McKee
1 year ago

There are two points to make about ESG. First, it is easy to cheat. Like any, baldly drawn up, set of rules, it is child’s play to game the system. Volkswagen (https://www.rockpointadvisors.com/insights-the-vw-emissions-scandal-a-failure-of-esg-investing.php) is an extreme example. Most companies simply outsource the grubby parts of their businesses to someone else. (https://viewpoint.bnpparibas-am.com/research-finds-us-firms-talk-cheap-on-climate-change/) That way, they are squeaky clean, and their business model suffers minimal disruption. Result!
Secondly, ESG is a form of regulation. Large companies can afford the large teams Mr. Rindsberg mentions, much more easily than the small companies that want to challenge the big boys for market dominance. So ESG helps to keep the upstarts down.

Olivier Clarinval
Olivier Clarinval
1 year ago

Excellent article. The tragedy in this is that there is no leftist critique of this evolution of capitalism toward this dangerous moralistic framework (with very few marginalized exceptions). To the contrary, the left is not only asleep at the wheel, but co-driving this mad project run by the most despicable elites. Instead of a powerful leftist critique of the power structure, it’s the right that’s now the most ardent critique of this oligarchic takeover doing their dirty work behind the mask of environmental and social justice. And some of that criticism is powerful and insightful. Unfortunately, most of that rightwing critique falls short in wanting a return to a golden age of capitalism, to a “free market” unimpeded by “communist” ideology, without any realization that it is that golden age of unrestrained neoliberal abuses that lead to this new “social capitalism” trend.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

If think the notion of left-centre-right no longer exists. The left no longer supports any of the leftists ideals that it promoted even 15 years ago, such as free speech, union support, blue collar workers, strong immigration policies, opposition to corporate greed etc.

What we have now is populist vs the established elite.

Olivier Clarinval
Olivier Clarinval
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I agree! I am just still in denial that the left I knew and was part of no longer exists and that it has been replaced by some kind of sick corporate state covidian worship cult.

Olivier Clarinval
Olivier Clarinval
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I agree! I am just still in denial that the left I knew and was part of no longer exists and that it has been replaced by some kind of sick corporate state covidian worship cult.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

‘to a “free market” unimpeded by “communist” ideology, without any realization that it is that golden age of unrestrained neoliberal abuses that lead to this new “social capitalism” trend’

Honestly an interesting point.
But it’s a serious thing to tear down the old capitalist system, arguably the markets haven’t been ‘free’ for a while what with various sanctions etc. We also are very, very reliant on global trade. I don’t see an alternative but to return to some sort of sensible free trade. Taxing the shit out of the mega corps would be a good idea too, make it easier for small businesses to compete etc. Government doing government. Businesses doing business. Its all got tangled up.
What about America in all this? This is where the progressive idealogy came from, it seems to me anyway. Is it possible to attribute ‘social capitalism’ to the freemarket? I think there are probably multiple drivers.
What do you propose instead? It’s easy to criticise the right for wanting a return to free market principles but have you got a better idea?

Olivier Clarinval
Olivier Clarinval
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Good points – it is indeed a very serious thing to tear down the capitalist system, which I would not advocate. I think I was more making a point at the disappointing lack of critique of the ESG phenomenon from an old-fashioned leftist perspective (even if I do agree with another comment arguing that the distinction between left and right is no longer valid, and that the old left is gone). The left (traditionally critiquing power and the establishment and their systemic institutional corruption) is completely missing in action, and even supporting this elite ESG project that only serves to further consolidate power in fewer hands. The right is offering some great criticism, denouncing corporate corruption and the corporate state’s propaganda campaigns, even defending the rights of the lower classes being systematically squashed by this “responsible capitalism.” However, they tend to quickly backtrack by thinking that getting rid of the woke, leftist, or communist (or whatever boogeyman they come up with) element, capitalism will return to its glorious ways, and the free market will hum again. My argument is that the oligarchy does not care which form capitalism takes, the neoliberal trip was fun and profitable, now the ESG social capitalism promises much better returns than the moribund neoliberal order and an attractive cooperation with “woke” nation states buying into the latest marketing lies of the elites. Either way, the same elites are still in charge, and there is no such a thing as a return to a golden age. And for what to replace this ESG nightmare, I have no idea, but at least we should be aware of its lies and dangers.

