Long-Term Capitalism

What We’re Reading: August 2021

August 31, 2021  • 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. With this August 2021 edition of What We’re Reading publishing days before the U.S Labor Day holiday, the needs and challenges of the U.S. workforce take center stage.

The Economy

Remember When September Was Going to Be the Return to Normal in the U.S.? (Reade Pickert and Olivia Rockeman, Bloomberg Businessweek) For many in the United States, this was a month of stark reappraisals about plans for the fall, as the resurgence of COVID-19 renewed concerns about public safety. This piece examines what’s at stake for the broader U.S. economy.

Fast-Food Worker Wages Rose 10% as Restaurants Struggle to Hire and Retain Workers, Report Says (Michelle Shen, USA Today) Meanwhile, the tight labor market for many front-line positions has already transformed the relationship between employers and employees.

Worker Voice

A Strike at Nabisco Is Testing the Power of Unions in the Pandemic (Michelle Cheng, Quartz) “The heightened employee activism in part stems from the pandemic, where workers have had to work in more unsafe conditions or with less favorable schedules. Now, with a tight labor market, where employers have been offering bonuses and higher wages to attract workers, labor unions may have the power to ask for more.”

The Battle Over the Future of Work Is About Autonomy (Emma Jacobs, The Financial Times) “There is a tendency for those at the top of organisations to forget what it was like at the bottom, an almost wilful blindness about the autonomy advantage.”

Purpose of the Corporation

Billions Are Pouring Into the Business of Decarbonisation (The Economist) “To be an attractive investment, Ms Töpfer says, founders and their backers must ensure that ESG ‘is baked into firms from day one.’”

Businesses Shouldn’t Do Good for the Sole Purpose of Doing Well (Azish Filabi, Fortune) “We need to start asking a different question, focusing on how business serves the bottom line of humanity, not the other way around.”


Tech Companies’ Afghanistan Foreign Policy (Shira Ovide, The New York Times) In recent weeks, headlines in the United States were dominated by news from Afghanistan, as the U.S. brought a twenty-year long military presence to an end. For U.S. tech companies, it was a start of a new period of challenges—with potentially global ramifications.

Fall Antitrust Forecast: Biden Raises Hammer on Big Tech (Margaret Harding McGill, Axios) A roundup of key legal actions facing the largest tech companies and what to watch for in the coming months.

For more on our work to align business with the long-term good of society, sign up for our newsletters 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.)