Investor Virtue Signaling In A Capitalist Country Is Fascinating

Virtue signaling is the public expression of opinions or sentiments intended to demonstrate one's good character, social conscience, or the moral correctness of one's position on a particular issue.

I don't mind virtue signaling if the person also lives by their beliefs. It is natural to want to demonstrate to the world one's beliefs, especially about a cause one truly believes in.

For example, I believe the #1 minority we should help is the ~15% of the population born with a disability of some sort. As a result, I incorporate the topic in relevant posts and donate accordingly.

The problem lies in being overly virtuous to the point of making other people feel morally inferior. Virtue signallers enjoy the privilege of feeling better about themselves by doing very little. Even worse is when people's actions are inconsistent with their beliefs.

Before we get to the curious case of investor virtue signaling in a capitalist country like America, let's review some common examples of virtue signaling in day-to-day life.

Examples of virtue signaling with inconsistent actions:

  • Politicians who talk about how important it is to support public schools while sending their own kids to private schools.
  • University administrators who talk about how important it is to help people from all races and socioeconomic backgrounds, yet keeps class sizes artificially small to retain exclusivity. Then they create a personal score system to throttle certain races.
  • Vegetarians who rail against carnivores, yet wear leather shoes.
  • Department of Building inspectors who condemn homeowners for remodeling without permits, yet take bribes from developers who want to cut corners and boost profits.
  • Rich people who say how unfair it is they pay so little in taxes, yet don't voluntarily pay more taxes themselves.
  • People who believe that all content should be free online without ads, yet don't work for free themselves.
  • Personal finance personalities who say that it's important to make personal finance education accessible to all, yet charge $2,000+ for courses.
  • Proponents of more housing (Yes In My Backyard), yet object to new housing being built in their neighborhood.
  • Supporters of illegal immigrants who get upset when illegal immigrants come to their city
  • People who want to defund the police, yet expect the police to come ASAP when they need help

The list goes on and on. Virtue signaling is commonplace. Just don't obnoxiously force your views on others while not following your own beliefs. If your actions follow your beliefs, you're good to go. If not, get out of town.

An Example Of Honorable Virtue Signaling

After all these negative examples of virtue signaling, what about some positive examples?

Here is one that is both sad and honorable.

The parents of a killed bakery owner sought clemency for the murder of their daughter after she was carjacked. Because the deceased strongly believed in restorative justice instead of incarceration or further punishment, her parents want to let him go.

If you are willing to die for your beliefs, there is no greater sacrifice. The problem with this scenario is what if the carjacker decides to kill someone else?

Investor Virtue Signaling Is An Interesting Phenomenon

Investor virtue signaling is when an investor publicly expresses disdain over a particular investment usually due to ethics or moral reasons. That's fine given we live in a free country with capitalism at its core. We are free to say and invest in whatever we choose.

However, as investors, we all want to make a return on our investments. Otherwise, why bother taking any risk? Hence, it strikes me as odd when an investor who has other investments believes one way of making money is more noble than another.

Yes, of course, profiting off of slave labor or anything illegal is wrong. But if an investor owns publicly-traded stocks and starts to virtue signal against others who invest in publicly-traded stocks, I start to scratch my head. The same goes for real estate investors who virtue signal against other types of real estate investors.

If you are participating in capitalism, please don't rail against capitalism! Depending on the type of investor virtue signaling, it makes me wonder whether the investor virtue signaler truly understands the nature of investing.

The Nature Of Investing Revolves Around Supply And Demand

Everybody who has been investing for as long as I have knows that investing can be a treacherous activity. Investing always consists of a two-sided marketplace where if one side wins more, the other side loses more or doesn't win as much, and vice versa.

One of the most important variables that makes asset classes more valuable is when demand for the asset outstrips supply. The more scarce an asset is, often, the greater its value.

For example, real estate in prime locations that are harder to build new homes in tends to be more valuable than real estate in areas with endless land to build. Think real estate prices in San Francisco and Manhattan compared to real estate prices in Boise.

