What Is 'Stakeholder Capitalism'? Part One

The concept of “stakeholder capitalism,” proposed by Klaus Schwab in his various books on the subject—in particular COVID 19: The Great Reset, co-authored with Thierry Malleret, and his latest foray in the field Stakeholder Capitalism, which faithfully reprises the points and principles of the earlier volume—is far more insidious than it sounds. From the perspective of the Left, the progressivist, the woke, “Capitalism” is, of course, a loaded word, but it remains the engine of the world’s most advanced economies, and its kinetics cannot be dispensed with. Market-dominated societies are perforce competitive and revenue-driven.

“Stakeholder,” however, is a detergent term, bleaching the semantic grime from its verbal companion, which is why it functions as a remedial descriptor. It comes across as friendly, compassionate and inviting. In its current usage, the word derives from the education industry, where it has become ubiquitous, highlighting the educators’ presumably favonian sympathies toward their students, fawningly regarded as “stakeholders.”

Originating in John Dewey’s child-centered, student-oriented educational theory, which he called “progressivist,” the idea has proliferated to the present day when students are empowered to issue demands, decide whom they want to be taught by and whom they want to be fired. It explains why we should be wary when it is used to qualify a social and economic program as vast and disruptive as the Great Reset.

Trust me, I'm German.

Placed under the loupe, stakeholder capitalism reveals itself as a sobriquet for international socialism. The corporate impetus is no longer exclusively directed toward profits but will be supervised, guided and restrained by government intervention. Or so we are led to believe.

In the wake of the pandemic, Schwab writes in The Great Reset, “Societies could be poised to become either more egalitarian or more authoritarian…[ E]conomies, when they recover, could take the path of more inclusivity and more attuned to the needs of our global commons.” Ironically, as history has proven time and again, in order to become more egalitarian, society will of necessity become more authoritarian. It’s a dynamic that approximates to a historical law. 

Schwab assesses the social and political impact of the pandemic in the five domains of Society, Economy, Environment, Technology and Geopolitics. This is what he calls the Macro Reset (of which the Micro Reset—industry and business—and the Individual Reset are specifications), a transformation which involves a “redefinition of the social contract” in the direction of “stakeholder capitalism and environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations.”

The result will be a “better world,” portrayed as “more inclusive, more equitable, and more respectful of Mother Nature.” He envisions a tectonic shift from capital to labor, of wealth distribution from the affluent to the needy, and of greater government interventions in the functioning of the economic system, customary arrangements, social architectures and cultural dynamics in order to ensure “global sustainability.”

It's easy, too!

A proper management of the economy and social life will entail a number of salient factors. Companies, for example, will have to reconceive their “fundamental purpose” from unbridled financial profit to that of “serving all their stakeholders, not only those who hold shares.” Wages will be raised and substantial health benefits guaranteed, regardless of the bottom line. The massive expansion of stimulus funding will create “37 million nature-positive jobs” and a Green economy will be resolutely promoted to fight climate change, generating employment and profits along the way. There exists, plainly, not a shred of empirical evidence to justify Schwab’s prognostics.

It is hard to say whether Schwab’s arguments—or some of them—are cleverly devious or childishly naïve. For example, he urges us not to fear the dystopian fatality of entrenched tech-and-government surveillance following recovery, since it is “for those who govern and each of us personally to control and harness the benefits of technology without sacrificing our individual and collective values and freedom.” This analysis seems a colossal oxymoron. Surveillance will be pervasive but our values and freedoms can somehow be preserved.

When he argues that governments must do “whatever it takes and whatever it costs” to ensure our wellbeing, otherwise people afraid of the virus will not shop, travel or dine out, thus hindering economic recovery, he appears oblivious to the fact that it was intense government panic-mongering that led precisely to the adverse consequences he wishes to avoid—probably the greatest political error of a generation. Is Schwab deceiving us or deceiving himself? Such instances of double-think can be multiplied throughout his text.

As to be expected, Schwab has bought wholesale into many contemporary shibboleths and intellectual sedatives. He enthusiastically accepts the dodgy hypothesis of "global warming" and is indifferent to both the uselessness and devastation wrought by the costly scam of Green energy as a replacement for reliable fossil fuels. “The climate risk is unfolding more slowly than the pandemic did, but it will have even more severe consequences”—a premise that has been robustly challenged by some of the most reputable and knowledgeable researchers in the field.

