All the Trips to Davos Have Gone to Larry Fink's Head
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
All the Trips to Davos Have Gone to Larry Fink's Head
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
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Larry Fink really has let all of those trips to Davos go to his head.

In what is, so far as I know, the BlackRock CEO’s most recent act of public grandiloquence, he and BlackRock have urged the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) to modify its proposed greenhouse-gas emissions disclosure rule.

That standard Fink megalomania comes not from the request itself, but from its grounds. He does not ask that it be withdrawn because it is illegally beyond the SEC’s statutory remit, though it surely is, especially in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling. He doesn’t seek its withdrawal because it will create massive expense for no possible benefit, though that’s true too. He doesn’t even oppose the rule because it will harm small farmers, small businesses and small investors while aggregating wealth and opportunity to his own private-equity class. (Well, no: of course not that.)

Rather, Fink’s objection to the rule is that it deviated from the disclosure demands that have issued from him – from him and from Mike Bloomberg and from the self-appointed New Ruling Class – embodied this time as the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). These new malefactors of great self-regard, you see, don’t care for it when representatives of elected government dare to contradict the commandments of the World Economic Forum (WEF) set.

Mind you, the SEC’s proposed rule does violate its statutory authority; it does violate the Commission’s basic responsibility of assisting Main Street shareholders and smaller corporations in the capital markets; it is vastly costly, entirely pointless and wholly biased. The TCFD proposals are also immensely costly and entirely pointless and biased (in favor of politicized decarbonization, against basic technological and economic reality) though, and they come without any statutory or moral authority at all. The TCFD, like the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board and the WEF, is just an agglomeration of billionaires who have decided that they’d quite like the world to be run according to their personal policy preferences – thank you very much – and that they don’t intend to subject themselves to indignities like getting elected in order to achieve that end.

You can understand why they’ve dropped any plans to earn democratic legitimacy. Recall the spectacular failure that was Mike Bloomberg’s campaign for the Democratic nomination in 2020. From revelations that he had demanded that women staffers abort pregnancies to disclosures that old Nanny Bloomberg was pretty much an authoritarian all around, the Little Dictator didn’t come out of the experience very well. But that hasn’t thwarted his desire to rule.

Nor did it serve as a lesson to Fink. One might think Fink would be more careful, given that he carries a raft of fiduciary duties to investors and shareholders that Bloomberg, as the owner of a private company, doesn’t. But no. While he occasionally makes transparently false statements about the nonpartisan character of his interference with the governance and planning at the rest of U.S. publicly traded corporations, the truth invariably outs, as when he accidentally admitted that he is acting to “force” corporations, and through them all of us worldwide, to do his bidding, such as equity-based discrimination and politicized decarbonization, because he personally is “very passionate about” those policy goals.

In other words, Larry and Mike very much wish the world to dance to their tunes, exactly as they play them, and they don’t want any interfering governments trying to play along, even if it’s pretty much the same stupid tune.

Larry, though, may wish to take a care as he seeks to set a crown upon his head. For as he accumulates the real power of dictatorship, he also collects the responsibility, and the dangers. Surely he is aware by now that forcing the West into climate-catastrophist decarbonization guarantees is already creating a pointless, but world-historical, disaster. Consider developments just in the last couple of weeks:

·        Germany, and Europe generally, have delivered themselves, bound and on their knees, to Russia, having decarbonized according to their incoherent political schedules rather than according to technological and financial need – just as Larry wants to “force” the U.S. to do because he personally is “very passionate about” it. All of this “threatens social peace” in Germany and around the continent – which is fine, right? Nothing bad has ever followed from that.

·        All of this has forced Europe to revert to coal use, meaning that political decarbonization leads to eventual recarbonization of the least-efficient sorts.

·        China continues to ramp up its coal production and use, as do India and other non-western nations, with none indicating any serious willingness to stop such increases. This is fair enough; why should they be denied moving from developing to developed because western billionaires want to change the rules, pulling the ladders up behind themselves? The result: no amount of western decarbonization can have any real effect on the earth’s climate, the only conceivable legitimate justification for decarbonization. (The growing suspicion that the WEF set knows that political decarbonization can’t achieve the stated goals, but really wants it as a way of keeping the hoi polloi trapped in constrained penury so that they can have the world to themselves is, of course, wholly illegitimate.)

·        Japan’s long-struggling economy has been hit hard by the current energy crisis, leaving it less prepared to respond to any negative effects that might arise from the climate change that political decarbonization can’t stop.

·        The Netherlands has erupted in protests in response to government nitrogen-reduction regulations that threaten to destroy one of Europe’s strongest agricultural centers. These pointless regulations, based on doubtful science, do their work just as the world faces serious food shortages.

·        Those food and energy deficiencies, driven by a series of “green” initiatives such as taking the whole country organic, have brought Sri Lanka to its knees – sending one president and prime minister already into exile, and the Sri Lankan people into dire suffering.

·        Here at home, Texas’ inexplicable and undefendable embrace of wind power threatens its energy reliability and – again – forces it back on record fossil-fuel demand.

There’s plenty more, but I think these items make the point. Or most of the point. Consider one last fact: that as Larry and Mike (and Brian Moynihan of Bank of America and David Solomon of Goldman Sachs and the rest of the Davos crowd) “force” American corporations to sign on to political-schedule decarbonization because they’re so personally passionate about it, they’ve also engineered an exemption from the European Union’s new “green” fuel tax for – do you even have to guess? – private jets.

Larry & Co., you see, mean not only to rule like dictators, but to live like dictators.

All of this put me in mind of Patrick Henry. In 1765, when a separate set of dictators (a crowd just as unelected by any Americans as the WEFers) sought to strip proto-Americans of their basic and fundamental rights through the Stamp Act, Henry offered a warning to George III, the chief unelected despot of that era. In the peroration of a speech against the act in the Virginia House of Burgesses he reminded his fellows that “Caesar had his Brutus, Charles the First his Cromwell and George the Third ... may profit by their example.”

As Larry, Mike, et al. grasp for themselves the power and trappings of tyranny in order to advance policies that will destroy both liberty and prosperity for the American people – just as George and his parliament did – let us hope that they, too, profit from those examples.

 

Scott Shepard is a fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research and Director of its Free Enterprise Project.


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