Yellen at the New York Times. Jonathan Rosen, Impact Investing Intern. American University
Another relevant issue that Yellen discussed was Cryptocurrency. When asked about her reaction to investment company Fidelity’s recent decision to allow individuals to invest Bitcoin in their 401k’s, Yellen stated that this is not something that she would advise. This is in line with the continuing debate on the role Cryptocurrency will play in our society going forward. With this comment, Yellen is placing herself in the camp of people skeptical of its impact and legitimacy. However, it remains to be seen what impact Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies will have on our future economy, as well as other elements of life such as retirement.
Finally, when oil companies and energy prices were discussed, the subject of Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) came up. Sorkin asked Yellen for her reaction to a recent Elon Musk tweet which referred to ESG as a scam. Yellen responded by rejecting Musk’s notion and stating her belief that climate change is an existential threat that needs to be a factor companies consider when making decisions. However, she did suggest that requirements under ESG should not be what they currently are, saying that some companies not following these guidelines still had a desire to combat the climate crisis. What these comments showed, was that Secretary Yellen can be considered an ally to the ESG approach, but not someone who can be counted on to be in lockstep with the method.