The Rise of Woke Capitalism

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This is a podcast episode titled, The Rise of Woke Capitalism. The summary for this episode is: <p>If you commercialize social activism or service, does that cheapen social justice? Should CEOs of a company use their company's platform to enforce their ethical agenda? In today's episode, <a href="https://twitter.com/KeithSimon_/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Keith</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/PatrickKMiller_" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Patrick</a> take a look at these questions and many more. They discuss the moral limitations to what capitalism should be involved in. They start with LLCs and the dark side that can live in an LLC. Then you'll hear a deep dive into shareholder and stakeholder capitalism and the problems that can come with each: dangerous hypocrisy, covering up wrongdoings, a lack of social trust, and more. Listen now for a complete discussion on the rise of woke capitalism.</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Ok, truth time... Did you like this episode?</strong> Tell us by leaving a rating or review! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 If you did, you won't want to miss what's next (so subscribe now!). And help a friend by sharing this with them. Thank you! πŸ™</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Plus, the conversation is just beginning! </strong>Follow us on <a href="https://twitter.com/truthovertribe_" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/ChooseTruthOverTribe" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, and <a href="https://www.instagram.com/accounts/login/?next=/truthovertribe_/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Instagram</a> to join in on the dialogue! <strong>Want to learn more about Truth Over Tribe?</strong> Visit our <a href="https://info.choosetruthovertribe.com/subscribe?utm_campaign=TOT%20Campaign%203B&amp;utm_source=Show%20Notes%20" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">website</a> and subscribe to our weekly <a href="https://choosetruthovertribe.com/?utm_campaign=TOT%20Campaign%203B&amp;utm_source=Show%20Notes%20-%20website" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">newsletter</a>.</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Resources:</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Woke-Inc-Corporate-Americas-Justice/dp/1546090789/ref=sr_1_1?crid=10XMTRRTZSNMH&amp;dchild=1&amp;keywords=woke+inc+book+vivek+ramaswamy&amp;qid=1633103483&amp;sprefix=woke+inc+%2Caps%2C173&amp;sr=8-1" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Woke, Inc</a></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Apostle-Crucified-Lord-Theological-Introduction/dp/0802874282/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2YZJSK9HA3RQC&amp;dchild=1&amp;keywords=apostle+of+the+crucified+lord&amp;qid=1633103693&amp;sprefix=apostle+of+the+%2Caps%2C172&amp;sr=8-1" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Apostle of the Crucified Lord: A Theological Introduction to Paul and His Letters</a></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Old-Testament-Ethics-People-God/dp/0830839615/ref=sr_1_1?crid=8SGPPD5URT3E&amp;dchild=1&amp;keywords=old+testament+ethics+for+the+people+of+god&amp;qid=1633103660&amp;sprefix=old+testament+ethics+%2Caps%2C175&amp;sr=8-1" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Old Testament Ethics for the People of God</a></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Craig-L-Blomberg-Biblical-Possessions/dp/B00HTJP0A0/ref=sr_1_2?crid=3IU1XJQ4NYXM7&amp;dchild=1&amp;keywords=neither+poverty+nor+riches+a+biblical+theology+of+possessions&amp;qid=1633103567&amp;sprefix=neither+pover%2Caps%2C172&amp;sr=8-2" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">By Craig L. Blomberg - Neither Poverty nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Possessions</a></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/What-Money-Cant-Buy-Markets/dp/0374533652/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2W2U281J9EL1X&amp;dchild=1&amp;keywords=what+money+can%27t+buy&amp;qid=1633103514&amp;sprefix=what+money+can%27t+%2Caps%2C179&amp;sr=8-1" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets</a></p><p><a href="http://info.choosetruthovertribe.com/how-tribal-are-you" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">How Tribal Are You?</a></p>
The economic world of Jesus - What does the New Testament say about money
02:43 MIN
Why people open up an LLC
02:48 MIN
The dark side of an LLC
01:51 MIN
Shareholder and stakeholder capitalism
04:44 MIN
Stakeholder capitalism and how it can produce dangerous hypocrisy
03:20 MIN
The real problem with stakeholder capitalism
00:39 MIN
Cronyism from the left and the right
02:56 MIN
George Orwell quote - Diversity
01:57 MIN
The story of James Damore
01:58 MIN
Stakeholder capitalism eroding social trust
02:13 MIN
Christians have to navigate their economics
02:24 MIN

Patrick Miller: Are you tired of tribalism?

Speaker 1: I think a lot of what the left supports is satanic.

Speaker 2: The only time religious freedom is invoked is in the name of bigotry and discrimination.

Patrick Miller: Are you exhausted by the culture war?

Keith Simon: If they don't like it here, they can leave.

Speaker 3: You could put half of Trump supporters into, what I call, the basket of deplorables.

Keith Simon: Are you suspicious of those who say Jesus endorses their political party?

Keith Simon: Is it possible to be a good Christian and also be a member of the Republican party? And the answer is absolutely not.

Speaker 4: From certainly a biblical standpoint, Christians could not vote democratic.

Patrick Miller: We trust the Lamb, not the donkey or the elephant.

Keith Simon: This is the podcast that's too liberal for conservatives and too conservative for liberals.

Patrick Miller: I'm Patrick Miller.

Keith Simon: And I'm Keith Simon and we choose truth over tribe.

Patrick Miller: Do you? If you followed the news last screen, you probably saw that the major league baseball association moved its All- star game from Georgia to Colorado in a protest of Georgia's voter ID laws. The message was really clear," Enforce our corporation's politics in regards to this particular issue, voter ID, or you're going to lose out on millions in revenue". And it's a message, interestingly, that me as an everyday person can never possibly give. In fact, a small business can never possibly send that message. And it's a message that creates tremendous incentive for compliance from states and from people who are running cities and government.

Keith Simon: And it's really not new. Disney said they were going to pull out of Georgia over an abortion law. The NCA threatened to move the championship in the final four of basketball out of North Carolina because of their bathroom bills. Similar threats were made against the state of Indiana when they were thinking about enacting a religious freedom law that just reflected the national law. So these big businesses are able to exert their power and influence in a way that we're asking, is that healthy for democracy? And we're not the only ones asking this question. All the way back in 2015, the New York Times columnist Ross Douthat called this" woke capitalism".

Patrick Miller: And I think we're not merely asking, is this good for democracy? We're also asking, as Christians, how should we think through this? What I mean when I say that is, these stories bring up incredible ethical questions that I do think the Bible has something to say to. Here's some examples. Does the commercialization of a thing, does that actually change the thing? So if you commercialize social activism or service, does that change social activism and service?

Keith Simon: Should CEOs of a company use their company's platform, their business power, to enforce an ethical agenda that the democratically elected legislatures are not for?

Patrick Miller: A few more. Are corporations really even qualified to be ethicists? Should they be the moral tastemakers of the 21st century?

Keith Simon: Are there moral limits to what capitalism should be involved in? In other words, is it okay to pay money to buy a kidney?

Patrick Miller: Well, and this is going to be fun, because I'm going to force you through a quiz here in just a second. crosstalk.

Keith Simon: Uh-oh, I didn't know. A pop quiz.

Patrick Miller: You really don't. I'm really excited to hear your answers.

Keith Simon: I can't wait.

Patrick Miller: Are there spheres of life where monetary sticks and carrots are inappropriate or oppressive? Are there places where exchanges of capital debates or even corrupt a thing or cheapen the social worth or utility of a thing? Put a little bit differently, are there places where markets don't belong and should we be a society with markets or should we be a market society?

Keith Simon: Well, you promised a quiz. Let's get to it.

Patrick Miller: Let's get to it. Okay. Okay. Keith it's quiz time. You ready?

Keith Simon: Love it.

Patrick Miller: You love giving people quizzes. We've really tried crosstalk.

Keith Simon: I don't like receiving quizzes.

Patrick Miller: Okay. So there's a great book by a author named Michael J. Sandel. He's a Harvard ethicist and the name of the book is" What Money Can't Buy", and he's asking some of these ethical questions we just brought up. But as I read through his book, I just started creating a list of all the different things that money can buy right now, that he's trying to ask, should money be able to buy these things? And I want to ask you, Keith, should money-

Keith Simon: Lay it on me.

Patrick Miller: You ready?

Keith Simon: Yeah.

Patrick Miller: Okay. So some of these are going to be challenging, some of them aren't, okay? So I'll start with what I think of as a non- challenging thing. Should money be able to buy sex?

Keith Simon: No.

Patrick Miller: Oh! Good answer. That's a biblical answer.

Keith Simon: No. I mean-

Patrick Miller: But this is up for-

Keith Simon: It does buy sex, right?

Patrick Miller: It does. Yeah. Yeah. It should not.

Keith Simon: Should it? No. But does it? Yes, and obviously there's disagreement. It all depends on what you think sex is.

Patrick Miller: And this is the disagreement around the term sex work. People saying sex work is real work. You should be able to buy and sell sex as much as you want to. And of course that's something the Bible has something to say about. That that's something that the market shouldn't be involved in.

Keith Simon: Because when money gets involved in sex, it demeans or devalues sex.

Patrick Miller: It does, tremendously. Here comes another one. Should you be able to pay money to hunt an endangered black rhino? I can give you more context if you want it.

Keith Simon: I'd take more context. Is this like phone a friend or what? I don't know.

Patrick Miller: So in South Africa this happens and it's a way to incentivize ranchers to basically keep and help breed black rhinos. They can sell a black rhino for$150, 000 to a hunter, who will come in, shoot it and get to take it back home, but that's how they make their money. So what do you think?

Keith Simon: I say yes, it helps the black rhinos, right? Everybody wins.

Patrick Miller: All right. All right.

Keith Simon: The hunter wins, the black rhinos win, the farmers win.

Patrick Miller: Let's get more complicated. What about shooting an endangered walrus. Now again, I'm going to give you context here. So in Canada there are Inuit tribes who... part of their lifestyle is hunting and it's always been hunting walruses. Now it's technically illegal to hunt these walruses in Canada, but a certain allotment are given to the Inuits so that they can continue their traditional way of life. Now, the Inuits decided," Well, if we get an allotment, what if we just sold the walruses, the right to hunt the walruses-

Keith Simon: Smart people.

Patrick Miller: ...to hunters. And here's the catch though, unlike the black rhino, the Inuits keep the walrus. So they keep all the meat. They keep the skins. You can't take anything home. So the only reason to shoot the walrus is because it's on a list of animals that you want to kill. And by the way, unlike a rhino, which is really difficult to hunt, they're basically water cows. You just walk up to them and shoot them.

Keith Simon: Water cows.

Patrick Miller: So what do you think about that one? Should they be able to do it?

Keith Simon: Well, I'm not a hunter, so I have zero interest in doing this, but it sounds like I'd be okay if they did it.

Patrick Miller: Okay. So I'm going to press back on this one.

Keith Simon: All right.

Patrick Miller: Here's maybe the alternative case against it, which would be this, the whole purpose of giving the Inuits the right to break the law, to hunt these endangered animals-

Keith Simon: Great exception.

Patrick Miller: Yeah. To give them an exception was because of their way of life, but part of their way of life is not in fact bringing in inaudible hunters. Well, it's true, but they do get the food from it.

Keith Simon: Yeah, they do. I mean, if you were up there and it was really cold, because I bet it's really cold inaudible, right? I think you'd be figuring out how to make some crosstalk.

Patrick Miller: Okay, here's another one.

Keith Simon: Don't hold the little man down though.

Patrick Miller: All right. Paying children to read books.

Keith Simon: Oh no, I'm definitely against that.

Patrick Miller: Oh, interesting.

Keith Simon: We never did that.

Patrick Miller: What about the state paying children to read books in areas where there's low levels of literacy?

Keith Simon: I'm sure somebody can make a decent argument for it, but personally I'm opposed. Solidly, hundred percent opposed.

Patrick Miller: Why?

Keith Simon: Because I don't like to mess with people's motivations and I think when it comes to reading or learning, motivation is really important and when you offer an extrinsic reward, something not related to the activity itself, you corrupt motivation.

Patrick Miller: So these children might not learn the joy of reading, instead they learn to read as a commodity?

Keith Simon: And as soon as the incentive is taken away, they'll stop reading.

Patrick Miller: Okay. Here's another fun one. How about speeding, right? So there was a-

Keith Simon: Hmm, I like this.

Patrick Miller: Okay. So here's the deal. It was in Nevada. I can't remember what office this guy was running for, but his platform was that he wanted to allow people to pay money to speed up to 90 miles per hour on back Nevada highways. You could just pay a certain money in the day and you couldn't get pulled over for doing this. What do you think?

Keith Simon: I love the idea. I do it anyway, even without that protection. I don't know. I would say that it probably endangers other people. At least that would be the thought.

Patrick Miller: Yeah.

Keith Simon: So you probably shouldn't do that.

Patrick Miller: Okay. Okay. I've got a few more. I want to run you by. Okay, line jumping at an amusement park.

Keith Simon: Well, it happens all the time. crosstalk.

Patrick Miller: So this is being sold at all of them.

Keith Simon: So I think, yes.

