Diversify or Else
photo by: hannahbeth2012
I have written previously about the habit of progressives to do “whatever works” in order to achieve their economic or social goals. They do this because they do not want to do the research and analysis to understand the reason that their goals are not being met in order to have the information and understanding needed to resolve the problem. Either that, or they fear that the answer will not match their ideologically constrained beliefs.
The most recent attempt to do whatever works to make the world match their ideological preferences is a law introduced by California State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson to require publicly traded companies domiciled in California to have at least one woman on their board of directors by the end of next year and 2 or 3 women by 2021 depending on the size of the board. A previous law sponsored by Senator Jackson urging companies to do the right was to no avail so the stricter version was soon required.
Only about 17% of the boards of companies in the Russell 3000 Index (which encompasses most of the public companies in the United States) are all male. Eighty-six of these companies are in California including Skechers, Inc. and Stamps.com.
On CNBC’s Squawk Box this morning (September 5, 2018) Senator Jackson made her case. Women make up more than half of the population and make about 70% of the consumer purchase decisions. Even further, companies with women CEOs and/or women on the board of directors are more profitable than companies with all-male boards. This fact has been attested to by no less than hedge fund manager and Shark Tank-host Kevin O’Leary who states he will only invest in companies with female CEOs.
If this is the case, then why wouldn’t a public company want more women in senior management and board positions? Why wouldn’t the shareholders of such companies demand that there be more women in such positions (actually some, such as State Street Global Advisors and Blackrock, Inc. are doing so)? But this is that hard work that progressives are loath at doing.
Senator Jackson also noted that European companies have a much higher percentage of female board participation than the United States. She had to admit, however, that this was not due to the greater progressiveness of European companies but rather to the greater progressiveness of European governments that have forced companies to put women in these positions.
And so California in its progressive wisdom is attempting to emulate their social democratic mentors in Europe by passing a law to force women onto the boards of the recalcitrant and likely misogynistic companies. Of course there will soon come new mandates for black, Asian and LGBTQ board members.
The common theme in these new mandates, like all other “whatever works” policies is coercion. And only government has the power to coerce companies and the people that own them to bend to the will of these new mandates. Progressives do not have the power (or the philosophical basis) to accomplish this task by themselves. They want to make us do the right thing (as determined by them) no matter how much we might resist. And so one more intrusion of government inches into our daily lives and another small bit of our liberty is chipped away. Pretty soon all companies will have a Communist Party cadre on the board of directors, in addition to the women, as President Xi is doing in China.
Coercion is the basis for all the policies pushed by progressives. The state knows best. The state can nudge us in the right direction. If we are too dense to take the hint the gentle nudge becomes a harder shove. Can the “corrective labor camps” be very far behind?
The sad thing is that much progress has been made and is continuing to be made. And our society and our businesses are becoming more open and integrated. But not fast enough for our progressive friends and Senator Jackson. Time for a little re-education?
Another thing our progressive friends should consider.
What makes you think that once you have created this great and powerful government to make people “do the right thing” that this government will actually adhere to your progressive agenda? There were only 4 women members of the Politburo in the entire 70 plus years of the Soviet Union. There is currently only one woman (out of 25) on the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party. A concentration of power attracts power-hungry people. Lobbyists, bankers and CEOs (as well as other seekers of power) flock to Washington, DC because they want to capture some of the already tremendous power of government for their own advantage (see: On the Nature of Capture). Increasing the power and scope of government to suit your progressive agenda will not eliminate these people. It will just make them change their tactics.