Public companies that seldom issue new shares tend to be more valuable than companies that always issue new shares to fund operations. A classic example is $SNAP, which has paid out a total of $8.2 billion in Stock Based Compensation since its 2017 IPO, yet has lost $9.2 billion since. Its share price has gone nowhere.

A one-of-a-kind piece of art tends to be more valuable than a piece of art that was recreated a thousand times. A cryptocurrency with a fixed supply will be more valuable than a cryptocurrency with an endless supply. The list goes on.

As an investor who understands the concept of scarcity, one of your goals is to buy as much of a particular scarce asset as possible and hold it for as long as possible. Over time, you and your family will likely make a fortune.

Example Of Investor Virtue Signaling

Since 2016, I've been an investor in private real estate funds like the ones offered by Fundrise. My goal is to diversify my concentrated real estate holdings in expensive San Francisco and earn more passive income given I became a dad in 2017.

One way to do so is by investing online in individual private real estate deals in the Sunbelt. Another way to do so is to invest in private real estate funds that focus on the Sunbelt and Heartland region. I decided to do both because I envisioned the future of the spreading out of America.

After interviewing Ben Miller, CEO of Fundrise for an hour on my podcast, I received this comment on my post about the interview from D.

Love your posts Sam but this is one thing I disagree with on ethical terms. It appears Fundrise is really Blackstone, These are parasitic organizations that are financializing American real estate. The future generations will have limited chance of the American Dream of home ownership.

I can see good profits can be made but I personally do not support this type of investing on an ethical basis. If you feel this is not the case I would love to hear your argument.

The Right To Think And Invest How We Want

I'm totally OK with D not wanting to invest in Fundrise or any private real estate funds. This is the beauty of living in America. He has the power to speak his mind and do what he wants.

Nobody is holding a gun to a seller's head either and forcing them to sell to Fundrise or any other institutional investor. Meanwhile, Fundrise has the right to seek real estate investment opportunities to try and make a profit for its investors. Fundrise focuses on build-to-rent, which offers new supply of housing to renters. That’s capitalism.

Given D's beliefs, I asked him what he does for a living and what he invests in. My assumption was that he worked at a non-profit, the government, or at a school, and did not invest in real estate. Otherwise, his comment would be viewed as inconsistent investor virtue signaling.

Here was his unexpected response, which I appreciate, because most people who feel strongly about a topic often don't share their backgrounds or viewpoints. They are more like drive-by shooters.

Libertarian Real Estate Investor

I am a pharma consultant – in an industry that is overly profit motivated. I lean libertarian and I believe strongly in freedom. But that does not mean I would invest in anything at all that makes money. If heroin were to be legalized and I could make a larger profit I still would not put my money into it.

I personally do not buy into the ESG/Woke/Climate BS but I am concerned about vampire squid like Blackrock destroying the American Dream that my grandparents helped build here. Money is a means to an end. More is not always better. Who wants to be wealthy behind guarded gates worried their children will be kidnapped from private schools? We must tread carefully or what kind of country will we leave to our grandchildren?

As for my investments, they are mainly real estate. I personally do not like stocks though I do have a 401k so I am stuck in either stocks or bonds. I invest mainly in certain Dow and some value though I am leaning more toward safe bonds/CDs as interest rates are up and I am nearing retirement.

So there it is, nothing fancy and I am not a SJW but I am someone who believes we reap what we sow. “Our constitution was made only for moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams

Maximum Profits Based On Personal Beliefs

Whoah! I did not expect D to be a real estate investor who earns money as a pharmaceutical consultant!

Big pharma companies have a team of experienced pharma consultants who help conduct clinical trials and brainstorm new ways to serve their target audience to maximize profits.

As one commenter pointed out, Pharma is one of the most controversial for-profit industries today. Actually, pharma could be the most controversial industry of them all.

Once a pharma company develops a drug, it regularly earns 90%+ profit margins off of sick people who need the drug the most.

If pharma companies could lower the cost of their drugs, they would literally save millions of lives every year. But for the sake of profit, pharma companies keep drug costs high to make more money. Again, that's capitalism.