Patrick Miller: Okay, but don't you find it interesting that in a lot of these amusement parks, when you get that right, that feature, they have to have someone who goes with you to basically legitimize what you're doing, because it totally breaks... I mean, it used to be amusement parks were the place where it didn't matter how much money you had. Everybody had to wait in the same line, but now you can get brought up to the front, but it seems a little dirty.

Keith Simon: It's been a long time since I've been to Disney World, but they had this fast pass.

Patrick Miller: That's what it is. Yeah.

Keith Simon: And somebody else paid for it, but nobody had to go with us. You just had a different color ticket.

Patrick Miller: Okay.

Keith Simon: And you'd kind of scour the ground, hoping somebody dropped one of their fast passes so that you could jump the line.

Patrick Miller: Jump on it?

Keith Simon: But this happens all the time, just so you know. Like if you go to a sporting event, you don't go sit down with the common people if you have money. You sit up in a suite. If you go and-

Patrick Miller: And there's different entrances where you can park right next to the entrance and get in very easily.

Keith Simon: Yes. You must have taken advantage of some of those. I wouldn't know those things.

Patrick Miller: Oh yeah, I'm sorry.

Keith Simon: crosstalk but it sounds like you do, but this is just the way life is. How about airlines?

Patrick Miller: Yes.

Keith Simon: You get first class and then the people sit behind you.

Patrick Miller: And if you get first class, a lot of times you can go through the special TSA line so you can bypass even the security line.

Keith Simon: Well, I just went and got pre- checked and so now I can do that. You don't have to buy first class. But the most demeaning thing is when you're sitting in the back and then they close that curtain. Like," Oh, you can't see what's happening up here".

Patrick Miller: Don't watch. Okay. Can I do another line jumping one that I think is a little more iffy. What about paying... So lobbyists paying homeless people to wait in lines for congressional hearings? So they pay a homeless person, the homeless person will wait, oftentimes for very, very long hours to get in. The homeless person loves it, I'm getting some money, and the lobbyist loves it because when you're in the congressional hearing, now you get a chance to go and talk to lawmakers and chum it up with them.

Keith Simon: I assume that the only reason you'd be against that is because you think it is unfair that people who don't have the bank accounts of a lobbyist don't have access to this, but that's the way the world works. I mean, the reality is that there is an unequal distribution of financial resources. So if a homeless person makes money off of it, great.

Patrick Miller: Yeah. No, that would be the alternative case, which is if you don't have the money to pay to someone to wait, you now have to use your time to wait, which of course has an impact on your ability to affect laws being made and in a sense is making it seem as though you are selling time with congresspeople.

Keith Simon: Am I flunking this test?

Patrick Miller: No, I'm just... You're not flunking it.

Keith Simon: A-moral, immoral? What am I?

Patrick Miller: I think it's interesting. Okay. Here's our last one. Is it okay to pay someone to do a apology on your behalf? This happens. In China, you can pay people to go to whoever you've wronged and they will offer an apology in your place.

Keith Simon: That's wrong.

Patrick Miller: Why?

Keith Simon: Well, because it seems like it-

Patrick Miller: I mean the apology giver wins, the person who paid for the apology, they win, they get to apologize.

Keith Simon: As you go through these, one of the things I'm realizing is that sometimes money corrupts the thing that you're buying and sometimes it doesn't. And I know it's gray and it's not always clear to everybody, but it seems like an apology is something that needs to come from the person who committed the crime or who hurt the person. You don't get to hire someone else to do your apology. It goes to the very sincerity of the apology. It corrupts the very thing you're trying to do.

Patrick Miller: It corrupts it. It makes it so that it's no longer authentic. It's no longer the thing it was. The minute you buy and sell an apology, it ceases to be an apology.

Keith Simon: That's right. That's so... No.

Patrick Miller: Yeah. So I think these are interesting examples.

Keith Simon: Yeah, they're super interesting.

Patrick Miller: And I have so many more. In fact, I'll just say this. We're probably going to do a part two of this episode with someone who has a lot of expertise in finances. His name's Brent Bishore. He owns a private equity company and I'm going to run him through the same gambit. I've got a whole nother list though. I mean, I can just keep going on these. They're so interesting. And we'll see what he says to some of them.

Keith Simon: See if he's right or wrong, whether he agrees with me or not.

Patrick Miller: Well, no, I'm going to give him different ones.

Keith Simon: Oh, okay.

Patrick Miller: You missed out on some of the most fun ones actually. So tune in to that next episode and you'll get to hear some of the questions.

Keith Simon: I'll be there.

Patrick Miller: Here's the main point though, it goes back to our fundamental question. Are there places where the market doesn't belong? There are places where the market debases or even changes a thing, and this really matters when we start talking about how businesses are getting involved in social activism or social causes. Does it change the thing? So to help us think through this, we're going to talk about a number of topics today and hopefully you'll learn something in the process, but I think the best place to start since we're pastors is actually back to the economic world of Jesus and seeing what the New Testament says about money.

Keith Simon: Yeah. So let's think about the economic world that Jesus lived in. And we often don't think that way when we read our Bible and yet Jesus talks about money more than any other topic. He lived in a world that had an economic system, even though it was not like the one that we have.

Patrick Miller: Yeah. I mean, he didn't live in a world where capitalism existed or socialism existed. In fact, where really any of the market systems, which are functioning today existed, he lived in a very different universe.

Keith Simon: And yet at the same time, there were some similarities because Rome was very, very, very socially stratified. So if you had power and wealth, that gave you the opportunity to access all kinds of privileges, kind of like what we were talking about earlier. But there were a very few people at the top of the Roman society who had a lot of money. There was a lot of social inequality. Again, not completely unlike ours, except on steroids, far more than what we experience.

Patrick Miller: The elite definitely had the biggest pots of money, and they were able to use that money to great personal benefits and great political benefit. I mean, Rome was a world where quid pro quo, which is a Latin phrase for a reason, was just the way of doing things. Cronyism was just the way of doing things. Patronage... So this would be where a wealthy patron would basically pay money to people to fight for their interest and say great things about them. This was the way of doing things. Now in Rome, the elite class only made up about 3% of the population. At the very top you've got the Roman emperor who had unrivaled wealth and power because he was able to tax people insanely. I mean, that's how they got all of their wealth. Below them you've got senators. These were wealthy power players. And equestrians. These were kind of a class of high ranking military and political figures.

Keith Simon: Isn't that horses? Is that why they're called equestrians? They rode around on horses?

Patrick Miller: I do believe they had horses and I think that we got that word later on from them. And you also had Decurions who were aristocrats, who had land and wealth, but usually their power was local. So they'd live around the Roman empire. But the thing that I think you really have to understand is that their wealth, it came from taxation, it came from property ownership and it came also from the spoils of war.

Keith Simon: It sounds kind of like a fundraising form or something. You inaudible platinum, gold, silver, copper, bronze. What level of contribution do you want to make? Or what level of privilege and access do you have to power, to influence? And that's exactly how Rome was built. So at the top, like Patrick said, you had this elite, but that was only a very small percentage. Maybe 3%.

Patrick Miller: Yeah, 3%. And it's also worth saying that within that 3% are what economists would probably call the" managerial class". So these were priests, bureaucrats who... they didn't have as much-

Keith Simon: Priests were in the 3%? Dude, I was born at the wrong time.

Patrick Miller: Well Roman priests... I know, know. Not Christian priests. It depended on the kind of priest you were. But they were bureaucrats. They kept the machinery of power running and so they worked right with these kind of power players and they benefited from it tremendously. They were also among the elites. Now kind of in the next 5 to 15% of Rome, you have wealthy merchants and artisans. Now it'd be easy for us to think of this as a middle class. There really is no comparison to the middle class in ancient Rome. If you were a wealthy artisan, you just had a moderate surplus of financial resources, so it wasn't like you were rolling in it. They also tend to lack social power.

Keith Simon: And these artisans were part of the trade guilds and it was built around your job, your career, your vocation, what you did for a living. But they were more than union. They were a place of social activism, a place where they worshiped together. They were a communal living that you associated with people in your class.

Patrick Miller: Yeah, it sounds super weird to us today, the way that work and religion and politics, really all...

Keith Simon: Merged together.

Patrick Miller: Those weren't separate categories, they all merged together. And so your guild, like a union, would lobby in favor of your guild's interest with the local magistrate. So," Hey, we want to get the best taxation rates. We want to make sure that we can sell in all the best places", but they also collectively worshiped idols. They especially worshiped the idol of Artemis. She was the common goddess in Roman guilds.

Keith Simon: And isn't this one of the big struggles that Christians had? Could they be a part of these guilds because they included idol worship? And if you were refused to partake in idol worship, then that put you in a position of-

Patrick Miller: You don't get the benefit of being in the guild.

Keith Simon: And maybe that means that I have to pay an economic price because I don't have access to the same career opportunities.

Patrick Miller: Well, and it's worth pointing out the guilds were essentially cronyism. They were paying out money and paying out special favors to the power players in their cities to get special favors in return. That's quid pro quo. It's economically corrupt.

Keith Simon: The vast majority of the people living in Rome... So we're talking 80, 85% of the people, were poor. They lived at or below subsistence level. Some of these were slaves and some of them were people who used to be slaves, but who had been bought out or able to work off the debt that they owed. These were people on the bottom rung of society. And again, it's the vast majority of society fit into this category.

Patrick Miller: Yeah. And as you continue to move your way down below even slaves and freed persons, you had the working poor. So these were day laborers and farmers. And then you had the bottom 25% who were living below a subsistence level. So they didn't have enough to eat. They didn't have necessarily great places to live. They were below the subsistence level. It's about 25% of the population and that was made up of widows, orphans and prisoners.

Keith Simon: And so, as you read through your new Testament, you realize that there are Christians who are involved at every one-

Patrick Miller: Every level.

Keith Simon: ...of these levels. So Paul talks to the common person and tells them to work hard with their hands. And if they don't, then they won't eat. They're kind of worse than an unbeliever. But then you also see people, especially some women who obviously come from more of the upper class. There's Joanna, she's a household manager of Herod. There's Lydia, Acts 16, and she's a wealthy person.

Patrick Miller: Joanna would've been in the top 3%. She was a retainer for the local powers, the household of Herod, and so she had a lot of wealth and a lot of power, and she used that wealth and power to help Jesus in his ministry, to help the disciples in their ministry. It's actually quite likely that Romans 16 talks about a female apostle named Junia and there's scholars like Richard Bauckham, who think that that actually might have been Joanna.

Keith Simon: Oh really? I didn't know that.

Patrick Miller: Yeah.

Keith Simon: Huh. So then you have somebody like Cornelius, who you read about in Acts 10 and 11. He is a Roman military leader. So he would be in that second tier that we've talked about, that 5 to 15%. He had a big household and so he was a person of wealth and of means.

Patrick Miller: Yeah, and he was employing that household to his household's benefit and interest. Lydia, who you already mentioned, would've been in that second class. She was an artisan, she sold died goods, which would've made her a very wealthy woman and she actually ran her own household as well. And so all this to say, you find Christians, again, on every level of this very stratified society, which meant that Christians at every level had to think through," How do I navigate economics as a follower of Jesus". No one got a pass.

Keith Simon: And the gospel kind of interrupted or disrupted, you might say, the Roman economic system, because yes, there were Christians at all different levels, but what the gospel called them to do was to live in a community where you cared for one another and you saw your resources as something to be shared with others in need. So if you think of Acts two and Acts four when the church is beginning to form, one of the things that were told about them is that they shared with those who had need. And that was pretty different than Roman society.

Patrick Miller: Interestingly, it was really a reflection of the guild. So the church was functioning almost in the role of the guild, providing for each other's needs mutually in a very community oriented way. Along the same lines, we notice that in the new Testament, cronyism and corruption, this quid pro quo thing, they're rejected. So for example, Paul's imprisoned for two years because he won't give a bribe to someone. Paul refuses to do it. Another example of this is the rejection of patronage, the political games that people played. Paul in second Thessalonians 3: 11 says this. He says," We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy, they are busy bodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat". Now, we often take this to be a passage against laziness, which sure enough, I mean yeah, we probably should warn against laziness, but he was talking about people in the patronage system who were going from house to house to try to find new patrons. He's saying," You're just being busybodies. You aren't adding anything to society. You aren't being productive. You've got to get out of this system of patronage and political favors".

Keith Simon: And then there's the small book of Philemon, and Philemon is a person of wealth, of means. He has a large household. He even has slaves. And one of his slaves, Onesimus, has fled and he's met up with Paul and somewhere along the line, Onesimus has become a believer. And now Paul is sending Onesimus back to Philemon and tells him," Take this letter to Philemon". And one of the things he encourages Philemon to do is to treat Onesimus as a brother.

Patrick Miller: Which is a shocking thing for an owner to do with a slave in Rome.

Keith Simon: And it's one of Paul's ways of undermining that system of owning people. And what that means of course for Philemon is, if he's going to treat Onesimus, his slave, as a brother, that's going to be a costly obedience because now he's going to have to give him his freedom.

Patrick Miller: He's going to have to free him. That's the only way.

Keith Simon: And that is going to come at a financial cost.

