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, an undercurrent about uncertainty around the future is especially palpable, most of all in the U.S. economy. Perhaps little wonder that there’s appetite among some business leaders for skipping past today’s “messy present” for the promise of a world shaped by emerging tech. Yet the messy present persists, posing both challenges and opportunities.
First-Quarter Economic Growth Was Actually 2%, Up From 1.3% First Reported in Major GDP Revision (Jeff Cox, CNBC) Why then is discontent as high as it is? Read on…
Is the US Getting Too Expensive to Live In? Many Americans Worry About Economy, Inflation (Terry Collins, USA Today) “What’s America’s economic state? Frustrating and uncertain. The typical American household spends about $768 more monthly on goods and services these days compared to 2020 because of high inflation, said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics.”
Starbucks Union Says Pride Weekend Strikes Closed 21 US Stores (Dee-Ann Durbin, ABC News) “Workers are protesting reports that some Starbucks stores banned LGBTQ+ Pride displays this year after backlash against companies like Target, where angry customers tipped over Pride displays and confronted workers.”
Barnes & Noble Staff Vote to Unionize Four-Story Manhattan Store (Josh Eidelson, Bloomberg) As WWR went to publication, a second store in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood had just voted to unionize. You might say: that’s just one development in one city. But didn’t the Starbucks unionization effort have a similar beginning?
Larry Fink “Ashamed” to Be Part of ESG Political Debate (John Frank, Axios) The headline will no doubt be touted as an example of the “retreat” of ESG, but the piece itself reveals a more nuanced view.
Climate Shocks Are Making Parts of America Uninsurable. It Just Got Worse. (Christopher Flavelle, Jill Cowan and Ivan Penn, The New York Times) Throughout June, smoke from Canadian wildfires disrupted life across the United States—a stark reminder of the need for climate action. But disruptions were already present in ways not quite so visible to the naked eye.
Wellness Capitalism: Employee Health, The Benefits Maze, and Worker Control (Tamara K. Nopper and Eve Zelickson, Data & Society) The corporate benefits of the wellness model have been touted for years, but what are the current downsides, and who pays?
Artificial Intelligence and the Ever-Receding Horizon of the Future (Jenna Burrell, Tech Policy Press) Tech leaders “would like to skip past today’s real work, that of tackling the challenges and wrestling with the possibilities that will shape the world to come.” What are the benefits of focusing on the “messy present”?
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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