When I got on the phone with Vivek Ramaswamy on Tuesday afternoon, I was not expecting to find common cause. Ramaswamy is a tech entrepreneur, a frequent contributor to conservative outlets including The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page and the author of a book whose very title sounds as if it were formulated in a lab at Fox News to maximally tickle the base and trigger the libs: “Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam.”
I’d reached out to Ramaswamy to discuss his new venture, Strive Asset Management, an investment firm that he says will urge corporations to stay out of politics. Among Strive’s funders, though, is one of the more politically active people in business, Peter Thiel, the billionaire venture capitalist who supported Donald Trump and is now funding a slate of Trump-loving congressional candidates.
It turned out I was right: I did not agree with a lot of what Ramaswamy had to say. Not only are our politics radically at odds, we also differ on what “politics” means in modern American capitalism. Yet despite our disagreements, something odd happened. I found myself nodding along with what is perhaps Ramaswamy’s fundamental point: that three gigantic American asset management firms — BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street — control too much of the global economy.