Long-Term Capitalism

What We’re Reading: March 2024

March 28, 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. In our last few editions, we’ve been following inflation as the issue shaping perceptions of the economy. We’ve often examined this issue in terms of the consequences of economic disruptions and policy responses brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. But what if we should really be looking at inflation as the outcome of policy decisions much longer in the making—on climate, and housing, and the interplay of the two?

The Economy

Hiring Boom Continues, but Signs of a Cooling Labor Market Boost Rate-Cut Hopes (David Uberti, The Wall Street Journal) “Steady hiring and cooling wage growth last month offered the latest evidence that the U.S. economy is making progress toward a so-called soft landing that brings inflation down without a recession.” Important reporting on the current context, but what do we gain by going deeper?

Housing Costs Are Slowing Down the US Climate Transition (Joseph Webster, The Atlantic Council) “Many regions of the United States, especially California and New York, are failing to build dense urban housing which is associated with lower emissions. But there is another, indirect way that the housing shortage is sabotaging efforts to decarbonize the US economy. Inadequate housing is stimulating inflation and lifting interest rates, which hurts the economic viability of clean energy projects.”

Worker Voice

The Shared Power Advantage: How to Build a Thriving Company Where Workers Have a Seat at the Table (Aspen Business Roundtable on Organized Labor and Charter) “The message is clear: Working people want more power over the terms and conditions of their work. Instead of viewing this shift as a threat or incursion, enlightened employers will find the opportunity in it.” This new playbook gives leaders strategies for empowering workers, and workers a vision of a better workplace.

The Boeing Union Wants a Board Seat and a Say on Plane Safety (Emily Peck, Axios) “We have to save this company from itself.” As top members of Boeing resign and the company struggles to rebuild, is it time for employees to seize the moment?


Step Aside, ESG. BlackRock Is Doing ‘Transition Investing’ Now. (Jack Pitcher and Amrith Ramkumar, The Wall Street Journal) What’s in a name? It’s the eternal question in the field of ESG—or what has been called ESG to date, anyway. Is BlackRock’s name change just a political maneuver, or does it actually bring us closer to clarity about the alignment of business and the long-term health of society?

Amid All the Climate Gloom, Let’s Not Ignore the Good News (Fatih Birol, The Financial Times) Well, terminology changes aside, we like this piece for its reminder that significant funding continues to move into renewable energy at a pace that would have been considered fantastic not long ago.


ChatGPT’s Boss Claims Nuclear Fusion Is the Answer to AI’s Soaring Energy Needs. Not So Fast, Experts Say (Laura Paddison, CNN) Your editors of What We’re Reading can’t shake the feeling that we’ve see a lot of headlines this month about AI boosters calling for nuclear energy to fuel the technology. So we appreciate this piece, which takes an investigative look beyond the headlines.

Across the US, Batteries and Green Energies Like Wind and Solar Combine for Major Climate Solution (Jennifer McDermott, Associated Press) You know we like to leave our readers with a note of optimism! Bonus: It’s a reminder to us that tech is much more than just software.

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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