Long-Term Capitalism

What We’re Reading: June 2024

June 26, 2024  • 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, as the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program launches our sixteenth cohort of First Mover Fellows, we’re looking at what it takes to deliver innovation that creates value for business and society. What role do policy, consumer demand and the choices of individual managers play? Read on!

The Economy

Reactions: “Eye-Popping” May US Payrolls Jump May Set Back Fed Ease (Reuters) It was one of the big surprises of this month. One analyst’s key takeaway? “The Fed may see these numbers as an obstacle for cutting rates in September because what a strong labor market leads to is a stronger consumer, a consumer that can continue to spend and fuel inflation.”

How the US Mopped Up a Third of Global Capital Flows Since Covid (Enda Curran and Saleha Mohsin, Bloomberg) “For all the angst over the dollar’s dominance, a run-up in US interest rates to the highest levels in decades proved a major draw for overseas investors. The US has also pulled in a fresh wave of foreign direct investment (FDI) thanks to billions of dollars worth of incentives under President Joe Biden’s initiatives to spur renewable energy and semiconductor production.”


Electric Cars Are Suddenly Becoming Affordable (Jack Ewing, The New York Times) “Even if Republicans gain control of the White House and Congress and follow through on promises to dismantle electric vehicle subsidies, they may not be able to undo the market forces pushing down prices.”

Pro-ESG Shareholder Proposals Regaining Momentum in 2024 (Subodh Mishra, ISS, Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance) “Environmental and social proposals are showing a sign of reversing trend of declining support from the 2021 peak, while anti-ESG proposals are gaining volume but not support.” Can this be true? And if so, what opportunities might it suggest for corporate change-makers in the months and years ahead?

Worker Voice

Amazon Labor Union Votes to Join the Teamsters (Ben Kesslen, Quartz) Will the support of 1,300,000 Teamsters enable Amazon Labor Union to gain new momentum?

Ex-Employees Sue Elon Musk and SpaceX, Claiming Illegal Firings After They Called Out Alleged Gender Bias and Harassment (Clare Duffy, CNN Business) The words of the lawsuit sound a note of caution for anyone who would drive their company without regard for the people in it, alleging that Musk aspires to lead “a brave new world of space travel, but runs his company in the dark ages — treating women as sexual objects to be evaluated on their bra size, bombarding the workplace with lewd sexual banter, and offering the reprise to those who challenge the ‘Animal House’ environment that if they don’t like it they can seek employment elsewhere.”


AI Is Exhausting the Power Grid. Tech Firms Are Seeking a Miracle Solution. (Evan Halper and Caroline O’Donovan, The Washington Post) What makes the difference between necessity as the mother of invention and mere wishful thinking?

Google DeepMind Shifts From Research Lab to AI Product Factory (Julia Love and Mark Bergen, Bloomberg) As top-down decisions around AI impact both the work and workers, how are different companies making choices that will shape our technological and economic futures? Apple Proved That AI Is a Feature, Not a Product (Will Knight, Wired) And for a no-holds barred take on the subject, see Let Tim Cook (Edward Zitron, Substack).

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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