September 4, 2022

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) scores are a Trojan horse for left-wing totalitarianism; yet, the American right was largely caught off guard by its sudden rise. The world’s largest private capital firms, government institutions, and NGOs have discovered, seemingly in concert, the need to remake the global economy in the image of this arbitrary left-wing metric, which poses a serious threat to ordered liberty the world over.

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Tellingly, the proponents of ESG value quixotic goals such as carbon dioxide emissions reduction above sensible environmental protections and conservation. ESG’s “social” goals are even more nebulous, as social justice itself is entirely subjective. However, the point of ESG is not actually to improve the environment or protect social justice. In reality, the point is to establish control over the many by the few.

What the radical Left could not achieve by force with the typical levers of government power, it is now poised to accomplish with nominally public-private enterprise partnerships. This new strategy has confused the conservative and libertarian response. If such heavy-handedness were attached to the arm of the state, free-market organizations and policymakers would mobilize quickly against it. Coming primarily from the private sector, however, has forestalled an effective response to the ESG agenda.

Unlike government bureaucrats, private sector proponents of ESG are happy to immodestly expose their totalitarian urges in public. Bank of America Chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan explained his plans to enforce ESG with characteristic subtlety, in describing Bank of America’s war chest: “200,000 people, a three trillion-dollar balance sheet, 60 billion in expenses; you start aiming that gun, and you take that across all these companies, it is huge.”  The true lightbearer of the ESG movement may be BlackRock’s aptly named CEO, Larry Fink. He summarizes his firm’s role in promoting ESG with equal artfulness, noting, “…at BlackRock we are forcing behaviors.”

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If a nominee for the president’s cabinet exercised such candor, even the ossified U.S. Senate would yawn into action and reject them. But policymakers have struggled to respond to left-wing totalitarianism when it comes from corporate America. They should not hesitate to act, though. These are multinational firms, and they are not products of free and fair competition. Their business model intentionally blurs the lines of distinction between public and private enterprise, making effective regulation a murky, but very necessary, affair.

The old Left versus Right paradigm of government versus business is a complete farce in the age of neoliberal triumphalism. BlackRock lives in the nexus of nationless corporations, governments, and quasi-governmental bodies. BlackRock’s leadership enjoys a cozy relationship with the Biden administration, as it did with the now-dormant House of Clinton, possibly even the CIA, and of course the World Economic Forum.

BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street Capital are the top three shareholders in a startlingly large number of the world’s largest and most influential companies. They all sing from the same dark hymnal on governance, which is how they have cartelized private global enterprise to promote their left-wing agenda. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the purpose of their hard-won power seems to be the attainment of ever more power.

It could be inferred that BlackRock’s role in the cartel is to financially leverage compliance with the “voluntary” standards set by nongovernmental bodies like the World Economic Forum, itself a leader of even more obscure policymaking bodies. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission polices compliance, and spins the revolving door of Fortune 100 executives, nongovernmental technocrats, and public administrators. The boot on the neck of the middle class is the commonality of both government and corporations. At the highest levels, there is no meaningful difference.

BlackRock has been rewarded handsomely for its leadership of the cartel. The U.S. Federal Reserve Bank made an unprecedented arrangement with BlackRock last year, allowing the firm to purchase securities on behalf of the Fed, which in turn invested in BlackRock funds, its first ever purchase of  ETFs or corporate bonds. What a lucky break for the world’s largest private asset manager.

The Fed itself is perhaps the paragon of government-corporate opacity. Despite its statutory privilege to print dollars and purchase the sovereign debt of the American taxpayer, its ownership is a conglomeration of regional banks owned by unspecified private entities. When former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) humbly proposed that the American public deserved to know how the Fed decides whom to bail out and why, Congress’ greatest libertarian was cynically told his questions constituted undue government interference in the free market.