Long-Term Capitalism

What We’re Reading: August 2020

August 30, 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’s readings explore the context behind the economic and social events that made headlines.

The Economy

U.S. Core Capital Goods Orders Rise; Recovery Uneven as Covid-19 Shifts Spending (Lucia Mutikani, Reuters) “We do not expect business investment to reach its pre-pandemic level before mid-2022,” notes one economist quoted in this piece.

In a Week of Layoffs in the US, MGM Resorts Adds 18,000 More (Matt Ott, The Associated Press) The piece places MGM Resorts’ layoff in the context of several job cuts announced by major companies across the United States this week, adding to the 14.5 million Americans already collecting unemployment benefits.

Worker Voice

Facebook Employees Are Outraged at Mark Zuckerberg’s Explanations of How It Handled the Kenosha Violence (Ryan Mac, Buzzfeed News) Among other things, this piece raises a difficult question: How should a company’s leader respond to worker voice when workers take opposing stands on major issues?

N.B.A. Protest Shows Who Calls the Shots in a Superstar Economy (Noam Scheiber, The New York Times) Top-level talent has the power to disrupt, but what does it take to make longer-term change in the face of management pushback? A provocative analysis drawing comparisons between N.B.A. players and top tech talent.

Purpose of the Corporation

Why Corporate Purpose Statements Often Miss Their Mark (Christopher Michaelson, Douglas A. Lepisto, and Michael G. Pratt, strategy+business) An analysis of 2,000 corporate purpose statements revealed a surprising fact: 93% failed to say why their company is in business. Here’s why that matters for how those companies operate.

Accountable: The Rise of Citizen Capitalism (Michael O’Leary, Warren Valdmanis) A new book out this month explores this critical question: Where previous efforts at reforming capitalism have failed, can a new commitment to corporate purpose succeed?


Facebook Warns about iPhone Privacy Change That Could Unsettle Facebook Users (Kif Leswing, CNBC) Facebook has long been criticized for a lack of transparency around its tracking of users’ location data. A new Apple software update will provide Facebook users on Apple devices with far more information than ever before.

Google Greenlights Ads with ‘Blatant Disinformation’ about Voting by Mail (Isaac Stanley-Becker, The Washington Post) Earlier this month, tech companies and government agencies met to develop plans to combat election-related disinformation. But how are businesses acting in practice?

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.)