Big Business and Conservatives Are Headed for Divorce

Apr 04, 2022

Big business can no longer take the support of conservative parties for granted.

The 1990s saw a great uncoupling between left-wing parties and big labor, with President Bill Clinton embracing free trade and Wall Street and Prime Minister Tony Blair ditching Clause 4 (which committed the Labour Party to nationalization) and tea and sandwiches in Number Ten with trade union bosses. Are we now witnessing an equally momentous change on the other side of the divide: an uncoupling between conservative parties and big business?

This new business-critical conservatism naturally starts with opposition to corporate “wokery”: Rubio is even introducing a billinto the Senate to force companies to “mind your own business” and stop indulging in woke posturing. But this new conservatism goes deeper than that — and overturns most of the tenets of the business-friendly conservatism of the 1980s. The new conservatism focuses on the producer rather than the consumer. Is it really worth getting that Amazon parcel to you within 24 hours if it means that workers have to operate like robots? It puts a premium on pro-family policies such as family leave and near-universal tax credits for children, unencumbered by work requirements, all ideas that the Republican establishment has long anathematized. American Compass goes so far as to call for enhanced collective bargaining rights for workers, lamenting the “labor movement’s slow descent into obsolescence.”

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