A leading voice in the upcoming presidential race called out former Shark Tank host Mark Cuban for his defense of “woke capitalism.”
- Vivek Ramaswamy is a business leader and author of Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam, who announced on February 22 that he is running for president in the 2024 presidential election as a Republican.
- On Sunday’s episode of Fox News Sunday, Ramaswamy spoke out against fellow business leader Mark Cuban’s claims that woke capitalism is a positive for large businesses.
- Cuban previously defended woke capitalism in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, saying, “There is a reason almost all the top-10 market-cap companies in the U.S. can be considered ‘woke.’ It’s good business.”
Why It’s News
The disagreement between Cuban and Ramaswamy captures both sides of the ongoing debate and culture war surrounding “woke capitalism” and to what degree the corporate world should embrace it—with one side arguing heavily in favor of ESG governance, and diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, and the other saying that they are bad for business.
Ramaswamy has defined his presidential campaign as a battle against the rise of “wokeness” within the government and corporate worlds. “My view is that businesses have a purpose. It is to provide products and services to customers who actually need them and, yes, to make a profit unapologetically.”
However, Cuban feels that these policies are best in the long run. He says that executives are smart enough to know that they can endure a harsh news cycle and public backlash without permanently harming their businesses.
Ramaswamy disagrees, pointing out the successful consumer boycotts that have been waged against Bud Light and Target that have resulted in multibillion-dollar stock-valuation drops and currently show no signs of stopping. He says that apolitical spaces are better for business and that wading into social disputes harms these businesses and the country overall.
Fellow Shark Tank host Kevin O’Leary sides with Ramaswamy, countering Cuban’s quote by saying, “The role of a business, a corporation in America for the last 200 years, has been to serve customers, their employees and their shareholders … not to educate society on the social issue of the day. They’re learning that very quickly.”
As we previously reported, asset management companies—including BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street—have played a major role in the promulgation of perceived “woke” ideas and their spread in the corporate world, with these companies pressuring others to embrace a new pro-ESG and pro-DEI status quo.
Ramaswamy is currently tied in fifth place for the nomination with 3% of Republican voters, alongside former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley. He is currently well behind the frontrunners—former President Donald Trump (59%) and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (19%), The Morning Consult reports.