Olivier Clarinval
Olivier Clarinval
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Good points – it is indeed a very serious thing to tear down the capitalist system, which I would not advocate. I think I was more making a point at the disappointing lack of critique of the ESG phenomenon from an old-fashioned leftist perspective (even if I do agree with another comment arguing that the distinction between left and right is no longer valid, and that the old left is gone). The left (traditionally critiquing power and the establishment and their systemic institutional corruption) is completely missing in action, and even supporting this elite ESG project that only serves to further consolidate power in fewer hands. The right is offering some great criticism, denouncing corporate corruption and the corporate state’s propaganda campaigns, even defending the rights of the lower classes being systematically squashed by this “responsible capitalism.” However, they tend to quickly backtrack by thinking that getting rid of the woke, leftist, or communist (or whatever boogeyman they come up with) element, capitalism will return to its glorious ways, and the free market will hum again. My argument is that the oligarchy does not care which form capitalism takes, the neoliberal trip was fun and profitable, now the ESG social capitalism promises much better returns than the moribund neoliberal order and an attractive cooperation with “woke” nation states buying into the latest marketing lies of the elites. Either way, the same elites are still in charge, and there is no such a thing as a return to a golden age. And for what to replace this ESG nightmare, I have no idea, but at least we should be aware of its lies and dangers.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

If think the notion of left-centre-right no longer exists. The left no longer supports any of the leftists ideals that it promoted even 15 years ago, such as free speech, union support, blue collar workers, strong immigration policies, opposition to corporate greed etc.

What we have now is populist vs the established elite.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

‘to a “free market” unimpeded by “communist” ideology, without any realization that it is that golden age of unrestrained neoliberal abuses that lead to this new “social capitalism” trend’

Honestly an interesting point.
But it’s a serious thing to tear down the old capitalist system, arguably the markets haven’t been ‘free’ for a while what with various sanctions etc. We also are very, very reliant on global trade. I don’t see an alternative but to return to some sort of sensible free trade. Taxing the shit out of the mega corps would be a good idea too, make it easier for small businesses to compete etc. Government doing government. Businesses doing business. Its all got tangled up.
What about America in all this? This is where the progressive idealogy came from, it seems to me anyway. Is it possible to attribute ‘social capitalism’ to the freemarket? I think there are probably multiple drivers.
What do you propose instead? It’s easy to criticise the right for wanting a return to free market principles but have you got a better idea?

Olivier Clarinval
Olivier Clarinval
1 year ago

Excellent article. The tragedy in this is that there is no leftist critique of this evolution of capitalism toward this dangerous moralistic framework (with very few marginalized exceptions). To the contrary, the left is not only asleep at the wheel, but co-driving this mad project run by the most despicable elites. Instead of a powerful leftist critique of the power structure, it’s the right that’s now the most ardent critique of this oligarchic takeover doing their dirty work behind the mask of environmental and social justice. And some of that criticism is powerful and insightful. Unfortunately, most of that rightwing critique falls short in wanting a return to a golden age of capitalism, to a “free market” unimpeded by “communist” ideology, without any realization that it is that golden age of unrestrained neoliberal abuses that lead to this new “social capitalism” trend.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Perhaps these advocates of ESG should be subjected to electroejaculation (EEJ), as outlined by Mr Lewis-Stempel in another article in today’s UnHerd?

That may “sort them out”.
,

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Perhaps these advocates of ESG should be subjected to electroejaculation (EEJ), as outlined by Mr Lewis-Stempel in another article in today’s UnHerd?

That may “sort them out”.
,

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

‘scandal struck the UN, which saw billions in humanitarian funding to Iraq siphoned off, using the UN as the (very much reusable) financial straw.’