Patrick Miller: A few other interesting examples. Jesus believed that, by the way, there were some goods that shouldn't be commercialized. There are places where the market shouldn't be welcome. One of my favorite ones was that he critiqued the Pharisees for commercializing disregard of parents. And so the Pharisees taught that instead of giving money to your parents to help care for them, as you should, even according to the Torah, they said if you declare it Corban, in other words, if you give it away as a gift, then you can put it somewhere else. You can imagine a kid who says," I don't like my mom and dad. I'm just going to declare this Corban and make sure that they never see it", and Jesus says," You are commercializing caring it for parents. You cannot do that". He also critiqued people who only invited movers and shakers over for dinner. This is part of that patronage system again, remember? If you invite someone over and the whole purpose is to get them to invite you back and get you into their circles, Jesus says that's just quid pro quo. You can do it, but that's not true hospitality.

Keith Simon: Yeah, that's in Luke 14 where he tells them to go out and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, the lame. Break down this system. So Christians have always had to navigate the economic system that they lived in and the Bible doesn't really advocate for one type of economic system.

Patrick Miller: No, it never does.

Keith Simon: But what it does call for, both in the Old and New Testaments, is economic justice. It warns against commercializing things that shouldn't be commercialized. Back to the bribes, like you said, this time in the Old Testament, and that's called injustice when you use your wealth to buy things from a judge that really shouldn't be for sale.

Patrick Miller: The same thing actually goes for what we talked about with sex. Shouldn't be for sale. There are places where the market doesn't belong. And so like Keith is saying, there's lots of warnings that we can take from the Old and New Testament, and it helps us as Christians to realize that we're going to be in different kinds of economic systems. There are Christians in China who are in a socialist system. There's Christians in America who are in a capitalist system, and how we navigate that is a matter of tremendous importance to Jesus. And that's what we want to talk about today because the system of capitalism in the United States is undergoing, what some people might describe as an" evolution", which is positive. Other people might describe it as a de- evolution or just a transformation into something different. Now I just want to say this, Keith and I are not economists. We aren't claiming to have expertise here. We are trying to present arguments which have been laid out by people with far more expertise than us. In particular, I already mentioned Michael J. Sandel's book, What Money Can't Buy. Another great book that we are going to refer to and steal all kinds of stories from is Vivek Ramaswamy's book," Woke, Inc.". I just encourage you to go check it out. I thought it was a fabulous book.

Keith Simon: Yeah. I listened to it and just couldn't stop, so then I bought it and read it after I listened to it.

Patrick Miller: It's so, so, so, so good. And like I said, in our second part of this series, we're going to talk with someone who does have more expertise than us, to try to present a positive vision of what Christians and capitalism could be together. So let's move on though and talk about our economic system. You might not realize it, but capitalism has a secret, super, and a secret, super power, one might say, and that is LLCs. Limited liability corporations. So let's try to explain, Keith, really quick what an LLC is. Do you have an LLC? My family actually has an LLC.

Keith Simon: What?

Patrick Miller: Yeah.

Keith Simon: You do?

Patrick Miller: Uh- huh.

Keith Simon: No, I don't have an LLC.

Patrick Miller: I don't have an LLC for me. It's for Emily. She does interior design and she has some of that business on the side so we actually just opened up an LLC.

Keith Simon: Interesting.

Patrick Miller: Uh-huh(affirmative).

Keith Simon: Because you're afraid of getting sued?

Patrick Miller: Well, okay. So this-

Keith Simon: I mean, it kind of goes... All right, so imagine. Well should we go down Emily?

Patrick Miller: Yeah, let's go have that example.

Keith Simon: All right. So let's say that Emily owns an interior design business and she wants to expand it. She wants to hire more workers, she maybe wants to franchise into different parts of the country, but when you do that, you accept a lot of risks as the owner. I mean, what if someone gets hurt? What if you mess up somebody's house?

Patrick Miller: Let me get some examples. Like, let's say Emily hires some people to become movers for her because they're bringing in furniture, setting up furniture and let's say one of those workers drops a giant desk on their foot and breaks their foot.

Keith Simon: Now, are they going to sue Emily?

Patrick Miller: Yeah. Emily and I will not start this company if that person is able to Sue us, because they'll be able to take the shirt off our back. We don't have enough wealth to really be able to defend ourselves against that kind of thing.

Keith Simon: So the LLC protects you. It allows the person who is injured to sue the business, but not you as an individual.

Patrick Miller: Exactly. So they could sue the business, they couldn't sue us. And we could pull out all kinds of other examples. Like you just said, let's say she was doing design in a home, although that's not usually her emphasis, but if she was doing design in a home and someone received a couch that was-

Keith Simon: Defective?

Patrick Miller: Defective. Exactly. Which had nothing to do with Emily, it was whatever company brought it in. They might want to sue Emily and say," You've given me a defective couch. You need to be responsible". Well, they could sue the company, but they could not sue us.

Keith Simon: And this even goes further because like I said, if she wanted to open up other branches of this office, she would want to go out and raise capital from people to invest in it to allow her to expand the business. But if those people who are in-

Keith Simon: ...to allow her to expand the business. But if those people who are investing capital in her business were therefore personally responsible-

Patrick Miller: They could get sued.

Keith Simon: ...to pay for every couch dropped on someone's toe, you could imagine that there's no possible way they would invest in Emily's business. So the LLC not only protects Emily, but it also protects her investors.

Patrick Miller: And some people have called the LLC the greatest invention of the last century, because it's imaginary. It's giving people a power they don't have on their own. Normally, you should just be able to sue us, but now that you can sue the corporation, it allows my wife and I to take risks that we wouldn't take in hiring people and creating wealth and creating opportunity. And that's what makes the capitalist system work. Now, I just want to say this. Someone's going to hear this and say," So are you against people trying to sue if someone dropped the couch on their foot?" Well, no, they can sue the company. If Emily is constantly hiring too few movers and that's why they're dropping couches on their feet all the time. Well, she does bear a responsibility, but it's not a personal responsibility.

Keith Simon: Yeah, it absolutely still allows recourse for those who are hurt and injured, but it kind of is a good segue to the dark sides of the LLC. Because what some people say is this protection encourages people to take unnecessary risks to go after short- term gains. And that those short- term gains come at a cost to society. So you probably have heard recently in the news of Purdue Pharma, this is the business that people think were largely responsible for the opioid crisis in which they...

Patrick Miller: ...illegally marketed a painkiller that killed hundreds of thousands of people globally.

Keith Simon: They were very careless and reckless. They were sending millions of painkillers out and they knew.

Patrick Miller: That's why they're bankrupt now because they got sued. And guess what they found? They said," Yeah, you are responsible for this." But that's the catch. It was Purdue Pharma that got sued. You know who didn't get sued?

Keith Simon: The Sackler family, who made untold millions, maybe billions of dollars...

Patrick Miller: Billions. They're multibillionaires.

Keith Simon: ...off of Purdue Pharma. So the dark side is, here Purdue Pharma helped advance the opioid crisis-

Patrick Miller: To the benefit of the Sackler family.

Keith Simon: And they walk away billionaires, but a lot of other people are addicted to opioids.

Patrick Miller: Opioids. And the company that did it, it's now bankrupt. It's gone. So I mean, it doesn't exist anymore, but the individuals who were behind that company bore no personal responsibility. That's the dark side. I think another example of this is Donald Trump. He's able to remain a billionaire, even though he's had countless properties that have defaulted. He's defaulted on debts, including payments to contractors struggling to make ends meet. Why does Trump get to stay a billionaire while his properties are defaulting? It's the LLC. You can't sue Donald Trump personally for his business dealings. Now I want to say, there's actually another dark side of the LLC. And I feel like I'm going to have to say this a million times. I'm not against LLCs. I'm so thankful that we-

Keith Simon: You have one.

Patrick Miller: We have one. But there are dark sides. The other side is a side that you don't hear people talking about as much because it's the new dark side, which is slowly growing in our midst. And this is what happens when corporations make ideologically driven decisions or they advocate for questionable social changes with both money and their voice, and the people at the top, they don't have to face the consequences. You can sue the corporation, but you can't sue the person who owns the business.

Keith Simon: So here's an example that Vivek Ramaswamy mentions in his book. There's a truck driver named Emmanuel Cafferty. He's a Latino gentleman. He's working this day. He's out driving his truck. He pulls up to a stoplight and next to him in a car, a guy's screaming and yelling at him, flipping him off, all upset. And Cafferty doesn't know what in the world is going on, so he's just kind of sitting there trying to deescalate the tension. And the guy next to him, all of a sudden, seems happy now, and he's showing him the okay sign with his hand. And it's as if he's trying to get Cafferty, the truck driver, to say okay, as well, like," Okay, we're all good now." And so that's what Emmanuel Cafferty does. He does the okay sign with his hand and the guy in the car who'd been yelling and screaming at him now takes a picture of him. Well, you probably know this, but some people believe that the okay sign, or what at least appears like that to you and I, is really a white supremacist signal.

Patrick Miller: Well, it has been taken over by some white supremacist groups as a signal. I think saying that everybody holding it up is a white supremacist is insane.

Keith Simon: Insane, like really insane. And to say this Latino truck driver who's just sitting at a traffic light, trying to deescalate a conflict, holding up his hand and making an okay gesture so he can drive off.

Patrick Miller: Who has no idea that it's a white supremacist sign.

Keith Simon: No, I mean, he's just trying to live his life, but his company fired him. His company fired him, this Latino truck driver, for giving a white supremacist hand signal. Now the LLC says that you can't sue the owner of the company for wrongful termination. You can sue the company, but you can't sue the owner. So not only does it protect the Sackler family who made billions off the opioid crisis, but it also protects the owner from using their ideology to hurt people.

Patrick Miller: And to press this one step further. I mean, so he's fired for according to them, imperiling diversity. That was his crime.

Keith Simon: Imperiling diversity?

Patrick Miller: Imperiling diversity. Now here's the problem. It is inevitable that the owners, the company, did realize that he had no idea what he was doing, but they did not care. Why? Because they didn't want the PR scandal of bringing this guy back on. So they do the wrong thing. They leave him fired. They're not bringing this guy back, but there's nothing he can do as a truck driver. So he's going to sue a corporation with all the money that he has.

Keith Simon: Yeah. He doesn't have the financial resources to sue the company.

Patrick Miller: And he doesn't even have a case, because they can fire you. So this is the challenge that he's going to face personally, and it's what the LLC protects him from. So this is just two things. The first thing is where we started. There's a debate out there about whether corporations should seek after long- term or short- term gains. And of course, we see the cost of seeking after short- term games in the story of Purdue Pharma. Now, the reason why this is a debate is because if society gives you the superpower, Keith Simon, of not being sued for what your company does, don't you owe something back to society? Don't you owe something to the people who are allowing you to do this amazing thing that you could not do otherwise?

Keith Simon: You do owe something to society, but the question is, what do you owe them?

Patrick Miller: And I think that leads to the second half of this equation. If companies do owe something back to society, if they should be invested in social welfare, in the good of the people who have given them this amazing superpower of the LLC, what do they owe? Because if they pursued social justice or these social causes in a way that harms people, shouldn't they be held accountable? Should the owners of these companies be free from being sued in the exact same way that the Purdue Pharma family was free from being sued? That's the question that we're exploring.

Keith Simon: So let's take a moment and think what was the economic situation for companies before LLCs were a thing? And what would happen is our government would give charters to businesses and corporations to do a project. So for example, if you were a railroad company, you would go to the government and seek a charter to build railroads. And you would have that superpower of not being liable to lawsuits, at least the owner, personally, of course, the corporation always is liable. You would have that superpower as long as you stuck to what was included in your charter. But if a railroad company started building roads, they would lose that superpower.

Patrick Miller: So now we're facing a similar challenge. If we're giving people the superpower of being non liable, you're not liable, the corporation is, it's always based on the idea that they stay in their lane. The railroad company needs to build railroads. Now we've broadened that, and we've said," As a for- profit company, you need to be gaining profits. You need to be maximizing shareholder value." And we'll get into that in just a second. But the point is, if we give this superpower to people, it's important to define what's the lane they're supposed to stay in? What are their goals supposed to be? Because once they overextend, they go beyond that lane, they get outside of those goals, they should be liable. The individuals behind these companies probably should have liability.

Keith Simon: So this brings us to the current debate over shareholder and stakeholder capitalism.

Patrick Miller: Because these are two different goals, we would say, for corporations.

Keith Simon: Two different lanes. Two different ways they can exert their influence. So shareholder capitalism was something that was advocated by Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago in the 1970s. He wrote a famous column in the New York Times where he advocated for this shareholder approach. And what he said was that businesses and companies, their lane was to maximize profit. Not any way possible, they needed to stay within the laws. They needed to play by society's rules, as established in the laws. And shareholder capitalism is built on the idea that the CEO of a company is the employee of the shareholders.

