Long-Term Capitalism

What We’re Reading: August 2019

August 12, 2019  • 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 reading about anxious markets, a new definition of corporate purpose, and much more.

The Business Cycle

A Year of Stock Market Fury, Signifying Nearly Nothing (Matt Phillips, The New York Times) “The stock market is having a banner year. The stock market has barely budged in the past year. Both of these statements are true…”

Markets Are Braced for a Global Downturn (The Economist) “If there has been no boom and the world economy has not yet turned to bust, why then are markets so anxious? The best answer is that firms and markets are struggling to get to grips with uncertainty.”

Purpose of the Corporation

Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation (The Business Roundtable) This month, the Business Roundtable made headlines around the world by updating its definition of the purpose of the corporation for the first time in more than 20 years. Here’s the statement itself, with 181 signatures from some of America’s biggest firms.

America’s Top CEOs Say They Are No Longer Putting Shareholders before Everyone Else (Rick Wartzman, Fast Company) So what does the statement mean, and most importantly, what happens next? This article covers both bases.

Worker Voice

Employees Revolt over Immigration (Sara Fischer, Courtenay Brown, Axios) There have been so many examples of employee activism this year, it can be hard to keep track. What does this trend mean and where is it headed? Get up to speed with this recap of everything from a movement of grocery store employees to a protest at a major PR firm.

Why Amazon Pays Warehouse Employees to Tweet about Their Jobs (Rani Molla, recode) Perhaps the surest sign that rising worker voice is a force to be reckoned with: A major company is trying to deploy it for its own aims.


How Google’s Tunnel Vision Cost Us All (Caroline McCarthy, Spectator US) Imagine an alternate-history version of the last decade, in which tech employees warning of the risks of misinformation on social media were given a leading role in new product strategy. It very nearly happened.

How Facebook Is Changing to Deal With Scrutiny of Its Power (Mike Isaac, The New York Times) How can you divine a company’s true intentions? In tech, the answer might be revealed in lines of code.

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.)