Owen Jones tells us how terrible it is that companies, corporates, the capitalist money grubbers, partake of currently fashionable mores to boost their exploitation of the peeps. As soon as something becomes fashionable then there’s some plutocrat trying to make a buck out of it. Lacoste prints t-shirts with near extinct animals, M&S does a pune* by adding guacamole to a sandwich, Chevron talks about climate change, all of this is just the most terrible coopting of righteous justice in the interests of making a buck, eh?
The idiot entirely missing that this means he’s won. That righteous and just cause has now become a manner of making a buck. People do more of things which make a buck, less of those things which cost. That wokeness has changed the incentives faced by economic actors – the game of changing society being to change the incentives people face and thus their behaviour.
Seriously, how stupid do you have to be not to even recognise victory?
Imagine getting angry over a sandwich. When Marks & Spencer launched its LGBT sandwich – basically, your classic BLT with some gay guacamole thrown in – I, along with a list of other LGBTQ commentators, was asked by ITV’s This Morning if I was offended by the sandwich. I wasn’t, and neither were any of the others they asked, so this fixture of daytime television settled on a former associate of David Icke, who proceeded to rant about trans people. How did we arrive at a point where sandwich packaging is debated on daytime TV?
Brands are increasingly flirting with the realm of politics. This week, Lacoste announced it would swap its trademark crocodile logo for 10 limited-edition polo shirts featuring a different endangered species instead; it was soon pointed out that the company was offering “gloves made from deer leather” and “cow leather handbags” online. When police asked McDonald’s to stop selling milkshakes in Edinburgh during a visit by Nigel Farage – following the “milkshaking” of far-right activists – Burger King cheekily announced to the “people of Scotland” that they were “selling milkshakes all weekend”. But has this fast food giant really joined the anti-fascist resistance?
You don’t have to have digested Karl Marx’s Das Kapital to recognise that companies are driven by the profit motive, not changing the world.
Quite so, that last line is the necessary insight.
Imagine, just for a moment. And sticking with that subject so close to Owen’s pure little heart, LGBT. Wind the world back 50 or 60 years. Marks and Spencer, supplier of undergarments to the ladies of the nation, comes out with the statement “You know, consensual buggery should be allowed. Actually, such love should be celebrated with parades”. They would go bust in three weeks, possibly be prosecuted, certainly it would not make a profitable return for the capitalist owners of the business. Today the same company makes a pune* about LGBT by sticking guacamole into a BLT and giving the acronym a shake. Is this woke washing? Sure it is.
It’s also that sweet smell and taste of victory. 60 years of righteous screaming, shouting, campaigning, has turned basic civil liberty for consenting adults into something it’s profitable for capitalists to do. Which means, obviously enough, given their lust for pilf and gelt, that capitalists will do more of it. We’ve managed to change the incentives in society to engender the behaviour desired. We’ve won.
You idiot, whining, fool Jones.
It’s the very existence of woke washing that shows the victory.