Money for nothing, and stuff for free.

In The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Schwab supports the accelerating “innovation in genetics, with synthetic biology now on the horizon,” involving “biotechnology techniques using RNA and DNA platforms… to develop vaccines faster than ever”—except that these substances are not vaccines but computer-like “operating systems” that alter “the unique mRNA sequence that codes for a protein,” and rely on pathogenic priming that can make people sicker than the disease would have.

In Stakeholder Capitalism, we learn that Schwab is all for “contact tracing” which “has an unequalled capacity and a quasi-essential place in the armoury needed to combat COVID-19”—the “quasi” is a bet hedger, just in case things go sideways. He is an avid supporter of Mark Zuckerberg, whose Facebook is a censuring giant, and regurgitates Zuckerberg’s deceptive and self-serving pitch that greater regulation is needed to hold companies accountable.

Schwab regards COVID-panic-stricken, shut-down countries like New Zealand as “trailblazers.” He is a Net-Zero Telamon for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2030 with their animus against individual property rights. He has proposed a scheme of “non-financial metrics” to chart a company’s progress toward virtue, and affirms that “such virtuous instincts can become a feature of our economic systems,” assuring us they will continue “creating prosperity for all their citizens and businesses.” John O’Sullivan correctly notes that “the hairshirt economic policy of Net Zero [is] a dystopian delusion.”

[Part two tomorrow]

 

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Caring

With all the excitement of coming to Davos for the World Economic Forum, I completely forgot I can ski here!  Skiing was obviously the last thing on my mind when a new friend from Lyford Cay mentioned they’d be able to smuggle me in among the climate gurus and environmental titans but here I am.

Landing was a bit of crush and I could see why some opt to take the train from Zurich-it’s not only because the trip is so majestic and reminds us of what we are fighting for… but Davos can’t possibly accommodate that many jumbo jets all arriving within hours of one another.  Rows and rows from heads of state made it look like the U.N. roll call of jets. And that doesn’t count the larger number of climate-minded oligarchs who selflessly give of their time and money.

But as I came in from Copenhagen, (chartered but shared) I landed right in the heart of things.  I did wonder if they even have traffic controllers here, it felt like that six-way stop in Beverly Hills just below Sunset where one car goes and then another and miraculously no one collides. Add to that the people who took helicopters from wherever they landed their jets and you have a very crowded airfield! 

It was on this airfield that I saw bellmen hauling skis and boots and I remembered it was originally a ski town.  Alas… I’ll have to rent. 

What better place for a Great Reset?

The conference is by invitation only (obvi!) but this year proved a bit tougher as the event has moved underground.  Daddy had been several years back (work stuff) and advised me to fill my dance card before I arrived, and boy he wasn’t kidding!

With the arrival of the dreaded Covid, the conference technically moved to next May in Singapore. So they just re-titled the January event as “The Davos Agenda” and made it fully virtual.  And who can blame them? If things go as we hope, The Great Reset is going to re-shape our entire world! And by extension my beloved planet. 

I feel as though I had a bit of a jump on everyone… having gone to so many underground parties in London during lockdown.  Who knew that the iceberg homes would prove to be the police-proof solution to a party. As things got more sophisticated in the London parties, we were asked to submit to a ten-minute coronavirus test before being allowed entry and obviously had to pay in cash under threat of having to split any fines incurred should we get busted. 

But there were no such tests here in Davos, owing—I assume—to the fact that the leaders of the free world and the gilt-edged would have managed to run by a vaccine.  And I can tell you my poor over-swabbed nostrils were grateful. We were however, sworn to no mobiles, no texting, tweeting, posting, or sharing under penalty of some mandate I couldn’t quite understand, but am sure was all for the betterment of our poor planet.  

When I checked in they gave me a folder which I hoped would contain a schedule of everything but it only listed the conference schedule and a list of “starred must-watch sessions”, how to submit questions… blah, blah… whatever!  All virtual computer stuff. Luckily I had a host of WhatsApp invites with detailed instructions, and one even said to delete the invite itself.

I was looking a bit tired from travel, and the week with Daddy in Copenhagen,  so I slathered on a deep moisturising masque and opened my computer to watch the conference going on in some adjacent building.

