Long-Term Capitalism

What We’re Reading: February 2021

February 25, 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. As we near the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 lockdowns, we look at how the virus is widening inequalities not just between what are often called white-collar and blue-collar workers, but among blue-collar workers as well. 

The Economy

Jobless Claims Show Unexpected Move Higher (Jeff Cox, CNBC News) “We’re still at the mercy of the virus, so it’s still a bifurcated economy,” said Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab.

Blue-Collar Jobs Boom as Covid-19 Boosts Housing, E-Commerce Demand (Sarah Chaney Cambon, The Wall Street Journal) Economists and companies cited in the article predict that demand for warehouse and construction workers will continue after the pandemic subsides and consumption of services returns. Could this portend an unequal recovery between workers in goods versus services? Put another way: What does “Blue-Collar” really mean?

Worker Voice

The Fight for Fifteen at an Orlando McDonald’s (Eleni Schirmer, The New Yorker) A powerful and indeed, harrowing read. Illuminates the connections between the economic inequities of U.S. society arising from the global financial crisis a decade ago and the fresh challenges unleashed by COVID-19.

Amazon’s Great Labor Awakening (Erika Hayasaki, The New York Times) Another great longread on the fate of workers during the pandemic, this time focused on warehouse employees. Even in a sector where openings are “seemingly infinite,” conditions are leading to labor action.

Purpose of the Corporation 

How to Design CEO Pay to Punish Iniquity, Not Just Reward Virtue (The Economist) “…measures designed to ensure that misconduct does not pay are becoming central to the debate about how to craft bosses’ salary plans.”

Costco To Raise Minimum Wage To $16 An Hour: ‘This Isn’t Altruism’ (Alina Selyukh, Maine Public) The move comes as Congress is debating legislation to increase the minimum wage nationwide to $15 by 2025.


Facebook ‘Refriends’ Australia after Changes to Media Laws (Byron Kaye & Colin Packham, Reuters) In response to a new law requiring Facebook to share profits with news publishers, the tech giant blocked Australian users from sharing news content. What did it take for Facebook to end the blockade?

I’m a Social Media Manager. Facebook and Twitter Have Made My Job an Ethical Nightmare (Amy Brown, Fast Company) “The toxicity of the social media platforms has been evident for a long time, and continuing to participate in it now feels like a choice we all have to make.”

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.)