Patrick Miller: So one of the things that happens, in my story of Emily and I having an LLC, Emily's the owner. She owns the company, but if the company got big enough and we went public, we could sell shares of our company to all kinds of people. But that creates a problem because now all of a sudden there's thousands of owners of our company. And so who, if you've got thousands of owners, is making the calls? Well, that's why you have boards of directors and why you have CEOs. And CEOs have what's called a fiduciary responsibility to the shareholders to do what Keith just said, to maximize profit. That's their job. The CEO is the employee of the shareholders, and he's there to maximize all the profit.

Keith Simon: Now you contrast shareholder capitalism with stakeholder capitalism. And stakeholder capitalism says that the lane that the business is supposed to stay in is that they are supposed to care for, or look out for, the interests of customers, suppliers, employees, community, and the shareholder.

Patrick Miller: So they've got lots of interests to juggle. So now it's not just the shareholders who matter and their interest in maximizing profits. It's a lot. I mean, we're talking about communities and suppliers, people that don't even work for the company.

Keith Simon: So you can imagine that that lane just got a lot bigger. If the shareholder lane is more narrow, maximize profits, according to the laws or rules, ethics at a given time, stakeholder capitalism is far, far broader. But you can also see that there's some inherent tension between these groups that they're supposed to be looking out for.

Patrick Miller: Yeah. Whose interests come first?

Keith Simon: Right. If you want to maximize, say, cost for the customer, that's going to come at a cost to the employee or a cost of the supplier.

Patrick Miller: Or if you're a CEO, you have personal interest. You want to stay a CEO for the rest of your life. You might want to get an appointment one day in the government. You might want to work at a different company. And so you have some personal interest in terms of your name and cache, which are different from the interests of everybody else we just said.

Keith Simon: But what stakeholder capitalism does, is it expands that lane that businesses can get in. And that allows businesses to all of a sudden be a part of decisions that we're not sure they should be a part of. It allows the market economy to enter into conversations that I'm not sure it's designed to do.

Patrick Miller: So the question with stakeholder capitalism is how it plays out. There's two different ways to be a stakeholder capitalist. One is to say," I'm for the community." And the way I do that is by supporting causes and supporting ideologies. A different way of doing it is saying," We make a product and we're going to take responsibility for how that product impacts communities." So a practical example of this might be Coca- Cola. If you're in the first lane, which is what they are, where they say," Hey, we're going to support ideologies and causes, and that's what it means to care for our community." That's what they've done. And this is why they've supported groups like Black Lives Matter and why they've paid huge amounts of money to bring in diversity consultants to do trainings that have been very controversial. So that's one way to be a stakeholder capitalist, but they could have gone a different route. They could have said," You know what? We make a product, a drink, which has played a major role in the obesity epidemic, taking black lives. So we're going to take responsibility for the thing we actually control. And we're going to say,'We have a stake in the community and we're going to address that thing.'" So I'm just trying to illustrate, there's two different kinds of stakeholder capitalism, and guess which one most corporations like? They don't want to take responsibility for their products. They want to be for causes that make no impact on the bottom line.

Keith Simon: So in order to keep clarifying stakeholder versus shareholder capitalism, let's take a test case and see how each might think about it. So the company we're going to consider is Volkswagen.

Patrick Miller: Do you drive a Volkswagen?

Keith Simon: I do now. A friend just sold me his used Volkswagen. I think I got the pastor discount, which is kind of nice.

Patrick Miller: Your car's called a Passat, but I thought it'd be really funny if someone got like a pastor and took off the Passat and just put pastor in its place.

Keith Simon: That would be horrible. So Volkswagen, in 2015, they wanted to be the number one car manufacturer in the world.

Patrick Miller: Good for them.

Keith Simon: That's a lofty goal. Toyota held that title at the time. And so what they did is they came up with a marketing campaign around clean diesel. So they said," Hey, our vehicles are better for the environment because we're running clean diesel." And that catapulted them up into the leaders and eventually allowed them to take over the car market and be the number one car manufacturer in the world.

Patrick Miller: Well, and along those lines, they did this under the guise of stakeholder capitalism. They said," We're going to be stakeholder capitalists." And this is why the Dow Jones sustainability index gave them a near perfect score.

Keith Simon: Well, they said," What we're going to do is we're going to be the kind of company that cares about the environment, that cares about our community, that cares about the world."

Patrick Miller: Which, by the way, I'm great with that.

Keith Simon: "That's not just out for the bottom line. We're not just trying to maximize profit. We care about our world." And that was their marketing device to get people to buy in to this clean diesel, into a company that cared about more than money.

Patrick Miller: But it turns out...

Keith Simon: Oh, there's always...

Patrick Miller: There's always a catch.

Keith Simon: Always a catch.

Patrick Miller: They had installed defeater devices in 11 million cars to get around emissions tests.

Keith Simon: Yeah, so catch this out. They had put a device in the car that could tell when they were being tested for emission, and so they gave a false report. And at first they denied it and then they eventually came out and admitted that that's exactly what they had done.

Patrick Miller: To get to the top.

Keith Simon: They'd rigged the system so that they could pretend to care about the environment and not the bottom line. The whole time, all they care about is the bottom line.

Patrick Miller: And to be crystal clear, the emissions on these vehicles were not remotely environmentally friendly.

Keith Simon: Oh no. That's why they had these defeater devices on them.

Patrick Miller: I mean, they were bad environmentally. And so here's what I think is so interesting is people came at Volkswagen and they tried to shoot it down with the shareholder capitalism argument. They said," See, here's what happens when you have a company that's trying to maximize its profits. If your only interest is profit, you end up lying so that you can make money." But here's what's funny. The argument actually cuts both ways. Shareholder capitalists could critique Volkswagen for being a stakeholder capitalist corporation. They could say," See, this is what happens when you start claiming, or even trying, to put the interests of community above profits. When you start saying that we're about environmental protection, we're going to create cars... It creates this kind of situation where people will lie in order to look good to these stakeholders."

Keith Simon: When you sell your product based on some virtue signaling of something that you're doing good for the world, it gives you every incentive to hide the damage that your product is actually doing. Instead of creating a product that's really good for the environment, which I think we'd be all for, what happens is, is you just create a marketing campaign that makes you look good. Meanwhile, your product is doing the opposite of what you promised.

Patrick Miller: Well, yeah. And I think what we're underlining here is that both stakeholder and shareholder capitalism can create incentive to lie.

Keith Simon: Right. You either lie for the money or you lie for the reputation.

Patrick Miller: Exactly. So one doesn't help you escape from the other. So Keith, let's stay on this theme and let's talk about how stakeholder capitalism can actually produce dangerous hypocrisy.

Keith Simon: So let's just start with what hypocrisy is. Everybody is against hypocrisy. And if you're against hypocrisy, that makes you-

Patrick Miller: You're a hypocrite.

Keith Simon: ...a lot like Jesus, is what I was going to say.

Patrick Miller: Oh, okay.

Keith Simon: Because Jesus is the one who was against hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is pretending to be something you're not. Hypocrisy is not having struggles, which you acknowledge and are open about. Hypocrisy is pretending to have no struggles. It's projecting an image that is not real or genuine.

Patrick Miller: In fact, Jesus was probably the person who invented the idea of hypocrisy. He took the term from Greek plays. They were play actors who, you might not know this, in Greek plays they'd always put on masks and that's how they'd play the other role. And they were called hypocrites in Greek. And Jesus is the first person we know of who used this image of the actor wearing a mask and faking as a description of people, that people can be play actors who appear to be one thing, but in reality are something else. And of course, this is the temptation for corporations in a world of stakeholder capitalism is you put on the mask so you look one way, when the reality is there's something else hiding.

Keith Simon: In his book, Ramaswamy gives an example of Amazon calling out Walmart.

Patrick Miller: This one just made me laugh.

Keith Simon: Well, they were calling out Walmart for not paying their employees enough. So Amazon's saying," Hey, we're paying$ 15 an hour. What are you guys paying?"

Patrick Miller: By the way, let's pause here. Does Amazon have a vested interest in critiquing Walmart? Might they be opponents in anything?

Keith Simon: But they're pretending to be for their workers." We are pro worker. We're$ 15 an hour."

Patrick Miller: Meanwhile, while they're saying all this, here's what's happening. They have workers in some of their distribution centers, their distribution warehouses, who are on social media critiquing them for their working conditions. They're telling Amazon," You might pay us well, but our working conditions are awful." And since then it's been leaked that they were actually actively trying to brand one of these leaders, a guy named Christian Smalls, who was a black man. They were trying to brand him as stupid to try to discredit the whole movement. They actually ended up firing all of these people who posted on social media about their working conditions.

Keith Simon: But they pay$ 15 an hour.

Patrick Miller: They pay$ 15 an hour.

Keith Simon: So you have to ask, does Amazon really care about their workers or was this just a marketing campaign to look good and to try to put the squeeze on Walmart? Well, I think it's kind of obvious.

Patrick Miller: We could pull out other examples. Let's talk about Nike. They've given$ 40 million to black communities to help with urban development, other things. And again, on one level, I really don't have any problems with that, but they publicize that. They make a big deal about it." See, we're stakeholder capitalists. We take care of our communities." Meanwhile, they're ignoring sweat shops. They're ignoring the fact that they're marketing$ 200 sneakers in these impoverished communities where people really can't afford to spend$ 200 on sneakers. So as long as I look good and I support the right causes, it doesn't matter what I personally or a corporation does to the people who we are marketing to.

Keith Simon: And this happens on both the left and the right. So you have the guy named Mike Lindell who is famous for the My Pillow guy, a big Trump supporter. And he's selling his pillows to Trump supporters. Not because he's got great pillows, but because it's a sign that you are on the right side.

Patrick Miller: Do you like your My Pillow, Keith?

Keith Simon: crosstalk My Pillow, stop. Or Black Rifle Coffee? I mean, do you think that coffee is really that different? Or is it just a signal?

Patrick Miller: I've actually heard it's bad. I don't know if it's true.

Keith Simon: It's bad? I have no idea.

Patrick Miller: I had a friend who bought it, very conservative person. They're like," I'm not buying Starbucks. I'm going to buy Black Rifle." And he came to me and he goes," I'm just so bummed because I just don't think the coffee was very good. I think I might keep buying it though."

Keith Simon: Or it's Uber pledging to be anti- racist while trying to pass legislation in California that allows them to classify their drivers as independent contractors so that they don't have to-

Patrick Miller: Pay taxes.

Keith Simon: ...pay taxes and provide other basic things that come with employment.

Patrick Miller: "Hey, everybody. We're for Black Lives Matter, but all of those black drivers driving for Uber, we'd really prefer them to pay our taxes, otherwise we can't stay open."

Keith Simon: So it just makes you ask the question, how sincere is this? Or is this just a marketing campaign?

Patrick Miller: I have to share one more. This one is the one that I find most atrocious, which is Disney. Keith already mentioned that they were really critical of a Georgia abortion law. So this was a pro- life law. It was trying to limit abortions. And Disney said," Nope, we aren't for that." So there you see, stakeholder capitalism."We're for the progressive cause."

Keith Simon: "We can't go to Georgia and film movies because of this law."

Patrick Miller: Yeah. And meanwhile, Disney is thanking, both on social media and in the film itself, the state of China for allowing them to film the movie Mulan there. And catch this. They filmed Mulan in the very region where Uighur women are being forcibly sterilized. In fact, they're being sterilized so much that the birth rate in the exact place where they filmed Mulan has dropped by 60% in a matter of years.

Keith Simon: Yeah. I think the province is called Xinjiang, if I understand it right. And they thank the communist party in Xinjiang for allowing them to film, meanwhile, all this horrible stuff is happening to the Uighurs, but they won't go to Georgia to film something. But China ends up being the test case for a lot of people.

Patrick Miller: Oh, absolutely.

Keith Simon: It cuts through a lot of hypocrisy. So you remember that the NBA were coming out with all these statements last summer in the summer of protest of 2020, but they don't have any problem with what's happening in China.

Patrick Miller: They don't have a problem with China. The general manager of the Rockets made a statement in favor of Hong Kong in saying that China was threatening the democratic rights, which by the way, they legally obligated themselves to. And this is a fact, by the way. China is shutting down the free press in Hong Kong. They are suppressing democracy by offing people, by making them disappear, by putting them into prison, by taking away their money. China's doing this and it's illegal. They weren't supposed to do it. And so this guy, this general manager critiques China, and what does China do?

Keith Simon: Yeah. He says," Free Hong Kong," on his Twitter account. And China says," Hey, we won't put up with that." And they put economic sanctions on the NBA. And what does the NBA do? Do they stand up to China? Of course not, because China has the money that they want and need. And this is true of lots of companies.

Patrick Miller: They considered firing the general manager.

Keith Simon: He eventually had to leave. Google, Apple, Airbnb is selling the information that you give them to China, but their marketing campaign is that we don't let white supremacists rent our facilities, but we'll sell your stuff to the most totalitarian government in the world.

Patrick Miller: Well, the Airbnb one is, I think, actually hilarious. They did this giant forum. It was a stakeholder capitalist forum where they invited everybody who has a stake in Airbnb, the property owners, the people who are renting out those properties, others, they invite everybody. And you know who wasn't invited or who wasn't even mentioned?

Keith Simon: I don't know.

