WASHINGTON, DC, Jan 20 — Healthcare and technology entrepreneur and political commentator Vivek Ramaswamy says big-time capitalist investing companies have gone “woke” and are supporting so-called social causes instead of doing the job they are supposed to be doing– making a profit for their investors. Ramaswamy recently joined Rebecca Weber, CEO of the Association of Mature American Citizens, in her Better For America AMAC podcast. Last year, he launched Strive Asset Management, a new firm focused on restoring the voices of everyday citizens in the American economy by leading companies to focus on excellence over politics.
According to Ramaswamy, America’s three largest asset management firms, BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard have been using the money everyday citizens invest with them to “advance environmental and social objectives” instead of maximizing their financial objectives. The way it works, he said, is they make large investments in companies like Apple or Chevron, which gives them voting rights, which in turn gives them the right to use the money of everyday Americans to force the companies to make business decisions they would not otherwise be willing to make.
Ramaswamy said it is things such as the left turn these asset management firms have made that prompted him to create Strive. “This is a widespread phenomenon [that allows] many of these financial institutions to apply constraints, like diversity, hiring mandates and racial quota systems, and emissions caps in the United States without doing it in China, which actually gives China a competitive advantage. I sometimes talk about the Petro China example, where some of the very projects that Chevron and other companies dropped [were] picked up by firms like Petro China on the other side of the world. And then you look at who’s one of the large shareholders of Petro China. It’s none other than BlackRock, the very firm that was pressuring companies like Exxon, and Chevron to drop those projects.”
He said “this is pervasive. It’s widespread. The problem runs deep. They’re also using the private sector to advance objectives that the government couldn’t get through the front door. I think that’s a subversion of American democracy because our Founding Fathers did not envision a fourth branch of government on Wall Street or in Silicon Valley doing the work of the American people who were supposed to pass public policy through a process ordained in a Constitutional, self-governing, Democratic-Republican society. I’m a believer that some of this can be addressed through the market. What I’m doing with Strive is to offer a market alternative to the BlackRock and State Street and Vanguards of the world to bring a different voice and vote to the table.”
Ramaswamy added that he’s not saying “that we’re not going to invest in certain companies or invest in others, but instead in index funds with the general approach to just own various sectors or even the broad market, to bring a different voice and vote to the boardroom and to the table as a shareholder, [allowing] these companies to focus on excellence over politics, on their products and services for profit over social agendas without apologizing for it. I personally think that’s the essence of the American national identity itself to pursue excellence unapologetically. That’s part of what it means to be American. And that’s a big part of what I think we can address, both through the market and hopefully through a revival of national identity in our politics as well. I think both of those can actually be not one or the other, but I think both of those can help make a difference.”
A moral vacuum has been created in the marketplace, he said, and that is part of the reason some institutions have “embraced secular religions like ‘wokeism’ or transgenderism or climate-ism or communism or whatever it is [that makes] some people and institutions hungry for deeper purpose and meaning. That is why depression abounds, anxiety abounds, and mental illness abounds in our generation. I think this is an opportunity not just for the conservative movement, but for a new pro-American movement in our country to fill that void with this vision of American identity that centers on pursuing excellence without apologizing for it.”
He concluded by saying that “once we realize that we’re actually co-equal citizens with an equal voice, then we can each pursue excellence as free citizens in our own lives the way we want to without our apologizing for it. I think that vision of American identity can actually fill this moral hunger that my generation has, so that we’re not filling it with the fast food of wokeism instead. I think that each of us needs to — and this is hopefully something that everyone listening to this program does — look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, what small role can I play in making that cultural identity a reality, be it at an executive team meeting you have at your company, be it at your school board, be it if you’re a politician in the debates you’re having in your state capital or in Congress. It’s going to take every one of those forums to recreate that American national identity that we have lost.”