Vivek Ramaswamy — author of ‘Woke, INC.’ and founder of Roviant Sciences — currently is working hard to TAKE BACK control from the three largest asset managers in the world…including BlackRock, which manages over 10 TRILLION dollars of everyday Americans' finances (that's more than half the U.S. GDP!). ‘They’re using the money from everyday, American citizens…to advance these social and environmental policies that we should instead be debating as citizens,’ Ramaswamy tells Glenn. But rather than face antitrust violations, firms like BlackRock instead are CELEBRATED thanks to ESG. Ramaswamy tells Glenn how his new company will help Americans regain financial control and reestablish our TRUE free market...
TranscriptBelow is a rush transcript that may contain errors
GLENN: A guy I have to tell you -- if I could make a list of the five people that I'm watching that can really change the world, Elon Musk is probably number one. Number two is probably Vivek Ramaswamy, who is now -- if I can get his name right. He's the author of Woke, Inc. But he just did something that -- Vivek, thank you. You are -- you are in the position to do something, you're in the position, where you don't have to do something. And you are taking on BlackRock. The right way. Can you explain what you're doing?
VIVEK: Yeah. So we're taking on the three largest asset managers in the world, Glenn. Starting with BlackRock who is managing over $10 trillion. That's one firm managing more than half of the U.S. GDP. And here's the problem, Glenn: They're using the money of everyday American citizens, most of the listeners of this program, yours and mine, to foist values on to corporate America, to advocate for values, in corporate America. To vote our shares in corporate America. In ways that we would disapprove of, to advance these social and environmental policies, that we should instead be debating as citizens.
VIVEK: And Glenn, you know this stuff well. Just think of this for a second, as a thought experiment. If you had the CEOs of Exxon and Shell and Chevron get together in a room and say, we're going to cut gas production.
And then gas prices spike at the pump as a result.
VIVEK: This would be the stuff of movies. People would be walking up, perp walks and handcuffs. Okay. It's anti-trust violations.
Guess what, when the same owners of these competing firms, all force those firms to do the exact same thing, somehow that gets celebrated as ESG instead.
That is a problem. And that's a problem we're solving through competition. And so my message to BlackRock is really simple. Good news is we'll solve your anti-trust problem. The bad news is we're going to do it by taking market share, by actually representing the voices of everyday American citizens in every boardroom in this country, eventually.
GLENN: So when will this begin? When can average people move their 401(k)s or their investments over to you?
VIVEK: Yeah. So the movement begins in the third quarter of the year. What we said that the first products will launch in the third quarter. This was just unveiling the company itself.
And I have been humbled. I've been blown away by the level of support we've received. In fact, the number of employees, of the big asset managers including Vanguard and BlackRock and State Street, who have said, we are -- and these are their words and not mine. In one message I got, we're fed up with the nonsense. Ready for something new. And, you know what, I don't hold it against employees who are willing to move with their own feet.
Actually give credit to brave people who are willing to act on their convictions. And, you know what, these firms did not act this way 20 years ago. This is a newer trend. Even for employees of these large asset managers, who have seen the lurch that these firms have taken. I give those employees credit, and our doors are wide open. But to answer your question, Glenn. It's the third quarter of the year that we'll be launching it.
GLENN: So, Vivek, I've been preaching this ESG stuff for a while now.
VIVEK: Yes, you have.
GLENN: And couldn't get -- couldn't get the states, you know, about 20 of them. But so many Republicans even are like, this is a private business. They can do whatever they want. Well, S&P global just came and said, we're now rating the states, with ESG scores. So you may -- you may lose your status for businesses. Because we may not be able to recommend that people do business in your state.
VIVEK: At a certain state, we should just call the charade for what it is. We tell ourselves, we live in a Democratic society. Let's call the charade for what it is, and start bowing to our monarchs instead. This isn't even a battle between left and right, Glenn. This is a battle between living in a Democratic republic, and living in a monarchy, where a certain group of corpranacrats, people who run a corpatocracy and monarchy, decide what the right answer is to these moral questions for everybody else.
Now, I don't think that public policy makers are up to the task. I think you agree with me on that. I also think a lot of public policies can have unintended consequences. That's a different game. That's not the game I'm playing. At the end of the day, I think that the market here. The actual market. The true free market.
