Long-Term Capitalism

What We’re Reading: January 2022

January 31, 2022  • 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 take a look at what could be characterized as a “best-of-times, worst-of-times” U.S. economy and what that may suggest for business, workers, innovation and the long-term future. We’ve also added a new recurring section on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) news.

The Economy

Inflation Continued to Run Hot and Consumer Spending Fell in December (Jeanna Smialek and Ben Casselman, The New York Times) “…the economy — like the country itself — has yet to break free of the pandemic’s grip. That is making for a confusing and contradictory moment headed into 2022.”

Fiscal Stimulus Powers U.S. Economy in 2021 to Its Best Performance Since 1984 (Lucia Mutikani, Reuters) Not all the news is negative. “Despite the economy’s struggles at the start of the year, most economists believe the run of good fortunes will prevail.” As Omicron’s spread in the U.S. slows, what does this suggest for the coming year?


The Power of Capitalism (Larry Fink, BlackRock) “We focus on sustainability not because we’re environmentalists, but because we are capitalists and fiduciaries to our clients.” How is business redefining its understanding of the contributors to long-term value?

The Myth of Sustainable Fashion (Kenneth P. Pucker, Harvard Business Review) “After a quarter century of experimentation with the voluntary, market-based win-win approach to fashion sustainability, it is time to shift.” Read what one business leader proposes as an alternative path forward.

Worker Voice

Why Even Progressive Companies Like REI Are Wary of Unions (Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work) Is the answer about power, a distance between stated values and true beliefs, or something else?

U.S. Labor’s Watershed Year Failed to Boost Union Memberships (Josh Eidelson, Bloomberg Equality) Reading stories about unionization efforts like those at REI, Starbucks and Amazon, it’s easy to get the impression that unionization is surging in the United States. Data suggest the opposite. Here’s why.


Spotify Was Never Going to Drop Joe Rogan (Kate Knibbs, WIRED) What makes a shock jock more important to this streaming giant than an issue that impacts public health, and with it, the health of the U.S. economy? The answer may be more complex than you think.

How Facebook Is Morphing Into Meta (Sheera Frenkel, Mike Isaac and Ryan Mac, The New York Times) Is Facebook running toward a bold new strategy or away from existing problems such as misinformation and extremism? And “Who is the elephant in the room who is going to ask how all of it works?”

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

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