O’Sullivan’s Law

All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing.

This “law” was first defined in 1989. Thirty years later it seems far more prescient than anyone at the time might have imagined.

For example, this would be funny if it were satire:

181 CEOs of major corporations redefine the purpose of a company. No, really they did.

While we’re in a mood for favourite quotations, here’s good one from G. K. Chesterton:

….let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.

Back to our social justice warrior CEOs. One wonders whether the concept of Chesterton’s Fence ever crossed their minds when they happily redefined the purpose of privately-owned companies, given the almost 400-year history behind such things?

I once briefly worked for a large banking and finance company and read with interest an interview with the CEO where he claimed to be “driving innovation in the insurance industry”. It’s a pretty hubristic and arrogant claim to be a “disrupter” of a centuries-old business model where risk remedies are described on paper, exchanged for money and then re-issued to multiple parties to distribute potential impact. It’s not quite as simple a business idea as “bake bread, sell bread”, but it’s not far off.

Of course, he wasn’t driving innovation at all; the company had simply launched a flaky and quite rubbish mobile phone app and meanwhile he’d taken his focus off the core business in all his excitement. He was unemployed within a year of that interview after a particularly damning set of end-of year accounts.

So, our coalition of the woke have decided their shareholders aren’t their first priority, eh? Well, let’s hope they’ve employed a good speech-writer for the next shareholder’s meeting, as things might become a little warm, particularly if the annual report isn’t stellar.

Bill’s Opinion

It’s great that the 181 CEOs have helpfully signalled to the market that they care less about shareholder value than being “good corporate citizens”, however that nebulous statement is defined.

Perhaps we might continue to invest our pension funds into their company stock, perhaps we might not, but our decision is more informed now than it was prior to their virtue signalling press release.

In related news, Brian Hartzer is rapidly completing his application form to join The Business Roundtable.

3 Replies to “O’Sullivan’s Law”

  1. “So, our coalition of the woke have decided their shareholders aren’t their first priority, eh? Well, let’s hope they’ve employed a good speech-writer for the next shareholder’s meeting, as things might become a little warm, particularly if the annual report isn’t stellar.”

    I think that unfortunately they may well have received the right backing to do this. Not that I endorse it or that it makes it right, it would be naive to think that this circle (round table) within a higher circle is not merely promoting the instruction that has came out down to them from a higher circle.

    Milton Friedman would be turning in his grave on the announcement of the roll out of this latest plank of the US Manifesto.

    It’s yet another major erosion of the concept of US liberty in favour of the collective at the expense of the individual. Corporations dont have rights and should never favour one type over another, it is only individuals that have rights in that they should be rewarded for production ie using material and resources wisely. Those individuals that produce things improve the society around them and do not rely on the state to provide for them, those that produce can also provide to those that dont. Those that neither produce nor are beneficiaries of those that do, must rely on the state to survive. The state (collective) should only protect rights and never provide anything especially falsehoods around prodcution and the proper use of capital and labour. Therefore the individual rights to property and production is essential for liberty, freedom and justice.

    Verdict : Collectivists defeat individual rights and further erode their liberty.

    Cue Braveheart Freedom speech…………………..

  2. There is quite an interesting article in today’s AFR about this. It will be quite interesting to see how if unfolds for these businesses.

    In other news, it seems strangely quiet out of the CEO’s office at the moment. But that happens when there is a material restructure on. I am wondering when the chickens come home to roost. Brian has been in charge either as group exec for retail or CEO for a good portion of the period that is responsible for a lot of the remediation cost and some interesting APRA findings lately.

    1. My sources inside Wokepac suggest there is an Augean Stables cleaning underway.

      My cynical view is that those who can get a job elsewhere will be dropping hints and those who can’t will remain. I actually have a hypothesis about this phenomenon which I may document here when I’ve more time.

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