January 4, 2024 Reading Time: 2 minutes

What exactly is ESG? Where did it come from, and how did it start to take hold and reshape our world? How is it related to the infamous UN SDGs?

In this episode of Liberty Curious, Paul Mueller joins Kate Wand to discuss and dissect.

Paul is an economist and Senior Research Faculty at AIER who specializes in defending freedom and combatting collectivism. He has written a definitive collection of articles on ESG.

ESG has been perniciously changing the way corporations, governments, NGOs and institutions operate. This ideological framework synonymous with stakeholder capitalism has become the subject of scrutiny and public backlash, but nonetheless continues to dominate.

The conversation explores the history, definition, and implications of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investing. It delves into the origins of ESG in the post-World War II era and the rise of international organizations. The discussion highlights the utopian ideals and ideological shifts that have shaped the ESG movement. It also examines the technocratic element of ESG and the challenges of calculation and efficiency. The conversation raises concerns about the potential for eco-dictatorship and the threat ESG poses to freedom and individualism. In this conversation, Paul Mueller and Kate Wand discuss the totalitarianism of climate alarmists and the loss of individualism in the ESG movement. They explore the advocates for ESG, such as the World Economic Forum, and the pushback against ESG, including Larry Fink’s change in stance. They also delve into the philosophical elements underlying the green movement and the potential future of ESG. The conversation highlights the importance of transparency, the value of nuclear energy, and the need to focus on adaptation rather than prevention. They conclude by discussing the role of intellectuals in shaping ESG policies.

Paul Mueller’s Related Articles:
A Short Guide to ESG Series at AIER
The Totalitarianism of Climate Alarmists – Washington Examiner Dec 1, 2023
Newsom’s California Is Showing Us What The Green Energy Transition Looks Like — And It Isn’t Pretty – Daily Caller, Dec 12, 2023

Use these timestamps to navigate the episode topics:
0:00 – Intro
1:31 – History of ESG
3:21 – ESG as a Quest for Global Solidarity
10:19 – Post-World War II Era and the Rise of International Organizations
12:22 – Utopian Ideals and Ideological Shifts
13:40 – Stakeholder Capitalism and the Technocratic Element of ESG
16:15 – The Problem of Calculation and Efficiency in ESG
18:45 – Consumer Value and the Top-Down Approach of ESG
31:40 – The Potential for Eco-Dictatorship in ESG
36:12 – ESG as a Threat to Freedom and Individualism
38:38 – Totalitarianism and the Loss of Individualism
41:05 – Advocates for ESG and the Totalitarianism of Climate Alarmists
45:05 – Larry Fink and the Pushback Against ESG
53:09 – The Social Responsibility of Businesses and the Birth of Stakeholder Capitalism
56:18 – The Future of ESG and its Impact on Economies
59:18 – The Potential of Nuclear Energy and the Need for Transparency
1:03:08 – The Malthusian Element and the Importance of Human Existence
1:05:20 – The Value of Adaptation and the Inefficiencies of ESG Means
1:05:47 – The Role of Intellectuals in Shaping ESG Policies

Kate Wand

Kate Wand is a content creator. Her focus is social commentary and filmmaking. She is the host of AIER’s Liberty Curious podcast.

You can follow her on Twitter @katewand.

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Paul Mueller

Paul Mueller is a Senior Research Fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research. He received his PhD in economics from George Mason University. Previously, Dr. Mueller taught at The King’s College in New York City.

His academic work has appeared in many journals including The Adam Smith ReviewThe Review of Austrian Economics, and The Journal of Economic Behavior and OrganizationThe Journal of Private Enterprise, and The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. He is also the author of Ten Years Later: Why the Conventional Wisdom about the 2008 Financial Crisis is Still Wrong with Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Dr. Mueller’s popular writing has appeared in USA Today and Fox News, as well as the Intercollegiate ReviewChristian HistoryAdam Smith Works, and Religion and Liberty, among others.

Dr. Mueller has given talks and led colloquia for a variety of organizations including Liberty Fund, the Institute for Humane Studies, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal.

Dr. Mueller is also a Research Fellow and Associate Director of the Religious Liberty in the States project at the Center for Culture, Religion, and Democracy. He owns and operates a bed and breakfast (The Abbey) in Leadville, Colorado where he lives with his wife and five children.

Get notified of new articles from Paul Mueller and AIER.