No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘ESG Investing

That’s not funny!

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The cartoon Dilbert has been around for about three decades. It always had a specific audience in mind and that was anybody who had ever worked in a corporate or government environment. That was because such people were the ones most attuned to the insanities and inanities of those worlds, particularly the meetings they involve and especially the ones involving senior management.

If you’d never worked in that world you likely didn’t get the humour, which was gentle and poked fun at the endless stream of ideas that constantly sweep through the worlds of corporations and governments, many of them being ideas far removed from the objectives of increased revenue, reduced costs, increased productivity and, of course, profit – or in the case of government, running things competently and not at a continuous loss that screws future generations.

The eponymous character is an engineer, chosen because often they’re often the most based people in an organisation, since the stuff they design and build has to work in the real world. But engineers often find themselves at odds with marketing, advertising and HR people, not to mention that good old senior management.

The cartoon has done pretty well over the decades, spreading around the globe and becoming known to denizens of the non-corporate world as the issues Dilbert and friends cope with emerge into everyday life as well.

However, clearly there’s a limit to which ideas fun can be poked at any more. Clueless, amoral managers, marketers, and advertisers pushing crazy shit is one thing as a target, but Woke World is quite another. And so, inevitably:

Here’s the cartoon that triggered it.

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Written by Tom Hunter

September 26, 2022 at 2:23 pm

Escaping from the rest of us.

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Cool Pic. Very 2001ish. HAL’s unblinking red eye is in that small, black rectangle at the end.

It’s only one line – but a memorable one – from this report in The Guardian about various billionaires spending lots of money to prepare for something bad that may happen.

Prepping is no longer for Low Rent nutters…

Eventually, they edged into their real topic of concern: New Zealand or Alaska? Which region would be less affected by the coming climate crisis? It only got worse from there. Which was the greater threat: global warming or biological warfare? How long should one plan to be able to survive with no outside help? Should a shelter have its own air supply? What was the likelihood of groundwater contamination? Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system, and asked: “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?” The event. That was their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, solar storm, unstoppable virus, or malicious computer hack that takes everything down.

It’s as if they want to build a car that goes fast enough to escape from its own exhaust

What’s really funny is that this group of the mega-rich actually invited this guy, Douglas Rushkoff, a self-described “Marxist media theorist for advice on where and how to configure their doomsday bunkers“, to advise them about their plans – apparently not caring that he would include all this in a book and then an article in every Lefty Luvvie’s fave news site, The Guardian (well, not every one of them – the True Believers only read Jacobin).

Of course they don’t care because their wealth insulates them from anything this guy might say “back home”. Still, it means he can write about his obsessions by leveraging off their obsessions:

Never before have our society’s most powerful players assumed that the primary impact of their own conquests would be to render the world itself unliveable for everyone else.

Eh? I’ll grant you that the IT world sucks up an incredible amount of energy – for a time the global BitCoin insanity was gobbling more power than nations the size of Argentina – but it’s traditional industries and agriculture that’s getting the blame for despoiling our world. The former for at least two hundred years if William Blake’s “dark Satanic Mills” is anything to go by. It’s a good bet that these assholes are totally behind the WEF, insects as food, ESG Investing, electric vehicles and “de-carbonising” the economy.

But like all good Marxists Rushkoff doesn’t see that because he’s onboard for most of those things and doesn’t see how badly his beloved Toiling Masses are going to be screwed by the flipside of his Scientific Inevitability. The disasters heading our way, starting with energy deprivation in Europe, stem from things that Rushkoff supports and which these guys have the wealth to be insulated from – but he blames them.

Having said that I did appreciate his social, human advice – which they scoffed at, and in doing so revealed perhaps their major weakness, which is that they don’t seem to really have a fucking clue about humanity.

One had already secured a dozen Navy Seals to make their way to his compound if he gave them the right cue. But how would he pay the guards once even his crypto was worthless? What would stop the guards from eventually choosing their own leader?

The billionaires considered using special combination locks on the food supply that only they knew. Or making guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in return for their survival. Or maybe building robots to serve as guards and workers – if that technology could be developed “in time”.

I tried to reason with them. I made pro-social arguments for partnership and solidarity as the best approaches to our collective, long-term challenges. The way to get your guards to exhibit loyalty in the future was to treat them like friends right now, I explained. Don’t just invest in ammo and electric fences, invest in people and relationships. They rolled their eyes at what must have sounded to them like hippy philosophy.

I did have to laugh. Any professional skilled in the use of violence is probably going to want more than just access to food and water; he’s probably going to want access to the wives and any other females linked to these clowns – and that’s while things are good. When the supplies run low the “billionaires” will need to stop talking about “their” bunker and perhaps even make themselves scarce – and hope they haven’t put on too much weight.

The thing is that Rushkoff is right on that last part, although I was surprised to see him keep it micro, making only a slight reference to what I would think is his larger point as a Marxist; about expanding partnership and solidarity to a large collective in order to meet future challenges.

But these clowns can’t see that, for all the smarts that have made them fantastically rich. They also can’t see human history either, which offers the answer. Clans and kinship based groups will do well. Relationship based groups will do well. Some random former billionaire surrounded by 12 militaristic types…

It’s also a good example of how capitalists, especially the richest ones, really don’t get that Capitalism is a cooperative effort, but then Business has always been a frenemy of Capitalism.

He calls it Silicon Valley escapism – The Mindset – but read the whole thing.