Not the one guided by the invisible hand of government. But the one that's guided by the demand of everyday citizens. That's the system that I think could deliver the cleanest solution. If brave enough people are actually brave enough to step into that individual. I think there's a great economic opportunity. I think there's a great opportunity to change our culture. So that's the path I'm taking. That doesn't mean the policy makers can't act. It's just, I'm focused more on the market track.
GLENN: You know what's amazing to me. I see these media companies, that sell for a billion dollars.
And they got nothing. We're the largest streaming network for right of center in the world.
It's like we're worth $10. It's like, you're never going to be able to sell that. You're like, the market doesn't understand. And they refuse to understand, that I don't know. Half the country, doesn't agree with them. And still wants products.
VIVEK: And, Glenn, let me just give you one shade further. I agree with everything you you said.
But further, the 100+ million people. The 100+ million people you're talking about, when you adjust for spending power, when you adjust for investment power, when you adjust for being good credit risks, good insurance risk. People don't lie on their credit card applications. People who have actual savings to put into investment funds. People who are hard workings, people who are sticky customers. That actually becomes one of the largest economies in the world.
VIVEK: Now, that being said, I want to share with you my perspective here. I don't want to see a red economy and a blue economy in the long run.
GLENN: I don't either.
VIVEK: This is beyond -- this is beyond Democratic and Republican partisan politics. I do want to get politics out of the private sector. But we're not starting from neutral territory. So I think using market competition and competitive force, to bring that true diversity to the marketplace of ideas, when right now, especially in capital markets, Glenn, we have one view. It's the ESG centric view. And ESG is whatever BlackRock decides it means on a given day.
What we really need is just true competition and true diversity. If we get there, I'm happy. And I don't want partisanized economies left at the end of it.
I actually think that the economy can bring us together. The private sector, if it's tee politicized, can bring us together. We're just taking the steps to get there.
GLENN: Well, if we have to have a parallel economy, then we have to have it. But a parallel economy will take money from the other side. And they will either get competitive or they will be destroyed.
VIVEK: That's exactly right. I predict the way this plays out isn't that we have two permanent parallel economies, but companies like Airbnb and BlackRock and Disney, and for that matter, you know, every other company in corporate America is going to wake up and say five years from now, our approach to diversity and inclusion, probably wasn't as diverse and inclusive as we thought.
VIVEK: They swing the pendulum back. That's how we get our culture back.
GLENN: Did you see what BlackRock, they announced today?
VIVEK: Of course. Of course. I think it's -- I don't mean to falsely pat myself on the back or take credit. Is not about me. It's about them trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube, right?
So now, what are we going to see from BlackRock? Mark my words.
They'll say, well, the proposals we put up a couple of years ago, we want to roll those back, a little bit.
You know what I would say? That's an example of an institution that operates without a soul.
Have somebody who has a different view, who we could engage in healthy debate in the open. Rather than to debate with somebody who wants to look like a flag, but waves in whatever direction the wind is blowing. Now they're trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube. I think they're going to have a very difficult time to do that. I think it's revealing, how they sense the tide is changing. We'll lead that tide hopefully to a more positive place.
GLENN: So I only have about three minutes left. And I want to ask you a question. And they're just ethical questions, that I don't know how to solve, both in the news today. Goldman Sachs backed firm buys Florida community of single-family homes for $45 million. BlackRock is doing this too.
They're coming in. Paying overprice. Buying old neighborhoods. I don't want to tell companies, that they can't do that. I wouldn't be opposed to that, if it wasn't for ESG, and the great reset, which says, you're not going to own anything, by 2030.
And everybody will be renters. So what are we -- what do you think of this? And how do you deal with this?
VIVEK: It's a great question, Glenn. I like the intellectual honesty with which you're approaching this too. This traces back to a deeper problem. Of the government, effectively having a private sector suckling at its teat over the last two years.
But in return for the trade of making sure that those private actors implement government policies through the back door. The government couldn't pass through the front door.
So institutions like BlackRock are effectively benefiting from a decades' long policy of not only easy money from the fed, but also Treasury spending. Also, of course, if you look at who administered the covid-19 stimulus packages. Guess what, it was none other than BlackRock. Taking their range at every step as well.
So this is crony capitalism. If it's a truly free market and private institutions are deciding to invest in real estate, you're right. I don't think that that's something that we should worry about as policy makers. Or policy makers should worry about. In saying that that's something that they shouldn't be allowed to do. But we don't live in that free market.
Right now, it's the invisible hand. Really, the invisible fist of government, that's engaged in mutual back scratching exercise, with firms like Goldman Sachs.
