Well it finally happened – Major League Baseball bent the knee. We all knew it would eventually happen, although one must admit to holding on to some hope after they held out throughout the Trump years, when every other professional sports organization in the United States performatively humbled themselves before the new religion. It took a pandemic to ruin baseball – they were proud and independent in 2019, but when they reopened in 2020 they were a shell of their former selves. Players started kneeling to the BLM icons, the Cleveland Indians decided to change their name, and now, the coup de gras, the entire league decides to “boycott” the state of Georgia in protest over an election law.
So many directions I could go with this. The election law itself is harmless. The reporting about it is utterly false. Leftist opposition to the law is almost certainly driven by opposition to any attempt to limit their rigging of elections. I could talk about how I love baseball, how it was one of the last pure expressions of American culture untainted by the new faith, and how utterly demoralizing and depressing it is to see it corrupted (I guess that’s the point, right).
Others will cover all of those things, but I’m going to lay out a different argument based on something I’ve been mulling over for a while. Ever since major corporations started aggressively shilling for leftist causes – around the beginning of the Trump era, not coincidentally – I have wondered “How is it in the interests of the shareholders for a company to take positions that alienate roughly 50% of the customer base?” I have long felt the same way about celebrities – how are you helping your career by becoming so political that half of the country can’t watch your movies or listen to your music?
One would think that the wise thing to do would be to avoid politics and politically charged positions like the plague if you were dependent on the opinions of consumers for your bottom line. But this clearly isn’t the attitude that the US Elites take; they do not appear to be worried at all that pissing off tens of millions of conservatives will hurt their business. Indeed, there have been huge boycotts of corporations by conservatives over the past few years – I haven’t used a Gillette product since their cringey “Toxic Masculinity” ad campaign from 2019, and Colin Kaepernick’s antics have decimated the NFL’s viewership and cost the league billions of dollars – but none of these efforts ever seem to affect the corporations’ political stances. What’s going on here?
One possibility is that the corporate elite actually cares about these causes. Maybe the NFL really does worry about the (non-existent) plague of police shootings of unarmed black people. Maybe the (non-existent) plight of the tens of thousands of newly-minted late-onset gender dysphoriac girls keeps the board of Coca-Cola up at night. The cognitive gymnastics necessary to believe this are definitely outside of my mental range of motion – aren’t these the same “one percenters” that leftists blame for all of these problems to begin with? Aren’t they inheritors of the system that colonized and looted India and Africa? Am I really expected to believe that Gordon Gekko had a Road to Damascus moment and converted to Wokianity? I mean, Current Year is bizarre, but that’s asking a lot of my poor brain.
The alternative explanation is that there’s something in it for these companies for pushing these agendas. That however much money they “lose” due to right-wing boycotts, they gain more through some other mechanism. What if the goods and services we see a company selling are not an important source of the company’s income? Basically, the possibility presented itself to me that large corporations had an exoteric and an esoteric business model. The exoteric business model is what we can see – we assume that Major League Baseball makes money by selling us baseball, we assume that Coca-Cola makes money by selling sodas, we assume that Delta sells us plane tickets, etc. But what if there is an underlying, esoteric component to the business? For instance, what if Delta makes more money by trading securities than running its airline, or by getting first dibs on massive government contracts, or through some kind of foreign kickbacks? Such that the exoteric business doesn’t matter all that much, and they could afford to take a loss on it basically forever as long as it propped up their real, esoteric business.
It’s easy to see how a large enough company could get to this point. Anybody with a 401K (or a 403B, fellow academic gulag residents) knows that money makes money, and the goal is to get to the point where wages (or profits) are only a minor portion of your portfolio. How much more the case for a corporation – once your firm has become “too big to fail”, perhaps keeping your mouth close to the spigot from which dollars flow from the federal reservoir is more important than the business that got you to that point in the first place. Perhaps keeping the regime happy becomes your real business, and the continued production of widgets or ball games or movies is just a rump operation, an annoying charade.
