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. With increasing COVID-19 vaccinations and stimulus checks on the way, there are signs of hope in the United States at the start of spring. But there are also obstacles to a true U.S. recovery—including a surge in Anti-Asian racist violence and mounting challenges to democracy.
Weekly Jobless Claims Tumble to Lowest Level in More Than a Year (Jeff Cox, CNBC) “Claims totaled 684,000 for the week ended March 20, the first time the number has been below 700,000 during the Covid-19 era.”
Asian American Businesses Are Defending Themselves against Rise in Anti-Asian Violence (Tracy Jan, The Washington Post) Noting that Asian Americans owned 10 percent of all U.S. businesses in 2018 and employed 5.1 million people, a nonprofit leader asks: “How is that contribution muted by hate, discrimination and violence?”
As Mask Mandates Lift, Retail Workers Again Feel Vulnerable (Sapna Maheshwari, The New York Times) When grocery chains continue to require masks even as state governments are lifting such mandates, the result is that frontline workers are often left exposed to the virus—and to customers.
Historic Amazon Union Vote Count Begins This Week For Alabama Warehouse (Alina Selyukh, NPR) The world is watching as the Bessemer warehouse goes to vote. It may be some time before the results are known, but the stakes are high and the results will reverberate throughout the American labor movement.
Purpose of the Corporation
Black Executives Call on Corporations to Fight Restrictive Voting Laws (Andrew Ross Sorkin & David Gelles, The New York Times) After many companies failed to speak out about new restrictions on voting, 72 African-American business leaders are calling them to account.
Can C-suite Paychecks Save the World? (Joel Makower, GreenBiz) Our recent release, “Modern Principles for Sensible and Effective Executive Pay,” is cited in this piece as an example of “shifting public attitudes towards equity, fairness and the role of business, and fundamental changes in the role of the CEO and executive teams.”
Uber Bill Splits Labor, Drivers, Big Tech (Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent) “We’re all trying to figure out what to do in the aftermath of California,” says a law student quoted in the piece, referring to California legislation that re-classified gig workers as employees—only to be essentially overturned by a state referendum. This is great, in-depth reporting on how Connecticut is trying to pick up the challenge of legislating fair working conditions for gig workers.
Facebook Denies Fueling Polarization, Launches Tools to Control Feed (Reuters Staff, Reuters) While Facebook continues to downplay its role in spreading conspiracy theories, it is releasing a new feature that will supposedly grant users greater choice in how they experience their news feed. But what problem is it ultimately designed to solve?
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.)