by David Wade, The ObserverOctober 2018
Last year, BlackRock’s Larry Fink penned the investor letter heard around the world. In it, he stated: “Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose.”
Fink’s letter seems prescient in light of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. In 2018, this is not just a foreign policy story; the decisions that companies make have a wider range of impact than ever before, and this story has affected not just Washington, but also Wall Street and Silicon Valley.
Case in point: Saudi Arabia is currently hosting the Future Investment Initiative (FII), known as “Davos in the Desert.” Now, the event might be better known for who isn’t participating than for who is. High-profile CEOs have made a public show of dropping out, including, among others, the heads of Uber, Ford and JPMorgan. Even the Secretary of the Treasury withdrew his attendance.
SoftBank has become a new, big player in Silicon Valley venture capital circles because of a $100 billion fund raised by its founder. Of that $100 billion, $45 billion comes from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF)—chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.The centerpiece of the deal is the creation of America’s first-ever 5G network. That would give SoftBank and Sprint a direct hand in some of the nation’s largest and most sensitive communications infrastructure. Click To Tweet
Authoritarians will support their authorities, and even help them, persecute almost any identifiable group. They strongly believe in group cohesiveness, and being loyal.
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