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SUZANNE DOWNING: The ‘Woke Bubble’ Is About To Burst

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Suzanne Downing Contributor
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For Father’s Day, a surprising twist may bring good news for the dads of America: There are signs that the “woke bubble” is nearing its bursting point.

Last week, CNN reported a shift in the beer market: Modelo took over Bud Light as the top-selling beer in the United States, ending Bud Light’s 20-year reign. This change, among others, reflects a massive consumer revolt is working.

For years, the ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) scoring system has been touted as the new frontier for socially conscious business practices. It’s the bright, shiny object that started even before the creation of the “B corporation” concept — businesses certified by groups like B Lab as meeting certain standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. (RELATED: BOB EHRLICH: It’s Not A ‘Both Sides’ Problem — Only One Party Has Gone Completely Off The Rails)

As with Bud Light, there is growing evidence that all this wokeness has jumped the shark and overstayed its welcome. Many companies that have prioritized ESG and DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) values have started to face an economic backlash.

Take Starbucks, for instance. The coffee giant, once the pride of downtown Seattle, went national a couple of generations ago, and is now just another corporation in a neverending public “struggle session” with its workers and unions.

The coffee company and its unions are arguing over over the extent of Starbucks’ “Pride” displays: Did Starbucks really start pulling back the displays, as the unions claim, or has this become just another way for the unions to attack the corporation? It has become the War of the Roses, with both sides swinging from the woke chandeliers.

Starbucks also faces a $25.6 million settlement with a woman who says she was fired because she’s white. A jury ruled in the woman’s favor last week.

A month earlier, a woman who worked at a high-end gym said she was fired for being black. The jury awarded her $11.5 million.

It seems ESG and DEI cultural norms have created a cannibalistic cycle, with companies, their workers, their investors, and their stakeholders in perpetual discord over what constitutes ‘enough’ wokeness.

The trajectory of this ‘woke bubble’ resembles a typical business bubble cycle. It begins subtly, as early adopters seize opportunities. Soon, institutional investors follow suit, sparking intrigue, building perceived value. As public awareness grows, so does the bubble, inflating values beyond what is sustainable. Ultimately, the bubble bursts, triggering a rapid disinvestment and leaving a trail of economic casualties.

It appears that the ‘woke bubble’ may be on the brink of this final phase. Woke is about to crash.

The Geography of Transport Systems / Suzanne Downing

Recently, S&P Global Ratings announced an upgrade in its ESG evaluation for Philip Morris International, pushing it to 62 from 60 on a scale of 1 to 100.

Meanwhile, Tesla, an electric vehicle leader, received a disappointing score of 37 – this was after having been removed from the ESG ratings altogether the year before.

S&P Global Ratings rank cigarette brands higher on their scale than electric vehicles? It’s just more evidence the woke bubble has reached maximum inflation.

Target and Bud Light suffered a significant market loss of a combined $28 billion by the end of May, just as Pride Month commenced. Both companies are in panic mode, as they will have to answer to stockholders at the next quarterly meetings, which will come in August, when second quarter results are announced and when savvy stockholders will ask uncomfortable questions.

Meanwhile, in the energy sector, titans like Exxon, Shell, and BP have begun to scale back their climate change commitments.

The daunting reality is dawning on them: Transitioning to non-oil energy sources by 2030, or even 2050, could have severe global implications, including societal upheaval and widespread food shortages, particularly in impoverished countries. (RELATED: JOHN STOSSEL: Florida’s Anti-Woke Campus Crusader Owns The Libs, But Oversteps)

Shell, for instance, made headlines last year when then-CEO Ben van Beurden announced a bold target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Now, however, under new leadership, the oil and gas behemoth is retracting this commitment.

While the coffee, consumer goods, and energy sector are taking hits, even the  children of America have seen the woke agenda for what it is. They realize the emperor has no clothes.

In Burlington, Massachusetts, middle school students organized a protest against forced participation in Pride Month activities, voicing their discontent with a resonating chant: Their pronouns are “USA.”

The signs are all there. Americans are growing weary of forced pronoun usage, aggressive virtue-signaling, and businesses co-opting social issues. The backlash is not just consumer behavior; it’s a national resistance against the dismantling of the solid values that built America.

We are witnessing the ultimate pump-and-dump. Overinflation of the ‘woke index’ suggests a looming crash is just ahead.

Suzanne Downing is publisher of Must Read Alaska.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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