Governor Ron DeSantis has joined several other Republican states in considering or taking direct action against investment mega-firm BlackRock over its embrace of “ESG” — environmental, social and governance — policies.
Sometimes referred to as “woke corporatism”, ESG aims to enforce left-wing politics onto businesses that may be entirely non-political but who are interested in receiving funding from massive investment companies, like BlackRock.
On last night's episode of The Ezra Levant Show, Ezra took a look at DeSantis' decision and how ESG directly contradicts a business leader's fiduciary duties by forcing them to align with BlackRock's politics.
First, Ezra outlined the duties of a CEO, the person who is responsible to shareholders:
See, if you are managing someone else's money as an investment firm or if you're running a company on behalf of shareholders, you have a duty to the shareholders, to the investors. Obviously, a duty to be honest — don't steal, don't cheat — but you have something else called a fiduciary duty. You have to look out for their financial interests, you have to be cautious for them, you have to be smart for them. You have to make the most money for them that you can.
You can call it greed, if you're negative about it, but you can call it being prosperous if you're being positive about it. Given that so many investments are people's pensions, people's life savings, or endowments for universities or hospitals or employee pension funds, whatever.
It is highly moral to get the best rate of return possible under the law. Now, businesspeople might be greedy for themselves — I guess that's human nature, right? But fiduciary duty says you have to be “greedy” for others, which I suppose you could call not quite charity, but frankly you're looking out for your fellow man, you're forced to do the best for your fellow man.
I don't even think you can call that greed because it's not for you.
And then he explained how BlackRock's ESG policy flies in the face of this premise:
But ESG changes that. It makes political errands more important than earning money for grandma's pension. It's diverting people's money to the pet causes of the ESG activists. Hey, here's an idea: let businesses make money and then let the shareholders who get the dividends decide whatever they want to do with the profits — whatever they want.
Well, BlackRock not only uses ESG to push its left-wing policies on its investors, but it forces companies that want BlackRock money to agree to this ideology. It literally injects politics into non-political businesses as a kind of condition, almost an extortion, ‘we'll invest in you, but only if you go woke.’
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