Long-Term Capitalism

What We’re Reading: May 2021

May 27, 2021  • Creating the Conditions for Long-Term Capitalism

At the start of this month, analysts were stunned by a U.S. April jobs report showing dramatically fewer jobs than had been projected. With this May 2021 edition of What We’re Reading going live days before the next U.S. jobs report, we’re providing additional resources to examine the prospects for an inclusive economic recovery from the COVID crisis in the United States.

The Economy

Some Early U.S. Data Suggest May Jobs Report Could Echo April Weakness (Howard Schneider, Reuters) “People have spent the last 14 months rebuilding their lives around the pandemic. They’ve made alternative childcare and schooling arrangements, budgeted for reduced household income, and adjusted their lifestyle. While there seem to be ‘help wanted’ signs everywhere you look, it could be as late as September before we see hiring numbers truly surge.”

The Stock Market May Be Misreading What This Weak Jobs Report Means for the Fed (Patti Domm, CNBC) This piece offers another perspective on the April jobs report: supply chain back-ups may be partly to blame for last month’s slow-down in hiring. As the piece argues, next month may clarify this point.

An Investment Bonanza Is Coming (The Economist) “The prospect of surging capex holds out promise that the global economy will not face a repeat of the 2010s, when growth in productivity and GDP stayed stubbornly below pre-crisis trends.”

Purpose of the Corporation

Climate Activists Defeat Exxon in Push for Clean Energy (Clifford Krauss and Peter Eavis, The New York Times) “This signals a new era for the role of corporations in climate change and a new era for corporate governance,” said Erik Gordon, a University of Michigan business professor quoted in the piece.

Bank of America Increases US Minimum Hourly Wage to $25 by 2025 (Anneken Tappe, CNN Business) A sign of companies’ commitment to stakeholders beyond just their shareholders—or a sign of changing labor markets? Or both?

Worker Voice

Gig Workers Inch Toward Right to Unionize in New York — But There’s a Catch (Josefa Velasquez & Claudia Irizarry Aponte, The City) A thorough overview of the legislative debates underway that also foregrounds the role of immigrant workers in bringing these issues to the fore. (To go deeper on the complex relationship of gig economies and minority communities, read: The Gig Economy’s Business Model Is a Racial Justice Issue by Edward Ongweso Jr in Vice.)

How to Make Stakeholder Capitalism Work (Hans Taparia, Stanford Social Innovation Review) “When stakeholders are owners of the business, their interests directly influence its decisions.” An interesting article that analyzes how legislation might help make such ownership possible.


A New Antitrust Case Cuts to the Core of Amazon’s Identity (Gilad Edelman, Wired) A new legal case may take the text of Amazon’s contracts with vendors on the site as a point of departure, but, as this article explains, the company’s monopolistic practices may be expressed in the very design of the eCommerce site itself.

Did Tech Companies Keep Their Promises One Year After George Floyd’s Death? (Bärí A. Williams, Fast Company) One year ago, the death of George Floyd sparked public commitments to fighting racial inequity. Where can we look to see if such statements have turned to action?

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