Explainer: How woke capitalism captured our imagination
- In the US, Fortune 500 CEOs are lending their voices to a variety of causes ranging from LGBT rights to climate change, drawing charges of “wokeism” from politicians, some of who are openly demanding that corporate leaders should stay clear of political debates.
The core purpose of a company is to deliver profits to shareholders. In “free-market capitalism", the invisible hand of the market, which is essentially market players guided by their calculations of their self-interest, is believed to result in the best possible outcomes for all. This doctrine expects not only government to get out of the way of market participants taking unhindered decisions, it also frees business from social or other responsibilities beyond delivering profits to shareholders. But, as was always visible, but became especially undeniable after the global financial crisis of 2008, “free-market" capitalism doesn’t deliver across all sets of circumstances.