Ben & Jerry’s interview gives awakened capitalism its right desserts


Awakened capitalism has gained popularity in recent years. Unlike traditional free market capitalism which says companies exist to create shareholder value, awakened capitalism postulates that companies must consider ideas of social justice such as “climate change” and “diversity, l ‘equity and inclusion’ when making business decisions.

Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is no exception. Following heightened tensions between Israel and Hamas, Ben & Jerry’s stopped selling ice cream in the Israeli West Bank, saying: “We believe that it is incompatible with our values ​​that our product is present within the framework of an internationally recognized illegal occupation.

Ben & Jerry’s website does not explain what Israeli policies conflict with its values ​​or how stopping ice cream sales leads to peace in the Middle East. But as seen in Axios’ interview, moral clarity plays a tiny role in the ideological framework of awakened capitalism.

In the interview, Axios’ Alexi McCammond asks, “You are big supporters of the franchise, why are you still selling ice cream in Georgia? Texas, abortion bans, why are you still selling there? “

Cohen replies, “I don’t know. I mean, that’s an interesting question. I don’t know what that would accomplish. We are working on these voting rights issues.

While Cohen “doesn’t know” how stopping Georgia ice cream sales is advancing their questionable idea of ​​”voting rights”, then surely, stopping the sales of ice cream in the West Bank in Israel does little for the Jews, Palestinians and Christians who live there.

But based on Cohen’s response, the decision to stop selling its ice cream in the West Bank was not about the company’s values. This appeased Ben & Jerry’s ice cream board chairperson Anuradha Mittal, who according to an August 2021 report item published in the New York Post, was accused of funneling tens of thousands of dollars in company profits to fund her pro-Palestinian nonprofit group.

Unilever PLC, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, did not buy Ben & Jerry’s for its lively ideas, but to sell its product in the market. This example illustrates the preference of enlightened capitalism to align business owners with progressive elites rather than making good business decisions like selling ice cream near a desert.

Cohen, Greenfield, and their awakened counterparts should focus on what they do best: running their business. The famous economist Milton Friedman wrote in his 1970 essay “A Friedman Doctrine” published in the New York Times, “There is only one and unique corporate social responsibility: to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits as long as it respects the rules of the game, that is to say -to say that it engages in an open and free competition without deception or fraud.

Businesses do the right thing when creating products and services that meet customer needs. This increases sales and profits, a result that benefits business leaders and their customers.

Awakened capitalism, on the other hand, calls on business leaders to use progressive left-wing ideas in making business decisions. This made them popular with ruling elites in mainstream media, Silicon Valley, and woke up Wall Street, an outcome driven by self-interest rather than good business.

America’s free market system creates endless opportunities for individuals to use their talents and interests to create value. But awakened CEOs and entrepreneurs like Cohen and Greenfield have instead embraced awakened capitalism, an ideology that puts the appearance of moral righteousness above the creation of shareholder value.

Ben & Jerry’s ice cream may have calmed the awakening by not selling its ice cream in the West Bank of Israel. But Axios’ interview with Cohen and Greenfield illustrates the hypocrisy and self-interest of awakened capitalism.

In other words, the Axios interview gives Ben, Jerry and the Woken up their righteous desserts.

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