No Problem With Pharma Consultants

I'm sure there is a lot of good work involved in being a Pharma consultant. After all, drugs help alleviate pain, slow down negative symptoms, and improve the quality of people's lives.

There are always new diseases to counteract. A pharma consultant can help guide big pharma companies' resources to better combat pain and suffering.

In a capitalistic society, pharma companies should earn a profit if they are creating a product that is meeting demand.

However, if I was a pharma consultant who invest in real estate, I would not virtue signal about the ills of institutional investors buying real estate from willing landowners.

I highly doubt D is spending most of his time trying to convince big pharma to sell their drugs cheaper to help save more lives. Instead, I'm sure the main goal of a pharma consultant is to help pharma companies make maximum profits.

If you listen to my interview with Ben, Fundrise's main business isn't buying and flipping existing homes either. It is focused on developing housing for rental income given the rising demand for housing.

I would much rather have a piece of land developed to meet housing demand than be left undeveloped.

Hard To Be A Real Estate Investor Against Other Real Estate Investors

If D's main investments are in real estate, then it doesn't make sense for him to be publicly against other real estate investors.

Sure, it's fine to privately rail against other real estate investors who make investing in real estate more expensive for other real estate investors. But to virtue signal publicly about the ills of real estate investing when you are also a real estate investor is nonsensical.

Whether D and other real estate investors know it or not, every piece of real estate they purchase reduces the supply of real estate for others to purchase. As a result, the price of real estate for a similar property in a similar area tends to go up at the margin.

Surely some of the reasons why D is investing in real estate are to boost his wealth, increase his semi-passive income, and take care of his family. As a personal finance writer who wants more people to achieve financial freedom, I think these are great reasons.

Nobody Is Forcing Us To Do Anything

The best thing about living in America is that we are free to do what we want within the confines of the laws. We also can't force anybody to do anything they don't want to do. Misery will ensue if we try to constantly push our agenda onto others.

So to those who want to virtue signal, go right ahead. But for the love of an honest politician, be CONGRUENT with your beliefs and actions!

As a personal finance site, let's agree that investing is a core topic. As long as we have investments, virtue signaling about which investment are morally superior is unproductive.

For those who like to virtue signal when they are doing the exact same thing they are virtual signaling against, I hope this article helps shine a light on a blind spot.

And to D, I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. Keep sharing your opinions when you disagree. Dissenting feedback is one of the best ways to learn!

Reader Questions and Suggestions

Why do people virtue signal? Do some people honestly not realize they are being inconsistent with their beliefs and actions? If so, why do you think this is? What goes on in the head of an investor virtue signaler?

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38 thoughts on “Investor Virtue Signaling In A Capitalist Country Is Fascinating”

  1. Paul Schultz Juris Doctor International Law

    Funny how “nobody can be forced to do anything”. I was fired from my last job as a medical courier because I refused to take the Covid experimental product line under the illegal Biden mandate. I certainly felt force being inflicted upon me.

  2. Hey Sam,
    This is one of your more intriguing posts for me. I think everything you laid out is pretty spot on, but I’d like to offer one perspective about taxes.

    Our family is a faithful entrepreneurial family. My wife and I have been self employed since 1993 in the retail specialty coffee sector, property management, and technology management services (including cybersecurity and compliance guidance).

    I’ve always been at conflict with taxes, the inefficient manner in which they are distributed, and their susceptibility to become entrenched without sufficient oversight (example: our sons are attending commercial dive training, and the instructor mentioned that the US Navy intentionally destroys $10,000 dive helmets every year to keep their budget intact).

    Now, while I constantly complain about taxes, we pay them. We also as a family tithe at least 10% of our income every year on top of that. So last year we paid close to $100K in various taxes, and also another $50K in tithing and charities that mostly help the impoverished.

    Yes, we are blessed to be in such a position, but I’d rather contribute even more to good charitable causes than toss money into the government incinerator.