This is the biggest problem. Corrupt to the core institutions like the UN and WEF and their revolving doors, big fronts for moving money around. We have reached the point where corporations, American government and global institutions have simultaneously become so massive its a mess of corruption. Then we get nutter agendas where business people are trying to play politics, politicians playing business, all trying to look good while doing it, money flying everywhere breeding more corruption and insanity.

‘Ask not what your global governance movement can do for you, but what you can do for your global governance movement’ – brilliant.
Can we brexit the UN? Could that be a thing? Just show up for essentials like solving conflicts rather than having their agenda imposed and their tentacles a creeping in everywhere?

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Well said Ms Emery! O for the happy days of the Pax Britannica, perhaps the most benign organisation since since Ancient Rome*.

(* Obviously by comparison with Kipling’s “lesser breeds”!)

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Thank you Mr Stanhope. Maybe someone should get farage on a un exit. Next project, jettison the global institutions!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

The UN has long passed its “sell by date” but whether Mr Farage has the energy for another Crusade I cannot say.

Many years ago I worked for the UN, in the Middle East and it would hard to imagine a more corrupt organisation both morally and financially.

Fortunately that wasn’t my concern and I ‘plundered’ it to the very best of my limited ability.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

I think he did well to stick out the grief during the brexit debate so I wouldn’t blame him if he hadn’t.
Now it’s not very often (never) I get to hear from someone that has actually worked there, thanks, I don’t want to talk the un down too much if it’s useful but from the outside looking in it seems like just a big corrupt mess. Sounds like that’s not overstating it.
Well at least you’re honest about the plundering 🙂
Could the UK (hypothetically) leave the un like that? I’m not really sure on what the implications of that would be, or what issues it would cause. How entangled we actually are?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

The problem with the UN is that it has to be “all things to all men”, which means corruption, as corruption is the cultural norm for most the world. In this respect the late, lamented, British Empire was very unusual in not being corrupt from top to bottom.

No, we cannot leave the UN, the howls of rage from Quislington to the Foreign Office and beyond would be deafening! The very idea of us surrendering our seat on the UN Security Council is anathema to the “good and the great” of this country.

So, as we used to say, we just have to “pick up the white man’s burden “ and trudge on.

ps. Nigel Farage follows in the tradition of Tom Paine, Oliver Cromwell and other great English radicals.
It tends to be an exhausting life, and I suspect he will be too busy making sure that BREXIT is actually being implemented to bother with much else for the time being.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

I understand what you are saying about corruption, ‘howls of rage from Quislington’ – lol yes I thought that would be the case. I can see why too, I understand if we want influence on the world stage we need to be part of things like the un, that it’s supposed to represent good things. Perhaps we need it especially at the moment.
I think as a country we probably have enough on our plate at the moment without trying to take on the un, I imagine Mr farage still has his work cut out with brexit, but interesting conversation none the less, thanks for the insight 🙂

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
1 year ago

Recall the ‘howls of rage’ when Donald Trump suspended (or attempted to do so) the USA funding of that corrupt organisation the WHO.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

I understand what you are saying about corruption, ‘howls of rage from Quislington’ – lol yes I thought that would be the case. I can see why too, I understand if we want influence on the world stage we need to be part of things like the un, that it’s supposed to represent good things. Perhaps we need it especially at the moment.
I think as a country we probably have enough on our plate at the moment without trying to take on the un, I imagine Mr farage still has his work cut out with brexit, but interesting conversation none the less, thanks for the insight 🙂

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
1 year ago

Recall the ‘howls of rage’ when Donald Trump suspended (or attempted to do so) the USA funding of that corrupt organisation the WHO.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

The problem with the UN is that it has to be “all things to all men”, which means corruption, as corruption is the cultural norm for most the world. In this respect the late, lamented, British Empire was very unusual in not being corrupt from top to bottom.

No, we cannot leave the UN, the howls of rage from Quislington to the Foreign Office and beyond would be deafening! The very idea of us surrendering our seat on the UN Security Council is anathema to the “good and the great” of this country.

