Jamie Dimon, the chairman and chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase, loves Florida.
In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Dimon was asked about the political situation in Florida and its impact on business. The billionaire businessman brushed all concerns aside.
"We love Florida, we’re growing in Florida left and right," he said.
Under its far right Republican leadership, Florida's government has launched an assault on "leftist ideology". It has stripped Disney of its self-governing district in retaliation for the company's criticism of the "Don't say gay" bill. Instead of fighting back, the mighty corporation has surrendered to the state authorities' bullying tactics.
Recently, Florida's Republican Senator Jason Brodeur introduced a bill that would require bloggers to register with the state government and file periodic reports with the state if they are paid to write posts about the state’s governor, lieutenant governor, cabinet members or legislative officials. Brodeur is also sponsoring a separate bill that would make it easier to sue media for defamation.
Never mind the fact that the far right has launched a war of discrimination and erasure of the transgender community. Or that the Republican Party has not disavowed Donald Trump's attack on democracy, but is doubling down on it.
Never mind all that. Jamie Dimon and JPMorgan Chase "love Florida". And they also love Singapore. And they also love Hong Kong. They seem to be fine with autocratic regimes.What they don't seem to love, however, are democracy and human rights.
I get it. It's business. Politics is sensitive, the country is deeply divided. But do they really need to go out of their way to say they "love" it? Do they need to use their money and influence to aid the far right, instead of trying to do what they can to support democracy, even in a discreet way?
And do they really think that it's in their best interest to subjugate themselves to unaccountable tyrants? Maybe they're as delusional as Chinese business people like Jack Ma, who in 2014 characterized his relationship with the Communist regime thus: "As always, be in love with them, but don’t marry them." A few years later, the Chinese government cracked down on his company and sidelined him, so now he lives in Tokyo. Even his love wasn't enough to shield him from the whims of the one-party dictatorship he had made a devil's bargain with.
Or business tycoon Miles Guo, who amassed a fortune in the real estate sector, only to fall out of favour with the Chinese authorities in 2014 and flee to the United States, where he attached himself to Steve Bannon's and Donald Trump's authoritarian movement. Because, obviously, he has learnt nothing from his first experience with autocratic rule.
Perhaps, American oligarchs think they can navigate the rough waters of authoritarian capitalism and technofeudalism, in the hope that the monster they are feeding today won't, sooner or later, devour them.
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