    Peace out,


    1. Buddhist Slacker

      I can personally attest that not all areas of government are like that. The departments I have experience with are not like that. I do work in the county government, not state or federal. The state seems fairly reasonable with money from what I have observed. Seems like that kind of thing is rampant in the military or defense contracting area of which I know nothing about and is obviously run by the federal government. There is a sort of institutional structural bureaucratic kind of waste in all areas of government which has evolved for many reasons and manifests in the form of regulations which we, in health services and as a government entity need to comply with. But that is another topic. Short story is that regulations don’t come about by themselves. They come into existence by citizens and lawyers complaining about something they’re not happy with and they think it’s government job to fix or lobbyists for corporations wanting some sort of favorable treatment so inventing some regulation that fosters waste. Basically the whole thing is a hairball of a system and we are all responsible together for it.

  3. “Rich people who say how unfair it is they pay so little in taxes, yet don’t voluntarily pay more taxes themselves.”

    Paging Warren Buffett. Rather than manipulating the tax code (and ensuring he gets favorable treatment), why doesn’t he give his accountants and tax lawyers a paid leave of absence for a year and do his personal taxes on his own instead? I’m sure he’d pay a whole lot more in taxes and that should make him very happy.

  4. I believe the problem isn’t real estate investing, but what Blackrock is doing with investor funds, including forcing ESG, DEI and other extreme left wing programs pushed by the so-called elite.

  5. Perhaps D is fundamentally unaware of Fundrise’s business model, thus he’s conflating their activities with that of entities like Blackrock with questionable and conflicting ethics, particularly around this irrational ESG push, including social re-engineering. Either way, I’m not sure his comments were pure virtue signaling. It’s easy to say walk the talk, but he’s also free to invest as he chooses, work in an industry that provides for his family that doesn’t fully align and have opinions that may not be 100% congruent across the board. There are degrees to risk exposure and everyone has a different calculus. Maybe this is D expressing a risk aversion against some kind of institutional risk in investing in something he thinks is somehow fundamentally flawed and that has a potential to crash at some future point. Others may think this to be bunk and of course we won’t know anyone’s motivations without hearing from them. He seems to have bigger picture qualms with large institutional investors and a changing landscape in this country that has imbued America’s future prospects with uncertainty unlike in recent history.

    As to your question on why people virtue signal, it’s because it’s easy to do, gives the person doing it brownie points among the likeminded, and gives them some kind of competent-doer cloak making it appear they’re actually doing in the real world what they professor to support online. I commend you on marshaling your platform and resources to help Maui, and this is a prime example of someone actually doing a good and noble thing in the real world. All the best.

  6. Hi Sam do you ever wonder that you are just a lucky hack , who just kept failing his way upwards . Just some food for thought .

        1. Chin up Ram. Life is full of ups and downs. If you are feeling envious and are going temporary difficult times, know that things don’t stay bad forever.

  7. “But for the sake of profit, pharma companies keep drug costs high to make more money. Again, that’s capitalism.”

    This is correct, but I think it’s important to keep two things in mind to put this statement in perspective:

    1. The profit motive is precisely what gives companies the incentive to bring new drugs to market. Without the profit motive, there would be much less research and development of new drugs.
    2. The research and development costs for a new drug can be extremely high. Not only is there the technical/scientific side, there is also the regulatory/government side. And many drugs don’t pan out, and never make it to the marketplace.

    I agree that there is something unsavory about making huge profits from life-saving drugs. But if we legislated that every drug could be sold for no more than say $100 for a month’s supply, then fewer new drugs would be produced, since there would be less financial incentive to produce them.

  8. As someone who wants to invest in real estate in the future, but who does not approve of large institutional investors gobbling up huge amounts of housing stock, this is not an easy topic to grapple with. Every day, the number of houses taken up by investors goes up while the number of houses available does not. At this rate, in ten years, what type of house will a first time home buyer be able to afford? Even with the meager number of additional homes planned in the next decade? The “build to rent” scheme adds more homes but they are still not available for future home buyers. Just renters. We don’t need more renters. We need more home owners. There is a big difference between a real estate investor with three properties and a group of institutional investors buying up 30% of the housing stock in an up and coming city. But if there are no houses for future first time homebuyers to buy, what will it matter?