That's been happening since 2008. But also with firms like BlackRock in more recent years.
That make this the illusion of the free market, but they're using the slogan of free marketism, as a slogan to defang the conservative opposition, that you would otherwise feel in the intuitions, but conservative dogma says that we shouldn't interfere with the free market. I think that's correct, so long as we restore the actual free market. That's a complicated issue.
GLENN: Yeah. No.
I appreciate your answer. We're talking to Vivek Ramaswamy. Two kind of in the same question. There's a story from CNN today. Tesla stocks slide. Raises doubts about Elon Musk's Twitter purchase.
I think they're sliding just like everybody else. Myself.
And the other -- the other thing that I really would like your view on, there's a story in Fortune today, coin base admits users may lose crypto if exchange goes abrupt. Now, when I read the headline. My first thought was, Good Lord, are they going bankrupt? This is the federal government requiring them to disclose, what would happen in worst-case scenario. And now it's being reported on, and the average person will look at this, and go. Oh, there's trouble at coin base. Is this just another game that CNN is playing with Tesla, and the United States government is playing against cryptocurrency?
VIVEK: So you understand this really well, Glenn. Your intuitions are in the right place. And they're doing this all over the place. You're seeing it in the green revolution too. The -- we, the regulators aren't really forcing companies to pass a particular agenda.
Of course, we would never do that. We're just picking certain areas, where they have to over disclose their risks, such as climate risk. And you can see the war on crypto has a very similar feel to it as well. It rhymes in the similar way. Well, if we say what, the disclosure regime is really just a vehicle for packing in, for smuggling in a viewpoint-based agenda that forces companies to either bend the knee in a certain direction or not.
And when you combine that with the forces of the media which has really just become a fourth branch of government in many senses, that's how you use this soft power. It's not hard legislative power. Though, that may be come soon.
But it's this soft power of using a combination of a disclosure regime with regulatory pressure from the back door, with regulatory favors, given to large existing incumbents, that then create the conditions for nothing, but the right answer, which is the ESG-centric answer to have been the product of what they will say is the free market. Of course, it's really just the invisible fist of government, and the more -- and I don't use that word lightly.
But the more totalitarian forces behind it, conspiring to get to that same outcome. So I appreciate your insight, in helping people see through, with what otherwise seems like an ordinary, less nefarious affair.
GLENN: I mean, I tell you, you say authoritarian. The title of my book is The Great Reset: Twenty-first Century Fascism.
And it's -- people are like, you can't say fascism. But that's what it is. It is that.
VIVEK: The classical definition of fascism, is a merger of corporate power and state power. And I think we're seeing the beginning of the rise of that. On modern American soil. And in some ways, we fought a revolutionary war in 1776. It was not a war between partisan on one side or another. It was a war between the everyday citizen, and the monarchial class back in 1776.
VIVEK: And today, the new battle line is between the everyday citizen and the managerial class in the United States.
That's not left or right. It's something more fundamental than that.
GLENN: And isn't it crazy, that it's happening all over the world?
It's happening in every western cup. And it's being misidentified in every country.
VIVEK: You nailed it, Glenn. This is a trans partisan, transnational war for the heart and soul of both capitalism, and democracy.
And I even -- not to be fancy about this. Transpartisan, transnational. I even say it's transtemporal. This is transnational back in 1776. The French Revolution played out 13 years later. It was a Trans Atlantic battle then too. We live in one of these moments, where it's like the dose in the water. It's kind of like it was back in 1776. This goes beyond geographic boundaries, and partisan boundaries.
It's the human struggle between the citizen and the monarch. Between the citizen and the managerial class.
That's what is at stake today. And we side on the side of the everyday citizen. I'm just choosing to do it, not just through policies, but through actually creating a vehicle to compete with these new monarchs like BlackRock and Vanguard. So that's what I set out to do what I'm doing.
GLENN: Vivek, I cannot -- and I mean this sincerely. I have waited for people like you, to start standing up. And you have for a long time. But standing up -- I mean, you're going against BlackRock. And others.
I mean, you're going to get slapped around. Thank you. Thank you for that. I appreciate it. You give a lot of people, including me hope.
VIVEK: Thank you, Glenn. Appreciate it. Take your support every step. Buh-bye.
GLENN: Vivek Ramaswamy, the author of Woke, Inc. And talking about his startup that's going after BlackRock and ESG.