Patrick Miller: China. Despite the fact that China has a huge stake-

Keith Simon: Well, because they were hiding that, right?

Patrick Miller: They're hiding it. And they actually hired someone to come on, and his entire job was to protect the privacy rights of people on Airbnb. And he went to Airbnb and he said," Guys, we're blowing it. We are selling away the information, personal information, of people who are renting properties to China and they are using it in nefarious ways." And Airbnb said," Ah, thanks, no thanks. Why don't you just go ahead and leave?" So he ended up having to quit.

Keith Simon: Because that guy thought he had a real job. His job was to project an image, not to actually do the work, not to actually protect people's privacy. It was just to look good. And that's why hypocrisy is, and it's why it's so dangerous, is it puts up a facade, an image that just isn't true. And it gives people the room and the freedom to harm the very people that they say they're trying to help.

Patrick Miller: And that's the real problem that we're dealing with in this form of stakeholder capitalism, where you're a stakeholder by supporting the right ideology or the right ideas. It allows you to cover up wrongdoing by saying the right things. And I think this is incredibly dangerous. Not just because it's hypocritical, not just because it's false marketing, it's all of those things. I think incredibly dangerous because corporations are big. They have a superpower, the LLC. They can use their money in ways that individuals can't. And so now all of a sudden, we have these hypocritical organizations out there now claiming to be the moral tastemakers." Not only are we hypocrites, but we're going to tell you what to think about what's right and what's wrong." That's a hugely dangerous power.

Keith Simon: So part of what these businesses, these corporations, are doing is training all of us of what real social justice looks like. And real social justice to them means buying the right products or maybe posting a black square on Instagram, or having the right hashtag, but hashtags don't lead to real change in people's lives. So we are all for social justice.

Patrick Miller: Yes, absolutely.

Keith Simon: We are all for fighting for rights of people. We're just asking, is that what these businesses are actually doing? Or are they trying to tell you that if you just buy my product, that makes you a good person?

Patrick Miller: Well, let's go to the point we brought up earlier. There are places where the market doesn't belong. When you start commodifying social justice," If you want to do social justice, just buy the Nike shoes. If you want to do social justice, just start streaming on Disney. If you want to do social justice, partner with us." You are now commodifying it. I no longer have personal responsibility to go out and serve my community. I can just do it by buying things. Aristotle had this idea that we strengthen things by using them. So if you want to be a virtuous person, you need to practice virtue. If you want to be a just person, you need to practice justice. And the more you do it, the more you become it. Well, if we're outsourcing our justice to these big corporations and we're not flexing those muscles by serving in our own communities and making a difference in our own communities, it's going to make us incredibly flabby in the area of justice.

Keith Simon: And you can see why Jesus encouraged us, called us as Christians, to do our good deeds in private. Really what he was doing is warning us of doing our good deeds in order to be seen by other people. Because when you do something in order to be seen, it corrupts the good deed. It corrupts the justice. And that's exactly what these companies are doing. They're putting on this show in order to be seen as being right and on the good side of the cultural argument, and that corrupts the very thing that they're trying to do. It corrupts the good.

Patrick Miller: Give your$ 40 million to black communities. Just don't tell me about it. Don't debase it by turning it into a marketing campaign. That might be all that I could ask. Next I want to talk about the problem of cronyism and corruption. So the Bible, we already covered this, the Bible warns against cronyism. It warns against corruption. And by the way, this was actually the left critique of the right in the 2000s, especially around the financial collapse. They critiqued the right because they filled federal cabinet seats with former execs from big banks, like Goldman Sachs. And then 2008 hits, and it turns out that banks like Goldman Sachs and others were invested in financial weapons of mass destruction.

Keith Simon: Well, it was kind of interesting that Hank Paulson is the secretary of treasury under President Bush. When the economic collapse hits of 2008, he is a former CEO of Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs gets bailed out, but not everybody else does, including the Lehman Brothers. They don't-

Keith Simon: ... bailedout, but not everybody else does-

Patrick Miller: No.

Keith Simon: ...including Lehman Brothers. They don't get bailed out. And at least it has the-

Patrick Miller: Not a good look.

Keith Simon: No. I mean, right. I mean, I don't know all that is involved in that.

Patrick Miller: Yeah, we don't know.

Keith Simon: ...so I'm not saying he, for sure, did the wrong thing, but I am saying that it doesn't look good.

Patrick Miller: If part of the game from the big banks is to get your CEOs into the federal government so that they can give favors to your company when the big day comes, that's cronyism. That's what it looked like when he's willing to bail out his team, but not the other team.

Keith Simon: And something similar also happened around the economic collapse under the Obama administration. Because these businesses that had been involved in the subprime loan crisis, they got hit with big fines. The Department of Justice, I mean, levied billions of dollars worth of fines against these big banks that had acted irresponsibly. And so what you're told as the citizen is that those banks are going to pay those billions of dollars back to the U. S. Treasury.

Patrick Miller: For consumer relief.

Keith Simon: So that their money goes to help those that they hurt. But here's what really happened, and this is amazing. And when I read it in the book, I went back to the Wall Street Journal article. I just had to make sure-

Patrick Miller: It's true.

Keith Simon: ...if this was really true, because it is so stunning. What the Obama Department of Justice did is they cut a deal with these big banks and they said, " We will lower the amount of fines that you have to pay, if instead of paying them to the U. S. Treasury, you will give them to our list of non- profits that we like and support."

Patrick Miller: Not just any nonprofit.

Keith Simon: The ones we like and support. So what happens is they cut their fines, say, in half. So imagine-

Patrick Miller: Oh, more than that. Sometimes it was-

Keith Simon: Even more than-

Patrick Miller: ...three dollars for every one dollar.

Keith Simon: Well, just imagine you owe 10 billion, you have to pay back to the U. S. Treasury or you owe five billion that you pay to our choice of non- profits. What would you rather do if you were the bank? If the money goes back to the U. S. Treasury, then Congress gets to decide where it spent.

Patrick Miller: Not just that, it's marked as a fine. You've paid a fine.

Keith Simon: But if you pay to our list of nonprofits, now we get to decide where that money goes, and it goes to our favorite groups.

Patrick Miller: Oh, such as that. And you as a bank, you get the tax deduction. You get to mark this-

Keith Simon: Off a fine.

Patrick Miller: ...as a charitable gift. It's no longer a fine. It's win- win- win. The only person who loses here by the way-

Keith Simon: Is the American citizen.

Patrick Miller: Yeah.

Keith Simon: The people who got hurt. It is stunning that they got away with that.

Patrick Miller: It is stunning. It is-

Keith Simon: How?

Patrick Miller: Here's the point I want to draw out. The left critiqued the right for a form of cronyism. We're going to hire people from the big banks, and then when they come in, they can give their banks favors. That's cronyism.

Keith Simon: That's wrong, too.

Patrick Miller: This is a different form of cronyism.

Keith Simon: Yeah, they're both wrong.

Patrick Miller: Right? It's a different form of cronyism, where now, if you, as a bank, are willing to support financially, and eventually we'll see with your voice as well, our causes, you're going to get special benefits. You don't get fined, you just get to get a nice, nice, nice big tax deduction in the end. That's a different form of cronyism, but it's a cronyism which is linked to stakeholder capitalism, because they are giving according to an ideology. So you see the difference here. Another great example of this is campaign finance. So there's a case, Citizens United v. The Federal Election Commission. The question was whether they could give money to political campaigns. And liberals said no, corporations aren't individuals. They shouldn't be able to give their money to campaigns. It's basically paying for a future favor.

Keith Simon: Yeah. I think both sides are pretty hypocritical on this, because like you said, the Democrats were against the Supreme Court ruling in that case, because the Democrats said that corporations should not be able to give unlimited amounts of money to campaigns because that money would negatively impact democracy.

Patrick Miller: Yeah. It would corrupt the politicians they gave to. I mean, how am I supposed to go against a corporation that's financing my campaign?

Keith Simon: But at the same time, Democrats are okay with stakeholder capitalism that allows businesses to use their economic clout to influence social and cultural issues. Now, the Republicans, I think, are just as bad, because they were all for Citizens United. They were saying, " Hey, yes, corporations should be able to give unlimited money to campaigns." But now, they don't want businesses to be involved in stakeholder capitalism, where they're using their economic clout to influence social and cultural issues.

Patrick Miller: Well, they-

Keith Simon: They're both inconsistent. Now, I don't think they're equally inconsistent. We can get that later.

Patrick Miller: Yeah. We're not saying they're the same thing.

Keith Simon: But they're both pretty inconsistent.

Patrick Miller: Let me try to put legs on this. It's not merely that they're using their money to influence society. It's that we're seeing progressives give special benefits precisely to the corporations that support their ideology. Let me give some examples of this. BlackRock Financial's made a big deal about what are called ESG products. That stands for environmental, social and governance products. So basically, they're investing in companies that, according to them, are pro- environment. So they lower pollution emissions, they're for air quality, they're for renewable forms of energy and energy conservation. They use natural resources and land responsibly, they take care of waste management and water quality and hazardous materials responsibly. These are also companies who have social agendas. They've got good labor standards and employee relations, they've got production and quality safety measures in place. They have a positive local community impact. And they're also companies, by the way, that emphasize governance, which would be not just ethical business practices, but it often includes supporting things like voting rights or, again, progressive causes. So anyways, here's what happens. BlackRock, they invest in companies like this and they create a portfolio of those companies. And then, you can come in and buy into that portfolio, you can invest in that portfolio.

Keith Simon: BlackRock is huge and therefore they have tons of influence. And what they're doing is saying, " Hey, if you invest with us, we're going to invest in the socially- conscious businesses." And they're using that to get more people to invest with them. And that's-

Patrick Miller: Yeah. Well, they're also using it to prop up their name. It's a great marketing campaign. Look at the companies that we invest in. And they often say, " We get great returns on these." Now there's questions of whether, essentially, functions like a Ponzi scheme. It looks like great returns because more and more people are investing in those kinds of companies. But here's the main thing. Guess what happened? When the stimulus package had to be distributed, who gets to distribute the stimulus package? None other than BlackRock.

Keith Simon: BlackRock.

Patrick Miller: Can anyone prove it's because they offered these ESG products that they had the right ideology? That they got to be the ones who were administrating the economic stimulus package? Well, no. No one can prove that, but there are other examples of how these companies that have the right agenda are getting benefits from the government.

Keith Simon: Yeah. AstraZeneca, the pharmaceutical company, made a big deal about committing$ 1 billion to environmental sustainability. And you can be sure that went to causes that the lawmakers liked, that they were their pet causes. And just a few months later, totally coincidence I'm sure, AstraZeneca got a$1.2 billion grant. So something they did not have to pay back from those same lawmakers, allowing it to develop a for- profit vaccine. So the United States government paid for them to-

Patrick Miller: Develop a for- profit-

Keith Simon: A COVID- 19 vaccine. And to some extent, well, I guess that's okay as long as we're doing that equally for other companies. But to do it because you gave them a billion dollars to their pet organizations, it just seems like this quid pro quo, there's a trade off here, and that AstraZeneca is being financially rewarded for saying that they are committed to environmental sustainability.

Patrick Miller: And that's really the damnable aspect of this whole thing. Other forms of quid pro quo are explicit. If a company gives money to a political campaign, it's pretty obvious that that politician does favors for that company. Why he or she did that. But in this case, it's very difficult to figure out. Keith and I might just be making stuff up right now. There's no way to prove that these companies got the benefits they got because of their social activism and their social causes that they supported. But again, these examples continue to crop up and it just begs the question. And the problem is when you can't draw a straight line, when you can't prove something, the quid pro quo, it can go on as long as it wants to. The other interesting thing happening right now is that when we allow these corporations to have an oversized voice, they get to start shaping our definitions of incredibly important ideas.

Keith Simon: George Orwell, the guy who wrote Animal Farm, 1984, famous author. He wrote an essay called, Politics and the English Language.

Patrick Miller: It's one of favorite essays of all time.

Keith Simon: Well, you went to the private school, right? That's why you loved Orwell. But in the essay, he says, be careful about words that have vague definitions, because people will use words to hide a true agenda. They will use words to get an emotional response from you. They will use words to manipulate you. So he says this often happens with words like democracy or equality or patriotism. But I think it right now, if Orwell were writing, he would say that one of the words that people are using to manipulate is the word diversity.

Patrick Miller: Can I do a fun little thing here?

Keith Simon: Oh, yeah. Private school finite.

Patrick Miller: This is private school fun.

Keith Simon: I'm guessing this is private school-

Patrick Miller: So like you just said, he talks about this with democracy and how countries were using democracy.

Keith Simon: This is what Patrick did on a Friday night in high school. You sat around and read Orwell for fun.

Patrick Miller: Shredding my Orwell.

Keith Simon: Me, I was doing other things. I don't know about you.

Patrick Miller: I was in the band at the football game.

Keith Simon: You were?

Patrick Miller: Yeah.

Keith Simon: Oh.

Patrick Miller: I was a nerd man. All right, let's keep going. Here, I want to do something fun. I want to take a quote from George Orwell, inaudible say, ut I'm going to trade the word democracy out for diversity. I'm going to trait the word country out for corporation, for company, okay?