    1. This is a dilemma I grapple with. I’m very interested in fixing up old homes to better standards. I actually enjoy a lot of the home remodeling pieces and can do a lot myself and could save money by skipping contractors. However, the inventory is very limited in my area, especially older homes priced on the lower end of things. And when an old home comes on market, there are usually first-time buyers who are interested, even with its issues, as housing has become incredibly expensive relative to incomes. So if I bought an old home and fixed it up, I would be taking a lower-cost option away from these buyers and adding yet another higher-cost option. And in markets where there are larger numbers of fixer-uppers (not close to me) – it seems the large investment companies often swoop in and outcompete both first-time buyers and smaller players that just want a fun project with modest profit. Now I don’t matter so much, but it seems simply wrong to make it so difficult for many would-be buyers to purchase a home. Many people seem to ignore these moral hazards and simply throw money into their REIT’s. But I’m not sure that approach is the best. It’s a tough issue.

  9. Hi Sam. It makes me chuckle every time I see implications about Asians being “screwed” out of admissions the elite universities. Affirmative action in higher education made perfect sense in the context of the Civil Rights Era when Heritage America was comprised primarily of Whites and Blacks (along with Native Americans and a smattering of other groups). Due to post 1960s immigration we now have competition between Heritage America and the ENTIRE world for limited resources such as education, housing, clean healthy environment, open spaces, etc. My solution would be that the Heritage population should have representation in elite universities match 1964 demographics (before Hart-Celler) and the rest of the world can compete for the remaining slots.

    1. I don’t think most Asians are screwed at all. AA is only relevant for the top, one or 2% of colleges in America, which so happen to be some of the most expensive and most hard to get into.

      But I’m not sure AA is a net positive for Asian Americans based on the average grade scores by race to get into this universities. The differences are too wide.


      An Asian-American’s Thoughts on Affirmative Action

      I think it’s better we don’t rely on special benefits or assistance from institutions or anybody. Instead, we rely on ourselves, and if we can get outside help, then great. If not, no big deal.

      1. Back of napkin math here. World wide Asians make up around 4.7 billion people (around 59% of total population), so the top 1% in IQ roughly would be about 47m people. The entire population of the United States is around 331m people with top 10% of IQ around 33m (there is some rounding. Average IQ in China is supposedly 104) Based strictly on test scores and grades being “objective” measures of success in college, hypothetically all elite universities in the United States could filled only with Asians and this would be “fair” based on this criteria. I would argue that is is better to acknowledge scarce resources should be prioritized within a country for the benefits of its own citizens. In the example of elite universities they were founded by Heritage Americans for their posterity. Unfortunately that excluded Blacks and Native Americans which should be rectified by programs like affirmative action.

        1. Probably best to control for the percentage of Asians residing in America, i.e. ~7%. So 23 million people. Maybe 20% are college bound over the next 4 years, so 4.6 million people. Top 5% of that is 230,000 people.

          1. True. A lot of guesstimation on my back of napkin calculations. The demographic ship has sailed long ago and there probably is no going back. It is what it is. My point is that there was a legimate reason for AA based on the demographics and maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing. In current times, I think that once a college applicant hits a certain threshold on a standardized test, he/she will be equally likely to be successful in an elite university as somebody with a slightly higher score. Let’s imagine there is a White applicant from flyover country. He scores a 1550 on the SAT (I know that standardized testing has changed in the past 20 years so hopefully this score still applies a excellent). He played varsity quarterback his junior and senior year. He slacks off a bit his senior year having fun and “only” graduates with a 3.9 GPA. He isn’t from a “feeder” region to elite university like the coasts. He probably intuitively understands he is not going to an elite university because his parents are middle class and he isn’t low income enough for subsidies, isn’t rich enough to pay, and not a minority so know scholarship. Meanwhile an Asian applicant from the coasts attends a “feeder” high school and has been doing SAT prep since 8th grade. He plays jv golf or tennis and piano and volunteer at nonprofits to make his application better. He scores a 1600. Objectively the Asian applicant scored higher, but I would argue both candidates are equally likely to excel in an elite university. It’s just that there are 10 times the applicants with 1600 SAT score and similar resumes. I also bet if you had the applicants take the test in slightly different circumstances, the test score would be the same or reversed. No offense Sam. I really enjoy your blog and if we ever met I would buy you a beer. But I also think that test scores aren’t really THAT objective once you hit a certain threshold