The first video was “the welcome” and showed four masked, and distanced speakers… “live from the studio in Geneva”, which might have been true when they taped it but I’d just seen one of the very distinctive looking ladies stepping out of a helicopter. In the next screen was Klaus (Schwab) who was probably, admittedly, in Davos, and a stern un-masked woman who seemed to be sitting on a toadstool. Turns out I was wrong and she was not going to talk about mycology-it was just an unfortunate choice of chairs for a video conference. 

Klaus began saying, “2021 will be a crucial…it will be a pivotal year for the future of humankind”. 

Not really going out on a limb there but OK…I agree. 

Then he went on to say, “It will be crucial because we have to continue to fight the virus—BUT we have to move out of the pandemic".

Which is it??? Stay and fight or move out?  

Then he continued, "BUT…

Another BUT…

“…above all we have to restore trust in our world… in order to overcome the Kaisers.” 

WHAAT?  The Kaisers?  I needed a cup of tea. I rewound: "hin orduh zu overcome ze Kreisiz." The crisis! Dr. Strangelove has nothing on this guy.

 A knock on the door signalled my tea had arrived and so I answered with my white masque on.  That’s the great thing about a place like this… they pretend not to notice.  

I watched another few videos and they all had one thing in common. Super-fast talking and a limited lexicon. They all seemed to use the words “sustainable”,  “unprecedented”, “massive”, and “inclusive”— no matter what they were discussing. It was a good thing this wasn’t a drinking game!

And more absurd… “coronavirus” a word that infected every single sentence. It was the reason to be, the reason not to be, the reason to remember, to forget, to change, to remain…and yet they sat two feet apart, pulling off and donning masks like it was some musical chairs game at a children’s party. 

I looked at my phone to decide whether I would go to the Urban Transformation or Energy Infrastructure receptions.  I decided on Energy because someone might know my father and I just couldn’t listen to how coronavirus affected the poor disproportionately. Everything affects the poor disproportionately but it was the response to coronavirus that was more likely to affect the poor than anything else.   

Day Two and I am not drinking or eating anything. I had more champagne, wagyu beef, truffled lobster mac and cheese, and fatty tuna belly to get me to spring. I called Daddy to ask a few questions but he didn’t pick up. I opened up my computer to see what was on and if it should pre-empt a spa visit. Now playing was the session on how the forum is shaping media and entertainment. Well I can tell you… different actor, same script. Here’s what she said verbatim:

“Media was the first to go through massive digital disruption. Without a strong ecosystem you cannot sustain that kind of change.” 

Yes, believe it or not, that is what she said. “Massive”, “ecosystem”, “sustain.” Same words, new topic, making zero sense. And who wants to ‘sustain media disruption’ ?  It’s what she actually said.  But if you just listen to the buzz words instead of what she actually says… it seems sympathetic. And important.

How I wish Daddy would pick up.  I’m so lost and I can’t believe the point of this was to confuse. If I did reach him he’d likely ask me what did I expect. And then he’d tell me to go skiing. I think I shall. It will be massive, but not unprecedented.  

When the Great 'Reset' is Really Overload

It was a humiliating debut for Hillary Clinton. The then-new Secretary of State met with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and presented him with a button activated switch with a Russian caption which she thought meant “reset” but was actually “overload.”

The Western world was beset with the turmoil and economic loss due to globalization that had sent jobs to lower-cost-labor countries; meanwhile, in China, a weaponized new strain of the flu was brewing in a Wuhan laboratory. Released near the end of 2018, it has caused a global panic, its death toll overhyped by international experts and a scaremongering media.

Now we're being offered yet more of the same global nonsense in the form of something called The Great Reset. It’s overload, and I don’t think we will or should buy it.

How do you say "Oops" in Russian?

The World Economic Forum advances a witless new idea. What, you might ask, is this outfit? It describes itself as “the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation”. It annually hosts the global elite annual meeting in Davod, Switzerland to discuss global issues and put their soi-disant collective genius to the task of improving the world while residing and eating in the most luxurious way.

In my younger years I might have found this a good idea. with advanced age it reminds me of Benito Mussolini’s corporatism. "Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." However egalitarian you phrase it, it ends up as a means of making your friends rich with public revenue and advantages and using the power of the state to smash their competitors while increasing your own powers..

