Policy Press

Publishing with a purpose

Woke Capitalism

How Corporate Morality is Sabotaging Democracy

By Carl Rhodes

Published

Nov 9, 2021

Page count

240 pages

ISBN

978-1529211665

Dimensions

216 x 138 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

Nov 9, 2021

Page count

240 pages

ISBN

978-1529211689

Dimensions

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

Nov 9, 2021

Page count

240 pages

ISBN

978-1529211689

Dimensions

Imprint

Bristol University Press
Woke Capitalism

Does ‘woke capitalism’ improve capitalism’s image or does it threaten the future of democracy?

From Nike’s support for Colin Kaepernick, to Gillette’s engagement with the toxic masculinity debate, the 21st century has seen a sharp increase in corporations taking over public morality, a phenomenon which has come to be known as ‘woke capitalism’.

Carl Rhodes takes us on a lively and fascinating history of woke capitalism – from 1950s corporate social responsibility, through 1980s neoliberalism, tracing it alongside the adoption and mutation of the term ‘woke’ from Black American culture – and brings us right up to current-day debates.

By examining the political causes that woke capitalism has co-opted, and the social causes that it has not, he argues that this surreptitious extension of capitalism has serious implications for us all.

“The workplace has become politicised as never before and companies are struggling to adjust to the demands of younger consumers and employees… [Woke Capitalism] examines the history of this phenomenon — from corporate social responsibility, through neoliberalism and the debates about the topic — as well as the political causes it has adopted and the implications for all of us.” Financial Times

"This insightful book traces the history and manifestations of ‘woke’ ideas in relation to big business, capitalism and democracy - reading it will reveal how awake you really are!" Thomas Calvard, University of Edinburgh Business School

“Businesses increasingly talk about value, purpose and responsibility. In this beautifully written book, Carl Rhodes asks us to consider whether these companies can be trusted with our collective futures. Can we trust corporations when they speak about equality and justice?” Martin Parker, University of Bristol

"Casting a penetrating light on pandemic profiteering, tokenism and distraction techniques in corporations’ responses to societal ills, Rhodes convinces us to confront the fact that we are selling our democracy and our own freedom too cheaply." Mollie Painter, Nottingham Business School

“This excellent book reveals the threat of ‘progressive’ corporations to humanity, democracy, and the environment. It offers a compelling and urgent call for us to wake up to ‘woke capitalism’ before it is too late!” Peter Bloom, University of Essex

"As the world reels from the impact of COVID-19 on people’s lives, what role do corporations play in our democratic processes? Is the concept of “woke” being used to further corporate interests, and deepen current levels of inequality? This accessible and compelling book addresses these questions and provides new insights." Kate Kenny, JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics, National University of Ireland, Galway

"Woke Capitalism testifies that management and organization scholars are abreast – or perhaps even ahead – the important changes in the society, and ready to share their knowledge with the interested public." Barbara Czarniawska, University of Gothenburg

Carl Rhodes is Professor of Organization Studies at the University of Technology Sydney. He researches the ethical and democratic dimensions of business and work. Carl regularly writes for the mainstream and independent press on issues related to ethics, politics and the economy.

The Problem With Woke Capitalism

Corporate Populists

The Woke Reversal

Capitalism Goes Woke

Shareholder Primacy

A Wolf in Woke Clothing

All That Glitters is Not Green

The CEO Activist

The Race to Wokeness

Racial Capitalism/Woke Capitalism

The Best a Woke Corporation Can Be

The Right Hand Gives

Getting Woke to Woke Capitalism