  10. Corporate real estate investing is the scourge of society.

    Dr. Richard Sackler
    Purdue Pharmaceuticals

  11. D,

    Is it ok if a smaller or individual investor buys a 2nd home to rent. What about a third? Keep going and lmk when it’s too much. What about me the individual investor that wants diversity, economies of scale and passive investment. Am I not allowed to have this investment choice and can only participate if I directly invest and take a bigger concentrated operating risk?

    What other investments do u believe BX or BLK should not be making (especially since SFR is a small percentage of AUM). Can I invest in their REITs or BDCs? What about PE or Infra or Credit?

    I guess Cerberus, GI and others are out as well. Guess in 2009 you were lining up to buy these portfolios from banks and special servicers.

    Did u line up to buy the bonds at par from Signature , FRB and SVB, or are those banks that stepped in bad for capitalism also?

    Just trying to figure out what u will allow

  12. Is it ok if a smaller or individual investor buys a 2nd home to rent. What about a third? Keep going and lmk when it’s too much. What about me the individual investor that wants diversity, economies of scale and passive investment. Am I not allowed to have this investment choice and can only participate if I directly invest and take a bigger concentrated operating risk?

    What other investments do u believe BX or BLK should not be making (especially since SFR is a small percentage of AUM). Can I invest in their REITs or BDCs? What about PE or Infra or Credit?

    I guess Cerberus, GI and others are out as well. Guess in 2009 you were lining up to buy these portfolios from banks and special servicers.

    Did u line up to buy the bonds at par from Signature , FRB and SVB, or are those banks that stepped in bad for capitalism also?

    Just trying to figure out what u will allow

  13. Fictitious Capitalist

    I dislike ESG as much as the next guy, but I will continue to rail against capitalism all the while profiting from it, thank you very much!

    But in all seriousness, what other alternative is there? Pick up and move to Cuba? If you can’t critique capitalism from within, what good is that?

  14. Almond Butter

    Sam, didn’t see your response to D, but I’m surprised you didn’t let him or her know that Fundrise is not Blackstone in the sense that Fundrise does BFR ( Build For Rent). They are literally adding desperately needed new homes to the marketplace, which will make homes more affordable in the future. They are not building and holding these homes artificially.

    Usually, BFR comes with all the amenities of a community and social connections. This is a very different model from Blackstone. Fundrise is providing much needed single family homes, that can after be sold to tenants or others.

    This is a win for all in my book. This is one of the reasons I like Fundrise. My 2 cents.

  15. Wow. You doth protest too much me thinks! I am honored that I struck a nerve. Since this has been bothering you for so long there’s likely some reason deep down. The current system is capitalist, yes, but that does not mean we each individually are absolved of all responsibility and shouldn’t think carefully about the ethics of the companies we work for and invest in. I am no saint and I do work in an industry that is 50/50 good/bad. Just like banking. I personally do not want to invest in Blackrock and Blackstone as I think they are not good for the country – again that must bother you a lot and I wonder why…?

    1. Not at all! I think this is a fascinating topic I’ve noticed happen more and more. So I’m trying to understand why the inconsistency.

      As a writer, I’m always excited to explore new topics. So I thank you for sharing your background and opinions.

    2. Did you lose a lot of money from BlackRock and Blackstone perhaps? Or maybe they outbid you in a property you wanted to buy?

      There’s got to be something more to you believing real estate investing by institutions is bad, yet you see yourself as good as a real estate investor.

      What’s wrong with rehabbing properties and adding value to supply new units for rent?