This year’s meeting of 3,000 ran the gamut from heads of state to movie stars and  the Swedish adolescent Cassandra Greta Thunberg, the founder of the Chinese technology firm Huawei, and George Soros. Great numbers of those participating arrived there on private planes while yammering about sustainability and getting us to reduce our carbon emissions. The comparison to medieval sumptuary laws comes to my mind.

In the year just ended, its agenda was more grandiose, perhaps fueled by all that lobster and champagne: "The Great Reset" project, a five-point plan concerned with enhancing sustainable economic growth following the global recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. The Great Reset will be the theme of WEF's Annual Meeting in January 2021.

You have only to read the plans for the Great Reset set forth by Klaus Schwab, its executive Chairman, to see its flaws and dangers. (Of course, some knowledge of world history wouldn’t hurt either.) He begins with the economic and human cost of Covid-19, a loss to my mind occasioned more by government mismanagement and lockdowns than the virus itself.

And he leaps from that to a claim that “All of this will exacerbate the climate and social crises that were already underway.” That seems debatable. If the lockdowns reduced travel as they certainly did, CO2 emissions which to these same people are changing the climate should be way down. And every study I’ve seen says that is the case.

The Great Resetter.

So how does Schwab  find it otherwise? “Some countries have used the Covid-19 crisis as an excuse to weaken environmental protections and enforcement, and frustrations over social ills like rising inequality -- US billionaires’ combined wealth has increased during the crisis--are intensifying”

But he neglects to note that in the U.S. the billionaires got richer, not by predation but by government fiats which forced the shutdown of small businesses and forced consumers to use big marketers like Amazon, Walmart and Costco. Left to their own best judgment consumers might well have preferred shopping at smaller stores with less possibility for transmission. Left to their own devices, restaurants, bars and smaller shops would have remained open and the owners not bankrupted or their workers unemployed. See the brain twist here? The various governments created the inequality and these are the same powers that Schwab thinks will better address inequality than we can.

But Herr Schwab is a Big Thinker with a plan:

First, steer the market toward fairer outcomes by improving “coordination, upgrade trade arrangements, and create the conditions for a ‘stakeholder economy.’  There’s a lot of flowery language in this but there are some specifics "changes to wealth taxes the withdrawal of fossil-fuel subsidies and new rules governing intellectual property trade and competition.”

In English this means the Western world -- particularly the U.S. -- would be subject to higher taxes, more expensive energy and labor costs for the western world. In refutation, I note it is the U.S. which has to date had enough surplus capital to beat Europe and China in environmental protection through technological improvements. The United States is a world leader in protecting the environment and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. From 2005 to 2018, total U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions fell by 12 percent. In contrast, global energy-related emissions increased nearly 24 percent from 2005 to 2018. It's capital that makes the difference, not high-blown chatter.

Second, baffle them with word salad, e.g. “ensure that investments advance shared goals, such as equality and sustainability." He explains for the befuddled, "building green urban infrastructure and creating incentives for industries to improve their track record on environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics.” He has it backwards, I think.

Well run corporations producing goods and services consumers want  create jobs and capital surpluses available to clean the environment and lift all boats. Using such idiocies as requiring diverse management instead of the best, most competent management does not. I note, for example, the worst environmental depredations have been in socialist countries.  The least protection for the health of workers also occurs there.

But Schwab has more: he would “harness the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to support the public good, especially by addressing health and social challenges.”

I would remind Schwab that the vaccines to prevent Covid-19 were produced in the U.S. -- not in Europe or Russia or China -- and by private corporations which achieved this in record time by substantial infusions of tax revenues made possible by our free market system.

Some people think the Great Reset is but a cover for a conspiracy to bring about a New World Order.  I don’t know that it’s a conspiracy, just more of the same globalists’ dream, actually not far removed from a standard European mindset that experts should call the shots and that a complex society can be ruled top down by these geniuses instead of by millions of people making their own independent choices. With the experiences of  the Imperial College’s  phony, inaccurate projections on Covid-19, Dr. Fauci’s unscientific and conflicting proscriptions, the clear political agenda of the CDC , the economic devastation caused by governors like Whitmer and Newsom, I don’t think we’re in the mood to buy this Schwab brand of baloney.