The editor of the conservative magazine National Review spoke about economic and social issues at an event organized by New York University’s College of the Republic.
NYU’s College Republicans denounced “awakened capitalism,” or investing to improve the environment and society, in a speech Wednesday. A guest speaker at the gathering — Andrew Statford, who is the editor of the conservative magazine National Review — argued against the popular investment principle of environmental, social and corporate governance, which many conservatives call “awakened capitalism.”
Statford argued that this principle, often referred to as ESG, is being unduly promoted in investment banking, increases investment risks for shareholders and undermines US democracy. His appearance marked the fourth meeting of the semester for NYU Republicans and the first with a guest speaker.
ESG is an investment strategy that prioritizes environmental and social concerns to achieve goals such as reducing carbon emissions and promoting workforce diversity. This concept has caused consternation among conservative politicians, who oppose “capitalism has woken up.”
“Vakism” adopted a wide set of definitions in the republican lexicon, becoming in practice a general term for any policy or position that conservatives oppose.
College Republicans President Nate Siratovich said he asked Stattford to speak at the event because he wants the club to focus more on economic policy.
“We discuss a lot of social issues, but there were not enough conversations in terms of economic ones,” Siratovich said. “We decided to bring in a speaker who is more focused on capitalism and economics rather than social issues.”
Statford criticized the CEO of BlackRock — an investment company with trillions of dollars in assets and one of the biggest fans ESG – for manages his money badly and stifles criticism in the workplace. CEO Lawrence Douglas Fink is the current Vice Chair of the NYU Board of Trustees. Fink has – argued the critics of BlackRock’s ESG practices in the past to make his comments overly personal.
Despite Fink’s criticism, Stutaford said he disagrees with most Republicans who oppose ESG practices, but said he believes ESG critics want the principle itself to be profitable.
Although Stuttaford is skeptical about the profitability of ESG, other economists argue that ESG is financially beneficial. A 2021 study by NYU’s Stern Center for Sustainable Business found that from 2015 to 2020, 58% of ESG investments positive financial growth was observed21% had mixed financial growth and 8% resulted in financial losses.
NYU student Ian Barrera said he was glad to see a balanced debate at the event, as he leans more to the left than many other conservatives.
“It’s important for people to hear reasonable conservative arguments,” Barreiro said. “Right now, most people see Donald Trump as being pretty outrageous and horrible, so I think it’s fair to hear from more intelligent conservatives.”
Contact Caleb Pisoni and Connor Patton in [email protected]