  16. Maybe D is virtue signaling and over indexing because his career and industry is so fraught with price gouging. He feels so guilty that he has to say real estate investing is bad even though he is a real estate investor.

    See Teva pharma settling a multi hundred million dollar lawsuit on price-fixing today.

  17. Fascinating to see D virtue signal against real estate as a real estate investor Pharmacare consultant!

    Not everybody has enough money to come up with a down payment to buy a property. Some people can only invest $10-$1,000 at a time. So that’s what Fundrise enables.

    A somewhat strange and arrogant view with some disillusionment sprinkled in by reader D.

  18. The Alchemist

    Excellent post, Sam.

    You know how you always speak of practicing “stealth wealth”? IMHO, ESG investing is sort of the opposite. It’s the ultimate in virtue signalling, practiced with abandon only by those who are sufficiently well off that they can afford for their (and apparently, everyone else’s) optimal investment returns to be sacrificed on the altar of their superior moral (and political) ideas.

    Check out Jonathan Haidt’s lecture at Duke some years back on the “telos” of the university. The telos of a given thing is its purpose, its raison d’etre. Optimizing any given thing depends upon focusing squarely upon its telos. Injecting some other purpose and crowding out the thing’s original telos will ultimately kill it. As the saying goes, one cannot serve two gods.

    ESG investing amounts to attempting to serve two gods, but by FORCE. And it ultimately won’t work. It will kill the goose (capitalism) that lays the golden egg (prosperity).

    A business that makes, let’s say, televisions, should focus exclusively on making the best darned televisions it can, at the best price, to compete with all the other television manufacturers. It shouldn’t be forced to virtue signal about its commitment to the artificial dictates of self-appointed high priests of environmental, social, and governance rules in order to be able to obtain financing to keep its operations going. Yet that’s the position in which the majority of large companies find themselves now.

    A business cannot optimize its product (and its return to investors) if it has to waste precious resources on telling the world how virtuous it is in arenas that have little or nothing to do with its core purpose. In most cases, competitive businesses will behave ethically anyway, because unethical practices leave them open to legal challenges. ESG compliance serves only to drain businesses of capital that might otherwise be spent on innovation and product improvement.

    Suggested references:
    – Vivek Ramaswamy’s “Woke, Inc.”
    – James Lindsay’s podcasts on ESG at or on YouTube –> “The Real Threat of ESG”

    1. James Lindsay is one of the most important currently active public intellectuals alive today. ESG & DEI and all that one-sided ideological alphabet soup… Rudi Dutschke’s “long march through the institutions” has succeeded. The most fascinating thing to witness, is how easily the key institutions fell for it. Lindsay goes deeper than anyone on how and why it happened. Fascinating.

  19. Lol oh man. I remember reading his comments and wondering whether he was trolling or being serious because his comments were blatantly hypocritical.

  20. I can’t think of someone in my personal network who likes to constantly virtue signal and is simultaneously hypocritical. So that’s good.

    I think the people who constantly virtue signal, especially online, are mostly seeking attention and followers. Those who do that and are also inconsistent with their beliefs are probably either not self aware of their hypocrisy due to a lack of education or introspection or are only virtue signaling for profit. Their motivation for profit is likely solely for money or attention, not to promote their true beliefs; sort of like a double agent.

    But you’re exactly right about investing – so many people think their way of investing is the only right way and get so judgmental and negative about how others spend and invest. It’s fine to be set in your convictions for your own investments. But disapproving how others invest is immature and so close-minded.

  21. interesting that D believes in ‘we reap what we sow’ and about crime but thinks climate change is woke/bs.

  22. Virtue signaling has nothing to do with values – it is global fascism to gain power over individual and remove their rights – the exact same occurred in Nazi Germany, Stalin U.S.S.R, and Mao’s China

    “for the greater good” and “equality” are both deep totalitarian / collectivist concepts

    1. You can’t simply say that because the communists (not so much the Nazis obviously) mentioned the word equality in their rhetoric, then those words are universal code for totalitarianism and the removal of individual rights. The principles of equality and the value of seeking the greater good can and do exist outside totalitarian regimes.

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