We hear a lot about corporate social responsibility these days. Look at the website of any large corporation and you’ll see statements about diversity and inclusion, support for progressive political causes and a commitment to making the world a better place. But to Vivek Ramaswamy, much of this is a scam. Beneath the surface, he argues, you’ll find a cynical and hypocritical attempt by corporations to conceal a multitude of sins, from muzzling employees who criticise China to failing to protect their own women workers in countries with poor human rights.
Unlike most critics of capitalism, Ramaswamy is not a man of the Left. A first-generation American and successful biotech entrepreneur, he has seen from the inside what he calls ‘the modern woke-industrial complex’ – corporate America’s game of pretending to care about social justice in order to make money. He believes that by mixing morality with consumerism, corporate elites prey on our insecurities about who we really are. They sell us cheap social causes and skin-deep identities to satisfy our hunger for a cause and our search for meaning, at a moment when we lack both.
On August 23 Ramaswamy came to Intelligence Squared to discuss the ideas in his new book Woke, Inc.: Inside the Social Justice Scam. As well as describing what he calls the hypocrisy of the new corporate agenda, he promises to show us a better way forward. Corporate elites may want to sort us into demographic boxes, he will claim, but we don’t have to stay there. Join us for an exploration of what it means to be a member of society in 2021: a journey that Ramaswamy says begins with cynicism and ends with hope.
Praise for Woke, Inc.: Inside the Social Justice Scam
‘The single most informative and insightful analysis yet of woke ideology…Woke, Inc. is indispensable for understanding how America’s newest and most consequential cultural dogma is fundamentally transforming virtually every sector of our lives‘ – Glenn Greenwald, author of Securing Democracy
‘A provocative critique, wrapped in a gripping personal story that pulls you in from page one. Vivek Ramaswamy is breakthrough brilliant and arrestingly original. Woke, Inc. is essential reading for anyone who cares about America’s democracy, economy, and future’ – Amy Chua, Yale Law professor and author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations
Speakers subject to change.