If you want to see clearly the actual aims of business, look at what their lobbying arms do. It is nothing but bribe-based rent-seeking covered by a thin, grimy layer of propaganda.
Knowing what you know about the nature of crony capitalism and regulatory capture and lobbying as a veneer for theft, what is the most cynical possible goal you can imagine for a group called the, ahem, “Main Street Investors Coalition?” If you guessed “to stop investors from making companies behave in a more socially responsible way,” you win a prize. (The prize is a bucket of sewage.) Bonus points if you also correctly predicted that the Main Street Investors Coalition is funded by the National Association of Manufacturers, one of the most powerful corporate trade groups in DC. Yes, my friends: I regret to inform you that the “Main Street Investors Coalition” is a pure astroturf operation designed to attempt to insulate major corporations from making any changes that would benefit the public but cost them money. I, too, was shocked and disappointed.
Dealbook lays out clearly this case of cynical public affairs pseudo-opinionmongering. The entire existence of the “Main Street Investors Coalition” is simply a way for corporate interests to try to assert in the media that regular people, rather than multibillion-dollar corporations, are very concerned about the idea that large money managers like Vanguard and Blackrock might mount proxy fights to promote “environmental, social and governance causes on issues like climate change, gun control and employee diversity.” Why no, it is not Dow Chemical that is opposed to the shareholder resolution to stop injecting poison directly into farmland via an enormous hose directly from corporate headquarters—it is Karen, the hardworking single mother with $936.14 in her 401(k) account! Nothing incenses Karen more than the idea that her money management firm might want to make corporations very slightly more humane to employees and the earth! She spends every waking hour composing angry op-eds about the topic for publication in DC trade journals, when she is not working her second job to pay the rent!
Basically this shit is so transparently false and cynical and disgusting and barely disguised that it only exists because they don’t think anyone pays attention or cares about how corrupt it is. So look at it. Nasty.
[Congratulations also to Andrew Ross Sorkin for this story we did not want to make fun of.]