Long-Term Capitalism

What We’re Reading: May 2023

May 31, 2023  • 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. It would be an understatement to say that the past few years have been abnormal. It’s unsurprising, then, that calls for a “return to normal” can start to sound more and more appealing. But companies were facing new demands about their impact on workers and the broader health of democracy even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. What is normal now, and who defines it? This edition of WWR examines these questions. 

The Economy

Strong US Consumer Spending, Inflation Readings Put Fed in Tough Spot (Lucia Mutikani, Reuters) Last month’s data raised hope that the U.S. economy had finally turned the corner on inflation. This month, data seem to suggest that inflation is one trend of the last few years that’s not going back to normal anytime soon.

Once a Fringe Theory, “Greedflation” Gets Its Due (Emily Peck, Axios) A good breakdown of how discourse around “greedflation” has changed over the past year or so.


Voters Don’t Understand What ESG Means in Practice. Here’s Why Killing the Term Might Be the Only Way to Save It (Lindsay Singleton, Fortune) Is it time to give ESG a makeover? This article explores the shifting perceptions and political implications of the ESG label, and why it is “misunderstood, not monstrous.”

Florida’s New Law Makes ESG Murkier (Emille Hallez, Investment News) Then again, why assume that voters’ misunderstanding of ESG is an unintended side effect, rather than an intentional consequence of this legislation?

Worker Voice

Companies Are Taking a Harder Line on Union Organizers, Workers Say (Noam Scheiber, The New York Times) In recent years, successful union drives at leading corporations have made headlines. This article is a must-read examination of how companies often respond to initial union drives in ways that quietly undermine momentum.

Remote Work Gives Amazon Workers a Common Cause (Emma Goldberg, The New York Times) As companies push workers to return to the office, how can white-collar and blue-collar workers collaborate to promote collective empowerment?


Meta, Amazon, Twitter Layoffs Hit Teams Fighting Hate Speech, Bullying (Hayden Field, Jonathan Vanian, CNBC) “If the FTC comes calling and you want to convince us that you adequately assessed risks and mitigated harms, these reductions might not be a good look.” What are the potential social, political and business consequences of tech companies reducing their trust and safety efforts?

My Coworkers Have Long Forgotten George Floyd (The Only Black Guy in the Office, Fast Company) “I’m still questioning whether the reckoning in my workplace and beyond was authentic.” After all the talk of change, are companies right back where they started?

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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