Keith Simon: Oh yeah.

Patrick Miller: And let's just see what happens, okay? In the case of words like diversity, not only is there no agreed- upon definition. Yes, absolutely, let's just agree with that. No one knows what diversity is, but the attempt to make one is resisted by all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a company diverse, we are praising it. Consequently, the defenders of every company claim that it is diverse and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning.

Keith Simon: This is pretty good.

Patrick Miller: Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way.

Keith Simon: Yeah. And that's exactly what is happening now, is that they've defined diversity in a way that is very convenient for them, because they've defined diversity according to gender or skin color or sexual orientation-

Patrick Miller: Which is a legitimate form of diversity.

Keith Simon: But one way they refused to define diversity is in diversity of thought, diversity of opinion, diversity of political opinion.

Patrick Miller: In fact, they've defined it the opposite. So you have companies that are saying we're diverse by which they mean skin- deep quality, so race, ethnicity, gender, those kinds of things. I'm not trying to minimize them by saying that, it's just what they are. And yet, at the exact same time, they are calling people out who do not agree with their ideology. So I want a diversity of race and gender, we do not want the diversity of thought. And the way they do this is by pulling up, and there's countless research studies out there that show that diversity is actually good for corporations. You'll be more successful if you have diversity. The problem is that in most of those articles, the diversity they're talking about is diversity of thought. It's not diversity of skin color and gender and all of those things. Sometimes it's both, but it's never to the exclusion of diversity of thought.

Keith Simon: Sometimes people of different gender and skin color and orientation, they bring new ideas. But the important thing is the new idea they bring-

Patrick Miller: Exactly. It's a thought.

Keith Simon: ...not the way they look. And so New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof, said this about universities. He said that they are diverse in this sense. " We're fine with people who don't look like us, as long as they think like us." And that's one of those uh- oh moments where yes, we want diversity as long as you agree with us, we're happy with any way you look or act or whatever.

Patrick Miller: How about there's a congresswoman from Massachusetts-

Keith Simon: Ayanna Pressly.

Patrick Miller: ...She said, " It's time to shake up that table. We don't need any more brown faces that don't want to be a brown voice." Just think about what she's saying here. She's saying the color of your skin actually does not matter to me. You can have a brown face or a white face. What matters is, do you have a brown voice? What's brown voice mean? You agree with me? You share my ideology.

Keith Simon: And she went on to say, we don't need any more black faces that don't want to be a black voice. So what she's essentially saying is, is if you are black or brown and you don't agree with me, then you're not really black or brown, or at least not in the way I want you to be.

Patrick Miller: Well, it tells you what the definition of diversity is again. And we're beginning to buy into this definition. Just 15 years ago, if you talked about diversity, I think it would've probably meant both things. Diversity of gender, diversity of ethnicity and diversity of thought. But we are increasingly ruling out diversity of thought. This is why people, like Bari Weiss, who wrote for the New York Times, ended up essentially getting ousted. She's a lesbian, she's a woman. So she checks off a lot of the diversity boxes, but you know what she didn't have? The right kind of thoughts.

Keith Simon: And that's why Andrew Sullivan got kicked out of more than one place. But most lately, the New York magazine for the same thing. Now, both Weiss and Sullivan are making a ton of money writing on their own personal substacks, because there's a lot of people who want heterodox thinking out there.

Patrick Miller: So the problem here is that we're beginning to commercialize definitions. In other words, again, Ramaswami, in his book, he talks about he calls the Goldman Sachs rule, which is a joke he makes. But the Goldman Sachs rule is simply this, the person with the gold makes the decisions. Whoever's got the most money, they get to make the decisions. And now we're entering a place where important ethical terms, like justice, diversity. Whoever has the gold gets to make the definition. And I think that's an outsized power. Why in the world do we want businesses to get out of the lane of making profit and being businesses, and all of a sudden becoming ethicists who get to tell us how to think and what words mean and how to live?

Keith Simon: Yeah. This goes back to the quiz that Patrick threw on me at the beginning. Should money, should capitalism, should markets invade every area of our life. Are there some areas of our life that markets aren't good for?

Patrick Miller: If you're like me and you leave each episode with a lot to think about and wishing you could go just a little bit deeper, you should subscribe to the Truth Over Tribe newsletter. Not only do we explore the topic further, but we also interact with people who disagree with us and tell you about upcoming episodes. Just go to choosetruthovertribe. com and sign up for the newsletter there.

Keith Simon: So when you don't have a work environment or a school or a business or a government or a church, or whatever, that allows diversity of thought, what happens is, is that everybody falls into groupthink, and to say something that is out of step with the group is well, to risk sanction, and economic sanction within your business. People have been fired for saying things and holding opinions that are not in the mainstream of the way that business thinks. And that's really dangerous when people are afraid to express their genuinely held beliefs.

Patrick Miller: Especially when many of those sincerely- held beliefs are held by plenty and plenty and plenty of other people. I mean, this is what the cultural revolution was in China. Now it's happening in, it's the corporate revolution where we are ousting people because they don't agree with the ideology.

Keith Simon: We're not defending people who say racist or horrible-

Patrick Miller: No.

Keith Simon: ...hateful, ignorant things. What we're saying is, that if you're not in lockstep with the company culture, you share a political belief, a personal belief outside of that culture, the business culture, even if lots of other people hold it, you might be fired.

Patrick Miller: Well and to press it even further, what's wild is, if you are in lockstep, you can be as extreme as you want to be. If you're on the progressive side, it's not bad to talk about killing Trump supporters, it's not bad to make incredibly incendiary comments, it's not bad to bully people for not believing what you believe. But if you even question that ideology, you are out. We should tell the story of James Damore.

Keith Simon: James Damore was a Google employee who is invited to a 2017 Google meeting, and the topic was diversity and inclusion. And the people in that meeting were asked for their feedback. And so Damore goes back and continues to-

Patrick Miller: Well, the specific question was why they weren't hiring more women.

Keith Simon: Yes, that was one of the questions they were trying to figure out. How do we be an inclusive workplace where we have women engineers? So Damore goes back to his office, thinks about it, and writes up a memo and sends it to the people who hosted the seminar. He lays out some thoughts and ideas about what they could do to make it more inclusive for women. He doesn't get a response from the host of the seminar. So what he does is he posts his letter, his memo, onto an internal Google website. And all of a sudden, everybody freaks out. And the reason that they freaked out is because he said that one of the reasons-

Patrick Miller: He asked if one of the reasons. He didn't even declare. He said maybe one of the reasons.

Keith Simon: Well, if you just read James Damore's memo-

Patrick Miller: Not controversial.

Keith Simon: ...it is super reasonable. He's not trying to be a jerk. He's throwing out ideas and he's trying to help solve a problem that he was asked by Google to be a part of a team that solved. And he said, if you look at the distribution curve of who excels in these areas that we're trying to hire for, it looks like men do better and worse than women. In other words, men have more extreme scores on the high and low end. And perhaps that's one of the reasons, and he was fired. So they let go a guy who people said was a good guy, a good employee, trying to help solve a problem. And all he did was share an idea that they thought was too controversial for the workplace.

Patrick Miller: Yeah, we could pull out other examples, you can look up on your own. Larry Summers story. He was the president of Harvard and ended up losing his job in 2007 for almost the exact same story.

Keith Simon: Okay, so it's the same question, why are women not in the hard sciences the same rate that men are? He is asked to be provocative. He's literally asked, they said, " Will you be provocative?" And so, he says, "Well, well, here are three reasons," three provocative reasons that this might be the case. One men, women are drawn to different kinds of jobs. Two, companies have discriminated against women.

Patrick Miller: So that's one of the options.

Keith Simon: Yeah, that's one of the options, or three, maybe there's a greater variability among men in cognitive abilities related to science and engineering.

Patrick Miller: Which was James Damore's point.

Keith Simon: Which is James Damore's point. Now people, that's just a fact. We can like things and not like things, we can wish the world was different, but we have to play in the world of facts. And he was run out of Harvard for just asking that question. He was asked to be provocative. I don't get it.

Patrick Miller: I'm laughing because it's so sad. And again, these stories are happening more and more frequently. I think whenever we go to the Bible's example and we look and we say, does Jesus, gives an example, did he oust people for disagreeing with him? Did he say, " If you're not in lockstep with me, you can get out of town. I don't want to hear from you"? And again and again, we see Jesus going to, speaking to, listening to people that his tribe had rejected, whether it was the Samaritan woman or the Syrophoenician woman, lepers, centurions. And he welcomes into his disciple group people who had wildly different ideological ideas. He's got people who want to be revolutionaries and people who say, " Hey, Rome ain't that bad." He brings them all in.

Keith Simon: You got Matthew, the tax collector, who had gone over to Rome's side, and you got Simon the Zealot, who famously is trying to overthrow Rome-

Patrick Miller: Overthrow Rome.

Keith Simon: ...and he says we can all band together, we can work together toward a common good.

Patrick Miller: He wanted an actual diversity of thought. And so, I mean, Jesus's example is the exact opposite direction. I want to press even further, though. The Bible has the example of the prophets. The prophets were heterodox thinkers. They called out idolatrous kings. In fact, pressing it even further, people like Abraham, Moses, and Habakkuk, they had the audacity to challenge God. They tell God, " I don't think you're doing it right." And does God smite them down and say, " You can get out. I don't want anything to do with you if you're not in lockstep with me"? No, he actually talks with them. So God's example is not that we should be some sort of, again, group thinking, lockstep, if you're not with us, you're against us approach to how we gather together. He gives us a different way.

Keith Simon: So remember that one of the reasons that companies do better when they have diversity is because they bring in more voices, different kinds of voices, different experiences, different ideas, beliefs, and that helps make them a better, stronger company that makes wise decisions. Well, if you shut those down, if you shut down opinions that are different than yours, if you shut out perspectives that you don't want to hear because they don't fit with your worldview, what you end up doing is becoming dumber. Yeah, you literally become dumber, because you're unwilling to let your ideas be challenged and sharpened by different ideas.

Patrick Miller: Obviously, the classic example of this would be Galileo. He spoke out and said, " Hey, the earth revolves around the sun, not the other way around." And the guy's put on house arrest for the rest of his life for it. Now, thankfully, his ideas ended up winning out. But no one's going to look and say, we want to be like the Catholic Church that imprisoned Galileo.

Keith Simon: Yeah, because the Catholic Church was dumber because they refused to listen to him, because he said something that was out of step with their opinion.

Patrick Miller: That is. I think this is also tremendously bad for democracy, freedom, and justice. And the reason why is simple. Who gets to decide what's the right view and the wrong view? Well, in a corporation, I'll tell you who it is. It's the person with the most money and the person with the most power.

Keith Simon: Whoever signs the checks.

Patrick Miller: Is whoever signs the checks. So if you're the one signing the checks, you get to say whatever you want to say and set the rules and the agenda ideologically. But the everyday employee, now, is all of a sudden having to either agree with the CEO, I guess, or get out.

Keith Simon: And so the person with the most money has the most votes, or has the most power in a democracy. And I'm not sure that's what we want. I'm not sure that we want votes to be able to be bought. I think what we want is democratically- elected representatives making their choices and being held accountable by the electorate. But when a business says, " We won't make our films, or" We won't have our sporting events," in a particular state, what they're trying to do is resist the will of the democratically- elected representatives of that state. And I don't think that's what we want. We don't want to be ruled by an oligarchy of CEOs. We want to be ruled by our, again, democratically- elected representatives.

Patrick Miller: It's also tremendously bad for justice. There's the story of the emperor with no clothes, he's walking around naked, and he thinks that everybody can't see that he's naked, that they'll see them as being clothed in gloriously beautiful clothing. And the crowds are so afraid of the emperor, they go along with the joke. They're just cheering for him, " Your clothes are so amazing." And it's a child who walks up to him and says, " Sir, you have no clothes on."

Keith Simon: Somebody finally willing to speak the truth, but they all knew it. They all knew he didn't have any clothes on. They were just afraid of saying it.

Patrick Miller: They're afraid to say it.

Keith Simon: And that's what happens when your economic livelihood is threatened. You're going to lose your job if you speak out. So what happens? You become the crowd who tells the naked emperor that his clothes are beautiful.

Patrick Miller: We see this happening all over the place. My favorite example, and it's really actually sickening, is with Unilever. So Unilever has positioned themself as being the great defender of women in the corporate world. This is from their website. Every time you scrubbed with Dove, wake up with Lipton, or clean with... that's Persil, or Persil? I don't even know what that is. I've never cleaned with it. You're supporting fempowerment.

Keith Simon: I love that word, fempowerment.

