American Express Goes Woke

One of my all-time favorite movies is “Charade” (1963). Stars Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn teamed up with co-stars Walter Matthau, James Coburn, George Kennedy and Ned Glass to make one of the first American movies that explored the possibilities of the film medium.  Directed by Stanley Donen and score by Henry Mancini. Donen does his best Alfred Hitchcock imitation, appearing as “Man in Elevator (voice).” All this is set in 1960s Paris.  It’s worth a look if only to see how marvelous the City of Light once was. (Those wondering what this has to do with American Express goes woke, please indulge me for a few more paragraphs.)

Charade poster American Express goes woke

(click for larger image)

If you’ve never seen it. Available at a price of zero on Amazon Prime.  IMDB lists many other viewing possibilities.  Or just buy the DVD for $8.95.

What in the world does this have to do with American Express, going woke, or anything related to economics? The answer involves a rooftop fist-fight between Peter Joshua (Grant) and Herman Scobie (Kennedy with a hook in place of one hand). Scobie eventually slides off the roof, catching the gutter with his hook.  Later, Regina Lampert (Hepburn) asks Peter what happened to Scobie? Grant’s reply is the unforgettable line, “Oh, I left him hanging around the American Express.”

OK, so I really just wanted to reminisce about a terrific film.  At least I managed a vague tie-in with the subject. This is the story of American Express goes woke.

This from national treasure Chris Rufo writing in the New York Post

The firm [AmEx] teaches employees that capitalism is fundamentally racist, then asks them to deconstruct their racial and sexual identities. 

(The pull-quote above is actually from Mr. Rufo’s e-mail newsletter.  I subscribe and support his work.)

Mr. Rufo concludes,

Last October, AmEx announced a $1 billion “action plan” to increase diversity, invest in more minority-owned businesses and donate to nonprofits that promote “social justice.” Whether the company will forgo profits or abandon capitalism, as it encourages its employees to do, remains to be seen.

If you own any AmEx stock, now might be a good time to review your portfolio.  Disclaimer: I am not an investment adviser (registered or otherwise). But I do know that when a company abandons its fiduciary duty to stockholders to pursue some other goal, that’s often not very good for the owners.

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About Tony Lima

Retired after teaching economics at California State Univ., East Bay (Hayward, CA). Ph.D., economics, Stanford. Also taught MBA finance at the California University of Management and Technology. Occasionally take on a consulting project if it's interesting. Other interests include wine and technology.