Long-Term Capitalism

What We’re Reading: December 2019

December 23, 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 worker participation, big tech under attack, consumer control over data, and much more.

The Economy

For the First Time in History, the US Economy Has Started and Ended a Decade without a Recession (Elizabeth Schulze, CNBC) Fascinating exploration of how growth is shaped in the long run: both by government policy, but also by the lessons consumers and businesses internalize about the economy.

How a Strong Job Market Has Proved the Experts Wrong (Neil Irwin, The New York Times) How will the 2010s be remembered? One answer: as a decade when public and private sector analysts underestimated economic growth potential—with heavy consequences for job seekers.

Purpose of the Corporation

Investment Bankers Are Now Waging the War on Coal (Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic) This piece succinctly explains the significance of financing shifts, unpacks Goldman’s motivations, and summarizes the state of decades of global efforts to combat climate change.

U.S. Chamber Backs More Consistent Environmental, Social Reporting from Corporations (Thaddeus Swanek, U.S. Chamber of Commerce) Fully 86% of S&P 500 companies voluntarily provide performance reports on environmental, social and governance matters. As the practice has grown, so has investor appetite for more consistent reporting. That may now be emerging.

Worker Voice

Former Google Employees Who Say They Were Fired for Organizing Are Filing Labor Charges against the Company (Shirin Ghaffary, Vox) “Offices as distant as Tokyo and Dublin are talking about unions and workers councils… This is just part of a broad movement that is only going to pick up more steam.”

Facebook, Google Drop Out of Top 10 ‘Best Places to Work’ List (Kurt Wagner, Bloomberg) At the start of the 2010s, a job at one of the tech titans was so highly sought after that one popular book title asked, “Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?” Now, employees at those companies have very different advice for job seekers.


Big Tech Is Under Attack, and Investors Couldn’t Care Less (Matt Phillips, The New York Times) Even as a backlash to the tech sector may be impacting the talent pipeline, investors remain optimistic.

New California Law Giving Consumers Control Over Their Data Sets Off a Scramble (Jeff John Roberts, Fortune) The size of the Californian market means this law will have national implications. How will choices by companies and consumers shape its impact?

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.)