Long-Term Capitalism

What We’re Reading: April 2020

April 28, 2020  • Creating the Conditions for Long-Term Capitalism

What We’re Reading is a roundup of current news and commentary on the challenges and opportunities of aligning business decisions with the long-term health of society. This month, we’re devoting extra space to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy, worker voice and much more.

The Economy

Investors Baffled by Soaring Stocks in ‘Monster’ Depression (Robin Wigglesworth, The Financial Times) “We have a monster mash-up of the Great Depression in size, the crash of 1987 in speed, and 9-11 attack in terms of fear.” So what’s driving stocks higher?

‘The Food Supply Chain Is Breaking.’ Tyson Foods Warns of Meat Shortage as Plants Close Due to COVID-19 (Sanya Mansoor, TIME) The pandemic may make soon make the conditions of workers in plants an unavoidable concern for consumers.

Worker Voice

Amazon Sick-Out Unites Tech and Warehouse Workers in Protest (Louise Matsakis, Wired Magazine) “Friday’s sick-out represents one of the first instances where logistics employees and those from Amazon’s corporate offices are joining together in solidarity with coordinated actions.”

‘It Feels like a War Zone’: As More of Them Die, Grocery Workers Increasingly Fear Showing Up at Work (Abha Bhattarai, The Washington Post) Powerful reporting not only on the lives of frontline workers, but on the ways the pandemic is changing hiring practices in the sector: from job posting language to a sharp increase in hiring.

Purpose of the Corporation

In a Crisis, Companies Must Know Their Purpose (Sally Blount, Paul Leinwand, strategy+business) Stocks may keep surging even in the crisis, but workers will need to know what they’re working for.

Lysol Factory Job Becomes a Calling. ‘Hey, I Work at the Place That Makes That.’ (Michael M. Phillips, The Wall Street Journal) How are both businesses and workers transformed when a job becomes a purpose?


Apple Responds to Senators’ Privacy Fears Over COVID-19 Screening Tools (Adi Robertson, The Verge) A new app launched by Apple in March with the Center for Disease Control offers to help users screen for virus testing, but what kind of oversight is there on protection of user data?

Microsoft Embraces Big Data (The Economist) If anything, that title understates the story here: This piece covers how the complex interplay of technical, legal, and commercial factors shapes companies’ pursuit of idealistic goals.

For more on our work to align business with the long-term good of society, sign up for our monthly newsletter and visit our website. (Please note, the purpose of this newsletter is to highlight what Aspen BSP staff are reading, and is not intended as advertisement or endorsement of content or viewpoints.)