So, as we used to say, we just have to “pick up the white man’s burden “ and trudge on.

ps. Nigel Farage follows in the tradition of Tom Paine, Oliver Cromwell and other great English radicals.
It tends to be an exhausting life, and I suspect he will be too busy making sure that BREXIT is actually being implemented to bother with much else for the time being.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

I think he did well to stick out the grief during the brexit debate so I wouldn’t blame him if he hadn’t.
Now it’s not very often (never) I get to hear from someone that has actually worked there, thanks, I don’t want to talk the un down too much if it’s useful but from the outside looking in it seems like just a big corrupt mess. Sounds like that’s not overstating it.
Well at least you’re honest about the plundering 🙂
Could the UK (hypothetically) leave the un like that? I’m not really sure on what the implications of that would be, or what issues it would cause. How entangled we actually are?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

The UN has long passed its “sell by date” but whether Mr Farage has the energy for another Crusade I cannot say.

Many years ago I worked for the UN, in the Middle East and it would hard to imagine a more corrupt organisation both morally and financially.

Fortunately that wasn’t my concern and I ‘plundered’ it to the very best of my limited ability.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Thank you Mr Stanhope. Maybe someone should get farage on a un exit. Next project, jettison the global institutions!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Well said Ms Emery! O for the happy days of the Pax Britannica, perhaps the most benign organisation since since Ancient Rome*.

(* Obviously by comparison with Kipling’s “lesser breeds”!)

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

‘scandal struck the UN, which saw billions in humanitarian funding to Iraq siphoned off, using the UN as the (very much reusable) financial straw.’

This is the biggest problem. Corrupt to the core institutions like the UN and WEF and their revolving doors, big fronts for moving money around. We have reached the point where corporations, American government and global institutions have simultaneously become so massive its a mess of corruption. Then we get nutter agendas where business people are trying to play politics, politicians playing business, all trying to look good while doing it, money flying everywhere breeding more corruption and insanity.

‘Ask not what your global governance movement can do for you, but what you can do for your global governance movement’ – brilliant.
Can we brexit the UN? Could that be a thing? Just show up for essentials like solving conflicts rather than having their agenda imposed and their tentacles a creeping in everywhere?

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
Stephen Ford
Stephen Ford
1 year ago

“Rein in” not “reign in”. Reigning is what monarchs do.

Stephen Ford
Stephen Ford
1 year ago

“Rein in” not “reign in”. Reigning is what monarchs do.

Su Mac
Su Mac
1 year ago

Excellent. Remember when the “consumer power” movement first started as a way to tell shops we wanted the cocoa to be fairtrade and the meat to be British reared? Must be 20 years ago. Who knew!!

We are now a global herd menaced by two nipping sheepdogs. The campaigners/extremists/XR/Stonewall types on one side forever telling us of new “problems” and the technocracy/WEF/elite/NGO’s/corporations on the other side using these agendas to corral and control their populations and protect their money making ability from the other sheepdog.

I am reminded of this excellent Spiked article by Roslyn Fuller exploring the NGO funding closed loop that allows public policy to be formed by extremists, funded by ESG corporate money and all entirely without democracy.

https://www.spiked-online.com/2021/01/29/the-billionaire-takeover-of-civil-society/

Last edited 1 year ago by Su Mac
Su Mac
Su Mac
1 year ago

Excellent. Remember when the “consumer power” movement first started as a way to tell shops we wanted the cocoa to be fairtrade and the meat to be British reared? Must be 20 years ago. Who knew!!

We are now a global herd menaced by two nipping sheepdogs. The campaigners/extremists/XR/Stonewall types on one side forever telling us of new “problems” and the technocracy/WEF/elite/NGO’s/corporations on the other side using these agendas to corral and control their populations and protect their money making ability from the other sheepdog.