Which brings the question, why does MLB still bother to stage baseball games at all? Why does Coca-Cola bother selling sodas? Why not just convert themselves entirely into exoteric hedge funds and quit bothering with the whole “selling things” gimmick? Again, this is all just wild-ass spitballing, but I figure there are two likely reasons:
- The regime needs the exoteric businesses for propaganda purposes. One could ask, why does the regime care about these businesses at all? It’s possible that the regime needs to parasitize the accumulated respect these famous corporations have from previous decades of selling beloved products in order to justify whatever it is the regime is trying to sell us. When some rando politician tells us that men are now women and the United States has always been at war with Eastasia, you might tend to write them off as crazy. When the New York Yankees say the same thing, it carries more weight. When every company in the US simultaneously peddles the same propaganda, it creates a very difficult to ignore impact on anyone who lives here. To the degree that this is true, one might conclude that the product these businesses are now selling is clout; they are selling off good will in return for government investment in their hedge funds.
- The exoteric businesses work as a money laundering operation. Essentially, the esoteric business model I’ve described is an arguably criminal act of collusion between business elites and the government, representing a massive betrayal of the trust of the 99.999% of the population that doesn’t sit on a board of trustees of a megacorp or work in the executive or legislative branch of the US government. If MLB shuttered all the stadiums, fired all the players, and kept making money, it would reveal this to everyone. Just like drug cartels have to figure out ways to funnel their obscene profits through legitimate businesses, megacorps have to conceal their esoteric cash flows by maintaining the appearance of running normal businesses. Even with 50% reductions in viewership, people still come to NFL games, creating plausible deniability about what’s going on. And of course the concern is likely that if the consumer public ever caught on to what was really going on, the people making these profits would be torn limb from limb by angry mobs. To the degree that this is true, most large American corporations run their exoteric business operations the same way, and for the same purpose, that robber barons ran their philanthropic operations – as a smokescreen to conceal activities that the average Joe would find abominable.
Like I said, I freely admit that this is all a half-baked conspiracy theory. But it was such a galaxy brain moment when it occurred to me that I really needed to get it down on (virtual) paper to see where it went. The notion that the entire material economy of the United States was a money laundering operation for government-associated hedge funds sounds nuts, but if you spend a few minutes reading about what our ruling elite – and especially the hedge fund guys and gals – believe in terms of economics, it starts to seem more plausible. “Modern monetary theory”, which appears to have adherents amongst the Biden apparatchiks, maintains that money has no real basis other than the will of the government that prints it, so the notion that you can’t just manufacture as much of it as you want is simply false. By divorcing money from value, this mindset obviates the need for a real world economy at all – or at least it separates production from wealth, which are factors that may be independently manipulated by the government however it sees fit. That certainly sounds like Soviet propaganda to me, which makes me wonder which regime exactly is the one that profits from the Woke Capital trend. I mean, all of this, from the gutting of the real economy to the strip-mining of respect for our great companies and institutions to the fact that all of this is a pressure campaign to make it easier to rig elections certainly doesn’t appear to benefit the United States or the great majority of its people, but it could certainly help a Great Power rival hasten our replacement as the world’s economic leader.
The last point I want to make here is that the framing of megacorp pressure campaigns against Georgia election integrity reforms as a “boycott” is insultingly absurd. The word “boycott” comes from the name of a man who organized tenant farmers against high rents in the 19th century, and it has traditionally been applied to mass movements by people low in the socio-economic hierarchy to put pressure on the moneyed interests that exert power over them. Far from that, the Georgia case involves incredibly powerful corporations using their financial heft against everyday voters. If anything, these corporations are more powerful than the Georgia government they are trying to pressure. It’s literally the opposite of a boycott; it’s more like the US dropping sanctions on some hapless third world country it doesn’t like.
Ok, I am ending the rant now. It’s entirely possible I am way off on this interpretation of events – but Woke Capital is pretty sus, y’all, and I’ve got my eye on it.