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 this month marked by a cacophony of reporting on inflation, we’re devoting extra space to the stresses facing the U.S. economy.
Supply Woes Raise Recession Risk as Fed Rejects Inflation Nuance (Matthew Boesler, Bloomberg) The discourse on inflation has radically shifted from last year’s talk of a transitory phenomenon. Were inflation watchers simply wrong? The reality is more complicated, and has much to do with politics.
Fragile Job Gains for Black Workers at Stake in Inflation Fight (Matthew Boesler, Jonnelle Marte and Catarina Saraiva, Bloomberg) “After the 2008-09 recession, it took nine years for Black unemployment to return to levels that prevailed before the downturn. This time, it only took two.”
After a Bumper 2021, Companies Might Struggle to Increase Profits (Peter Eavis and Talmon Joseph Smith, The New York Times) A good overview of what’s at stake for businesses as the U.S. government seeks to combat inflation.
See Also: Will the Bullwhip Do the Fed’s Job on Inflation? (Craig Fuller, CEO at FreightWaves) Will government action necessarily be the most important force in bringing down inflation? Maybe not: “The ‘bullwhip correction’ will be a different kind of headache than we’ve had to deal with for the past two years, but the good news is the market is correcting and things are ‘normalizing’ – as least as far as supply chains are concerned.” For a similar view of the market forces pulling down inflation, see: The Changing American Consumer (The Economist).
Apple Boosting Pay Budget for Workers Amid Tight Labor Market (Tim Higgins, The Wall Street Journal) One proof point for how seriously large corporations are taking unionization drives in their ranks? Starting pay for Apple store employees will rise by 45% over what it was in 2018.
Companies Are Stuck Between Their Workers and Politicians (Joe Nocera, The New York Times) Over the past decade, worker activism, especially on social issues, has been one of the most discussed topics in business and society. But has this trend met its match in the heavy hand of state governments? Our Executive Director Judy Samuelson is quoted in this DealBook piece from the New York Times.
SEC Proposes More Disclosure Requirements for ESG Funds (Paul Kiernan, The Wall Street Journal) Readers of this section know how hotly debated the question of “greenwashing” is in the ESG space. Now, the Securities and Exchange Commission is stepping in.
This is Why Tesla’s ESG Rating Isn’t Great (Leslie Norton, Morningstar) “Most consumers think Tesla is about as green as it gets right now.” Why is it important for companies to look “beyond the E”?
Unicorns’ Hard Times Point to M&A Stampede (Karen Kwok, Reuters) “Over the past decade, the tech sector kept pumping out unicorns at pace… Ample private capital partly explains why. Hedge fund and sovereign wealth fund money kept cash-burning companies away from facing the scrutiny of public markets. Yet these sorts of funding for high-flying startups are drying up.”
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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