I am reminded of this excellent Spiked article by Roslyn Fuller exploring the NGO funding closed loop that allows public policy to be formed by extremists, funded by ESG corporate money and all entirely without democracy.

https://www.spiked-online.com/2021/01/29/the-billionaire-takeover-of-civil-society/

Last edited 1 year ago by Su Mac
Graeme Laws
Graeme Laws
1 year ago

ESG the gift that keeps on giving for active fund managers. Investors got wise and went passive. Now, as an investor, you are told that you should put your money where ESG rules, because if you don’t you will be on the side of the baddies. ESG funds are, of course, actively managed. The way to kill this is for all of us to tell fund managers, financial advisers and anyone else who will listen to stick their ESG where the sun don’t shine.
Pretty much all human activity damages the environment. Social justice means whatever you want it to mean. Upping the G score just because you have a diverse board of perfectly useless NXDs is plain idiocy. The whole thing is knitted smoke. But fear not, because the active fund managers will find a new fad to justify their take when ESG funds are shown to be at best mediocre performers.

Graeme Laws
Graeme Laws
1 year ago

ESG the gift that keeps on giving for active fund managers. Investors got wise and went passive. Now, as an investor, you are told that you should put your money where ESG rules, because if you don’t you will be on the side of the baddies. ESG funds are, of course, actively managed. The way to kill this is for all of us to tell fund managers, financial advisers and anyone else who will listen to stick their ESG where the sun don’t shine.
Pretty much all human activity damages the environment. Social justice means whatever you want it to mean. Upping the G score just because you have a diverse board of perfectly useless NXDs is plain idiocy. The whole thing is knitted smoke. But fear not, because the active fund managers will find a new fad to justify their take when ESG funds are shown to be at best mediocre performers.

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
1 year ago

There have been many bad ideas thrust upon us in the last 2 or 3 decades, usually from the WEF types, but ESG does stand out as especially evil. Like most of the others, it is little more, or less, than a convenient excuse to let the powerful do what they want to do, anyway, and and look virtuous rather than corrupt, in the process.
It is a level of corruption to make the Medicis, the Bourbons, or the Robber Barons blush. It is being used to enrich the 0.0001% while impoverishing the rest of us.

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
1 year ago

There have been many bad ideas thrust upon us in the last 2 or 3 decades, usually from the WEF types, but ESG does stand out as especially evil. Like most of the others, it is little more, or less, than a convenient excuse to let the powerful do what they want to do, anyway, and and look virtuous rather than corrupt, in the process.
It is a level of corruption to make the Medicis, the Bourbons, or the Robber Barons blush. It is being used to enrich the 0.0001% while impoverishing the rest of us.

Mike Riddell
Mike Riddell
1 year ago

A lot of folks are asking what the alternative is (to ESG). We don’t need actually need an alternative we just need to own the S in ESG. Unlike financial reporting which is control by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (no doubt operated by the Big Four) who have developed the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles to make sure the world’s Finance Directors all report in a standardised fashion, there is no equivalent organisation for social accounting. So what we’re doing as a Community Benefit Society (basically a data cooperative working out of Stoke on Trent) is creating our own measure of social value and asking the local business community to back us, by accepting this measure a means of accounting for our community’s social value.
So who wants to join our Social Accounting Standards Board as an advisor. The board is community-led but supported by experts. Get in touch if you fancy hacking the USDs hegemonic financial accounting system.
@mikeriddell62

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 year ago

“it’s hard to argue that capitalism does not need a broader system of checks and balances to reign in humanity’s perennial tendency towards excess”

I’m not convinced. Government has a duty to stop corporations lying to their customers and staff. It has a duty to tackle monopolies. It probably has a duty to consider externalities. I’m unconvinced it should do much more. My suspicion is the ESG comes from politicians only to give corporations cover.

Let’s trust to the Friedman Doctrine that firms only duty is to make profits for their shareholders while staying within the law and national customs.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago

This was precious: “the now-moribund “globalisation” for whom Davos 2023 served as a five-day, open-casket wake”

Glyn R
Glyn R
1 year ago

I thought the merging of governance
and corporate power was the definition of fascism?