Patrick Miller: By helping girls and women unlock their amazing potential. And in fact, towards this exact end, they've partnered financially and in other ways with UN Women, which is a nonprofit branch of the UN. And the UN Women are constantly praising Unilever for their amazing work to bring justice for women. The CEO, Alan Jope, said this, " The immutable laws of intersectionality mean that the better job we do for women of color, the better chance we have of progressing gender equality everywhere." Now, what you don't hear about in the Unilever story, that's being praised by the UN, celebrated by our world, given special benefits because they're so pro women. Meanwhile, in December, 2007, there was a candidate that lost Kenya's presidential election, and Unilever actually suspected that after this happened, there might be some violence. And that's exactly what happened. Hundreds of men ended up attacking ethnic minorities at Unilever's tea plantations in Kenya. And by the way, I should say this, the UN efforts have all been to protect female tea workers. So these guys, they attack these women. And what you might not realize is that Unilever, they saw this coming. And so they actually posted guards to protect their people, but did they protect the employees? Nope. They didn't protect the employees. They only put it around their facilities and their managers' homes. The worker camps were left completely unguarded. Now, as if that wouldn't be bad enough, it gets worse. Unilever ends up closing down the plantation for six months. And when those brutalized workers, when they showed back up again, they see their attackers, the people who raped them, who attacked them, who murdered family members, they see them working there at the Unilever tea plantation. And Unilever, what did they say publicly? " This is so sad. You know what we've done? We've given all of these workers who," by the way, haven't worked for six months, "... we've given them a month's worth of payback." They didn't pay for their bills, their hospital bills. They left people employed who had raped and attacked them. And here we have fempowerment.

Keith Simon: That's what sickening about it is here, they're pretending to be all about women's rights and women's health, and they've got this reputation as pro woman, but they won't take care of their very employees who were brutalized and attacked because they worked for them.

Patrick Miller: Does the UN say the emperor has no clothes? Nope.

Keith Simon: No. The UN takes the money from Unilever, and then it's quiet about what happened on their facilities. They're quiet about how Unilever mistreated women, because they're getting so much money from Unilever, that they're unwilling to speak the truth.

Patrick Miller: And that's why this lockstep thinking, groupthink is so bad for justice. One of the other costs of stakeholder capitalism as it's currently being expressed, is that it has a tendency to erode social trust. So that's a word that you might not be familiar with. Keith, do you want to try to explain what social trust is?

Keith Simon: Social trust is really important to our culture. It is the confidence that we have that other people that we don't know are acting in good faith. So if you go to the grocery store and you buy food there, you have confidence that you're being sold a product that is good for you, that isn't contaminated, say, with pesticides or something.

Patrick Miller: It's not a Cinnamon Toast Crunch box with shrimp tails in it.

Keith Simon: Social trust is something, even driving down the highway, you trust that people are going to stay on their side of the lane. So social trust holds our society together. It's social trust required by banks that you expect them to handle your money in inappropriate ways and to follow the rule of law. When social trust dissolves, and we don't trust each other, we don't trust the school board to do what's right for kids, we don't trust our neighbors to maintain their property and to stay off our property, we don't trust our church leaders, our government leaders, everything begins to-

Keith Simon: ...our church leaders, our government leaders. Everything begins to break down. You have to have a certain amount of social trust for a healthy business, for a healthy society, anything.

Patrick Miller: Yeah. So the question that becomes, how does stakeholder capitalism actually erode trust? And the answer to that question is that corporations are currently, as they buy into various ideologies, they're promoting stories, visions of the world, which promote outrage and actually divide us. They're promoting stories that give us a narration of reality, which may or may not be true. An example of this, in my interview with John Mark Comer, he was drawing out the point. He said," Look, if I don't check the news, if I don't check my social media feed, if I was just off the grid, I would come to the conclusion that living in America was a pretty good place." He goes," I travel around a lot. I visit nice places. There's great food, great people." He goes," On my own, I would come to the conclusion it's a good place."

Keith Simon: He would be accused of having privilege.

Patrick Miller: He even says it. He goes," I know people would accuse me of having privilege, and there might actually be some truth to that." But he says something interesting. He goes," I can never say this in my church in Portland, because they would just run me out. It doesn't fit the narrative that they've been told, which is that America is the most racist place in the world. It's one of the worst places in the world to live." And so he could never possibly say it. And ironically, we've got these corporations that are beginning to promote that exact idea, that America is a terrible place. It is the most racist place in the world.

Keith Simon: I guess the motivation is that if America is bad, then they can be the hero by fixing it. Right?

Patrick Miller: Yes. The corporation gets to be the hero.

Keith Simon: I don't know if the corporations are setting that narrative or if they're following that narrative. It's always hard to figure out what comes first, the chicken or the egg.

Patrick Miller: Absolutely.

Keith Simon: But there is definitely momentum behind the idea that everything in America is falling apart. It's a bad place. And we need heroes, whether they're political figures or government figures or somebody to come fix it.

Patrick Miller: So let me give an example of this, again, pulled from Ramaswamy's book. He talks about how in January of 2020 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, I'd love to go there. It's in the mountains. It sounds like a crosstalk place.

Keith Simon: Davos, Switzerland, right?

Patrick Miller: Yeah.

Keith Simon: It sounds rich.

Patrick Miller: It does. I don't think I can afford to be there. They wouldn't want me there. Anyways, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, he announced that they would not take any companies public unless they had one diverse member on the board. Now he didn't really offer a definition of diversity.

Keith Simon: Well, we already talked about that. Right? That everybody wants to keep that definition vague.

Patrick Miller: Yeah, that one's going to be vague.

Keith Simon: All we know for sure is it's not diverse thinking.

Patrick Miller: No, it's not that. But he said it was going to have a focus on women. This is how he explained his reasoning. He said," This decision is rooted, first and foremost, in our conviction that companies with diverse leadership perform better because it reduces the risk of group think." So again, we're hitting the exact same point. Well, diversity of thought reduces group think.

Keith Simon: Diversity of skin color, diversity of gender doesn't necessarily.

Patrick Miller: But we have to think, what's the narrative that he's implying by saying this? Well, by emphasizing women, the narrative he's implying is that board rooms are controlled by men. They're actively trying to keep women out. It's a way of enforcing the patriarchal-

Keith Simon: A glass ceiling.

Patrick Miller: Yeah. There's a glass ceiling. And so there's a narrative and that's a narrative that's caused a lot of division and outrage and erosion of social trust in our country.

Keith Simon: And he's painting himself and Goldman as being the people who are going to break through that ceiling." Trust us, because we are going to force women into the boardroom where they have belonged for years. Since companies won't do it, we're going to do it for them."

Patrick Miller: Yeah. And again, for the record, I would love it if there's more women on the boards of these big businesses. We're not saying that we're against that. Now that's how people are going to hear it. But here's the important part, before he made this announcement, every publicly traded company on the S&P 500 had already appointed at least one woman to their boards, to their governance boards.

Keith Simon: Yeah, I love that strategy." I'm going to accomplish this great goal that's already being accomplished."

Patrick Miller: It's already been accomplished.

Keith Simon: "So that I can take credit for accomplishing it, but it was already accomplished before I even set the goal."

Patrick Miller: And in fact, in 2019, half of all open board seats went to women. Half of all of them went to women, which again, I hear that and I say," That's great." But let's think about what he's doing. He is promoting a narrative." Men are keeping women out and we're not like that." And yet the narrative is false because in the last year, leading up to this, that's exactly what isn't happening.

Keith Simon: But how is this eroding social trust?

Patrick Miller: Well, I think it erodes social trust, again, by playing into a narrative that, one, fuels outrage. You have people on the left who are outraged over these boardrooms that aren't diverse enough. And it fuels outrage on the right, who say," Well, hold on. That's not even the case," or," That's not something we should be worrying about." And so it plays into the culture war narrative, and it puts them on a particular side as the hero. And the whole problem is, it's a made up story.

Keith Simon: I guess I would've said that it erodes social trust because they're being disingenuous. One thing you can know for sure is that Goldman Sachs knew what they were doing. And they knew that women were already on all the boards of S&P 500 companies. And so they had set themselves up to succeed, but they had lied and told a story, and that erodes social trust. But all those stories we told earlier about hypocrisy of people pretending to be something they're not, those stories too, they erode the social trust because we don't believe anyone anymore. We don't believe what we're being told anymore.

Patrick Miller: Let's play into this for a second. I would agree with the ideal that I'd love to have more women in leadership at these corporations. Again, I don't have a problem with that, but there are people who probably do have a problem with that. And you want to know how they discredit Goldman Sachs? It's by looking at Goldman Sachs' misdeeds, because they're virtue signaling, because they're putting on a mask and saying how good they are. There are people who would go and say," Well, actually you're not as good as you look, and that means that all of your ideas are wrong."

Keith Simon: Who is it that doesn't want women to be in boardrooms?

Patrick Miller: I don't know.

Keith Simon: I would guess this. I would guess what people who may be against this are saying is," Let's put qualified people. Let's put the best people with the best resumes who are most likely to push this company forward. And let's not worry about their gender or their race."

Patrick Miller: Yeah. Let's not discriminate on the basis of gender and race.

Keith Simon: We're going to get ourselves in trouble here because we're not trying to make a point about gender diversity or racial diversity. What we're trying to make a point is that businesses tell stories to promote themselves, but they act like they're trying to promote the social welfare or the social good. They're really not. They've always been about themselves and making money. And if they can use a narrative that people on the left like, if they can use a social justice narrative to make money, they will. But don't believe the story that they're telling you. They are about themselves, which is okay, just be up front and be honest about it.

Patrick Miller: Yeah, that's kind of our point. We're like," Look, if you just stay in your lane and be honest, we're okay."

Keith Simon: We want you to make as much money as you can, legally, ethically, morally-

Patrick Miller: All of those things.

Keith Simon: Make as much money as you can because all the time you're making money, you're providing a good, a service or a product that people want. So we're all for you making money, just stop telling us things that aren't true.

Patrick Miller: And along those same lines, it's worth pointing out again, that there are a lot of competing interests here. A CEO who gets up and makes that kind of statement." We won't take a company public unless they have a woman on their board." That CEO, is he defending the interest of Goldman Sachs? Is he defending the interest of shareholders? Or is he a CEO who wants to look a particular way so that when he moves on to his next job as CEO, he's known as the guy who did this great, amazing thing? Here is the man who brought women into the boardroom. Again, problem. He didn't do it. It was already happening. And so again, all this to underline, it erodes our trust in each other. That's the problem. It's not just that. It also erodes our sense of social responsibility because the implicit message is, and we've hit on this earlier," If you buy my product or if you buy our bank's products, if you do that, you are fighting for justice."

Keith Simon: This is the hashtag justice or the product justice, that you really don't have to go out and serve in your community. You don't have to get involved in grassroots politics. Just buy the right t- shirt, say the right slogans, post the right things on Instagram or Twitter. But that erodes social responsibility because what we really need to be doing, you, me, everyone is working for a better society at the street level-

Patrick Miller: At the local level.

Keith Simon: ...where we're actually making sacrifices of our time, our effort, relationships, money, whatever it is, instead of just posting on social media about it.

Patrick Miller: Well, and the irony is if I'm out there buying stuff, thinking now I've done my social justice work or I've fought for the cause, but I'm not getting out into the community to serve, I'm missing a huge opportunity to build social trust. You know what happens when you go to a homeless shelter and feed people and you're alongside people who share your politics and don't share your politics and you're getting to know homeless people and hear their story and how they ended up where they're at, you know what gets built? Social trust. That's how we learn to trust one another.

Keith Simon: Well, what you realize is that the person serving with you is a person of the different political party, but they too care about the community. And they too are willing to sacrifice their time to be out there. And you realize they're just good people. Even if you disagree with them on the second amendment or on abortion or on-

Patrick Miller: Whatever it is.

Keith Simon: ...some other important topic. And so you trust them and you want to live in the community and work for the common good together.

Patrick Miller: And along the same lines. I mean, this is one of the problems with only protesting and not serving. If you protest, it's a guarantee you are only around like- minded people, or if you're not, it's people that you're yelling at-

Keith Simon: Yeah, good point.

Patrick Miller: ...on the other side. So when we start thinking social responsibility equals buying products or doing some sort of protest online or in person, it's not going to help us trust one another more. There's an interesting quote from Jean- Jacques Rousseau, that I think-

Keith Simon: Private school.

Patrick Miller: ...nails this on the head. He said this," As soon as public," not private," as soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of citizens and they would rather serve with their money than with their person, the state is not far from its fall."

Keith Simon: I mean, that hurts. That hurts me, you, everybody.

Patrick Miller: Yeah, everybody.

Keith Simon: Because we know it's easier to write a check than it is to give your time. And I think he's right, that when we just want to give money and not personally invest, we lose touch with our community. We don't trust other people in our community.

Patrick Miller: Absolutely. And when you think about the example set by the CEO of Goldman Sachs again, he's giving us a vision of social justice, which is not getting out there and serving, it's standing in front of a group of very, very wealthy investors and saying," Look at this great idea I have that I'm going to implement."

Keith Simon: Well, and we all know service opportunities that are more photo ops or something you can put in the paper or issue a press release for. We've probably all seen that. And there's something about it that is appealing to us, the dark side of us, because we get the credit without having to do the work. But we know ultimately that it's not healthy for us as individuals, and it's sure not healthy for our communities.

Patrick Miller: I want to kind of wrap a bow on this episode. We've got one other thought to run into next. But before we do, someone's going to walk out of this and say that we're either anti capitalism or even anti stakeholder capitalism. And I don't think that's our point. I think what we're trying to address, and where we started, is the fact that Christians have to navigate their economics, the world in which they live. And there's going to be a way to do shareholder capitalism that could be very destructive, short- term gains can be incredibly destructive. And there's a way to do stakeholder capitalism, which is what we've been discussing, which can also be incredibly destructive. And so the question becomes, what's a positive vision for maybe both share and stakeholder capitalism? That's one reason why we're going to invite Brent Beshore, who I mentioned earlier, who's the owner of a private equity company, who is a leader in this space and is talking to a lot of people in this space to help us think through what a positive vision would be.

Keith Simon: To be honest, Patrick, my main thing that I've been wanting to discuss and think about is, is it really good for our culture and our society for these big businesses to have so much power that they can shut people out of jobs, fire people for stating their beliefs, shut down state economies? Do we really want those companies to have that much power, while they are doing business with China, while they are mistreating their workers in Kenya, while they are fighting against basic protections for people who work in the gig economy? Are these the people that we want to give that much power to?

Patrick Miller: Again, we've talked about Goldman Sachs, but simultaneously, while he's making this big announcement at Davos about how, I hate to say woke, but that's what it is, how woke we are, simultaneously, at the exact same time, it turns that they had paid more than$ 1 billion in bribes to the Wan Malaysia Development Burhard fund. Say that one 10 times fast. Now that might sound like nothing to you. Supposedly, the fund was supposed to help public development projects, but Goldman Sachs, it turns out they knew all along. It was actually basically just a slush fund for Malaysia officials. So they could buy luxury goods, jets, those kind of things.

Keith Simon: Yeah. And Ramaswamy, in the book we've referred to, he has some of his own solutions that he proposes. So one of the things I respect about him is that he doesn't just critique and criticize, but he really tries to offer solutions to some of these problems. And I'd encourage you to check it out. I think some of his solutions are real and legitimate and actually could make a difference.

Patrick Miller: So the last thing we want to do, I want to propose an answer to a question. How did we get here? How did we get to the point that we have this kind of shareholder capitalism taking root so deeply and so quickly? Where did this come from? Again, in Ramaswamy's book, he kind of presents an idea, and I'm going to build on his idea. He has a nice cake. I'm just going to add a layer to that layer cake here today.

Keith Simon: I'm hungry.

Patrick Miller: Yeah, I'm hungry too. But let me suggest this. I want to go back, interestingly, to the Great Depression. So the Great Depression happens, and the public totally loses their faith in capitalism, big business. They had blown it. And what ends up happening in its place is the New Deal politics of FDR. And FDR starts rebuilding the country in kind of a new image. Now, these big corporations, they want to get back in the public's good graces. And so they do the stupid thing. They go out and just promote themselves." Hey, we're great. We're not as bad as you guys think we are."

Keith Simon: Does it work?

Patrick Miller: No, it doesn't work at all.

Keith Simon: Shocked.

Patrick Miller: So World War II happens. People come back and of course, these big businesses still want to win over Americans, but they've discovered," We can't do this ourselves." Luckily, just something drops into their lap. And that is communists.

Keith Simon: Yeah, communists are great to rally the country around, right? I mean," They're evil. They're bad. They're going to take over the world. We're the good people who are going to fight them off."

Patrick Miller: Well. And I mean, they really are kind of evil and do lots of bad things, so it's not a bad boogieman to go point at.

Keith Simon: So the businesses rallied around anti- communism and joined forces with the government, joined forces with the church.

Patrick Miller: That's where things get really interesting. These big businesses discover that there's one particular kind of thought leader who is deeply anti- communist, because communists are deeply anti- God. You want to know who that is?

Keith Simon: The Christian.

Patrick Miller: The Christian, the pastors in particular. And so they start finding pastors who are again, profoundly anti- communist, and they start developing programs that will shape their thinking to help them become-

Keith Simon: They hand out sermon notes, right? crosstalk.

Patrick Miller: They hand out sermon notes. They create magazines. They do all kinds of things.

Keith Simon: "Youcan preach this in your church, that is anti- communism and pro- capitalism, and we mention God plenty," but it turns out that this pro- capitalism message is really good for our big business bottom line.

Patrick Miller: It's actually fascinating when you get into the history of it. There's a great book called One Nation Under God, by Kevin Kruse, where he explores some of this. But they end up developing an organization called spiritual mobilization, and that's what they do. They're training pastors to preach these kinds of things. And interestingly, I mean, they do some kind of dirty things. For example, they have sermon contests. And so if you are a pastor, you could win$ 5, 000, which back then was a lot, lot, lot, lot, lot, lot of money.

Keith Simon: It's still a lot of money to me, bro.

Patrick Miller: Yeah. It's still a lot of money to me, but back then it was a lot of money. And you could win this$ 5, 000 by preaching a sermon based on the theme established by the big business spiritual mobilization group, you could win money. And so you have pastors all over the country entering into these contests and promoting kind of this big business, anti- communism capitalism. They begin founding prayer breakfasts and spiritual groups that are designed to bring together big business leaders and pastors. And of course, this is a heady experience for pastors. They get to be around kind of the movers and the shakers, and together collectively it begins to reshape America's conception of capitalism.

Keith Simon: Yeah. So the pastors are joining forces with big business in an anti- communist message. And the pastors are winning because they are gaining clout and they're getting maybe some money and they're getting help for their churches. And the big businesses are winning because they're being redeemed from being the bad guys during the depression. Their reputation is now kind of being cleaned up and laundered by the church.

Patrick Miller: Well, and it leads to the most Christian decade in American history. So I mean, the whole project actually goes on quite well. What's interesting is that a lot of these business owners were not Christian. They weren't anti- Christian, but they had no interest in faith.

Keith Simon: They were just using the church.

Patrick Miller: And you have these people who aren't Christians working actually, again, very closely with some pastors to promote these goods. They had shared interests. Big picture, the great to oppression happens and America's perception of big business goes down the tank. Big businesses are bad. And then a new vision of what America looks like begins to develop, again, which is not very good for big businesses. But then something drops into their lap. They realize that people who shape the thoughts of everyday Americans, pastors, actually share a lot of their vision. And so they go out of their way to become pro- Christian to help these pastors share this mission so that the pastors could go out like marketers and give big business a facelift.

Keith Simon: So big business gets redeemed by pastors fighting against anti- communist.

Patrick Miller: That's exactly right. So let's fast forward to the present, the great recession of 2008. So this to me is a very real time. It's when I was in college. And so I knew a lot, lot, lot of millennials who graduated from college, couldn't find good jobs, couldn't find paying jobs. Had to live in parents' houses, not because they wanted to, but because everybody was only offering them unpaid internships. And as a result of that great recession, again, America's perception of capitalism goes down the tank. You have Occupy Wall Street movement happening around this time.

Keith Simon: Even the Tea Party was throwing a fit against-

Patrick Miller: Oh yeah, both sides.

Keith Simon: ...the corporate bailouts that happened because of the 2008 recession.

Patrick Miller: Both sides are incredibly angry. And so now again, we have big business. They need a facelift because America no longer trusts them. And guess what happens? Another magic, golden opportunity, except this time, it's not the high priests of Jesus. It's the high priests of social justice who step into the gap. They walk in, and they say," You have heard it said that economics are the real injustice in our country, but I tell you this, it's not economic injustice. It's identity based injustice. The real injustices are rooted in inequity of skin color, of gender, of sexuality. It's nothing to do with economics. That's where the real inequality starts."

Keith Simon: Now who are you saying says that? The social movements or the businesses are saying that?

Patrick Miller: It's the social movements. This comes out of academia. And so you have social justice work. In fact, if you watch the development of Occupy Wall Street, you see this happen. It starts off as a thoroughly economic movement, but a few years in, they start telling white men," You can't speak. You need to take the backseat." And it shifts from being about economics to all of a sudden being about identity politics.

Keith Simon: And so the big businesses take advantage of this. And they say," Here is our chance to launder our reputation, just like we did with the depression. We used the church to rally against anti- communism. Here now, we're going to launder our reputation by working with the activists against identity based discrimination or injustices."

Patrick Miller: Well, think about it from their perspective. Up until then, what's the problem? Economics, that's the problem. Then someone comes along and says," Actually, you know what the real problem is? It's not economic injustice, it's something else." Well, that's something a big business can get behind." Yeah, of course it's not economics. It is about gender. It is about race." And so what do they do? They do spiritual mobilization, that organization I talked about, they do it all over again. They start pumping money into organizations that are promoting this identity based politics. They start saying it themselves. They're going to be pro- progressive politics. The exact same way that those companies, which weren't really Christian, became very explicitly pro- Christian.

Keith Simon: And just like you said that the big business owners weren't necessarily Christian. I mean, I'm sure some of them were, but most weren't, they were just using the church. So also, I don't think most of them actually buy what they're selling. Of course, some do.

Patrick Miller: Some do.

Keith Simon: Some it's really sincere, but a lot of people they're just using the activists to launder their own reputation while they're making money, hand over fist, behind the scenes.

Patrick Miller: Yeah. On the point of sincerity, there were business owners who authentically became Christians. And I think there are business owners who have authentically converted to the religion of wokeness. I think there'll be people listening and saying," That's not true." Well, it's a both/ and. But again, do you see the pattern happening? There is a financial recession. People lose faith in capitalism. And then someone comes along and he says," The real problem isn't economics. The real problem is social inequity based on identity." My last thought in the midst of this has to do with my fellow millennials and even myself. If you are a millennial, there is a good chance that you will make less than your parents did. It's the first generation-

Keith Simon: Are you sure?

Patrick Miller: Oh, you can find all kinds of studies that show this. I read one study for-

Keith Simon: I think my kids are going to do better than me now.

Patrick Miller: Well, that's because you're a pastor. And your kids are some Gen Z. So what this has to do with this is where you're at on that great recession.

Keith Simon: I have two each.

Patrick Miller: One of your millennials is really smart and in med school. So she's definitely going to make more than you.

Keith Simon: She's my retirement plan.

Patrick Miller: She is your retirement plan. No, no, no. I read something and it was showing that millennials, on the whole, make less than the generation that came right before them and the generation that's coming right after them. In other words, they came into the workplace at much lower wages and that had to do with the great recession.

Keith Simon: Can you imagine what it's like to office with Patrick and me, to hear his," Woe are the millennial," stories over and over and over?

Patrick Miller: Have I said," Woe are the millennials"?

Keith Simon: Yeah. You're right now.

Patrick Miller: All right. Well, let me make my point. Here's my point. When you realize that you will more likely than not have less than your parents did. And the myth that you grew up with was that every generation gets more, every generation gets better. If I know I'm going to have less money than my parents, I am going to have something better than them. I'm going to be more moral than them. I'm going to be more righteous than them. I'm going to be more progressive than they ever were. And I think this is the temptation that millennials, and I actually don't think Gen Z will ultimately buy into this temptation, which will be interesting to watch. This is the temptation that my generation has bought into. In the place of financial success, I will be a Pharisee.

Keith Simon: So you're saying that as a generation, the generation's going to end up winning somehow. And if they can't win in the traditional American dream sense, they're going to win by finding holes, by picking apart all that their parents and previous generations did wrong.

Patrick Miller: Absolutely. And I say this to myself because I am a cynic. I have a deep delight in deconstruction, and I have to question myself is what's driving me to become invested in certain politics or ideas of justice, diversity, all of those things, is what's driving me this kind of pharisaical," I want to be better than the previous generation"? And am I allowing myself to just become a marketer for these corporations that saw an opportunity in identity politics to whitewash their reputations? Those are serious ethical questions, and I think if we're following Jesus, we have to ask those questions. So big picture, if you care about justice, if you care about economics, if you're someone who says," I want to be thoughtful about how I engage," which is what Jesus called us to do. Remember Christians always engaged at every level of an economic system, and yet Christians always had to disrupt as well. They always had to issue challenges in the name of justice. That's all we're challenging, you who are listening. That's what we're you to do. You might not agree with Keith and I on everything. You might not agree with the problems we see or with the solutions we see, but I hope you can agree with the questions that we're asking.

Keith Simon: Thanks for listening. If you found this podcast helpful, make sure to subscribe and leave a review.

Patrick Miller: And make sure it's at least five stars.

Keith Simon: Stop. No, just be honest. Reviews help other people find us.

Patrick Miller: Okay, okay. At the very least you can share today's episode, maybe put it on your social, your favorite text chain.

Keith Simon: And if you didn't like this episode, awesome. Tell us why you disagree on Twitter @ truthovertribe_. We might even share your thoughts in an upcoming newsletter.

DESCRIPTION

If you commercialize social activism or service, does that cheapen social justice? Should CEOs of a company use their company's platform to enforce their ethical agenda? In today's episode, Keith and Patrick take a look at these questions and many more. They discuss the moral limitations to what capitalism should be involved in. They start with LLCs and the dark side that can live in an LLC. Then you'll hear a deep dive into shareholder and stakeholder capitalism and the problems that can come with each: dangerous hypocrisy, covering up wrongdoings, a lack of social trust, and more. Listen now for a complete discussion on the rise of woke capitalism.


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