Long-Term Capitalism

What We’re Reading: November 2021

November 24, 2021  • 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. As Americans head into the holiday season, an odd sentiment lingers in the air. Despite some significant markers of economic success, pessimism about the economy is widespread. This edition of What We’re Reading explores why.

The Economy

Americans Are Flush With Cash and Jobs. They Also Think the Economy Is Awful. (Neil Irwin, The New York Times) “The reasons seem to be tied to the psychology of inflation and the ways people assess their economic well-being — as well as the uneven effects that rising prices and shortages have on different families. It may well be shaped by the psychological scars of the pandemic, one manifestation of this being an era of exhaustion.”

Target Blows Past Quarterly Earnings Expectations and Says Shelves Are Full for Holiday Season (Tonya Garcia, MarketWatch) Interestingly, however, investors looked at other retailers’ strong performance even more favorably: With 30-Year High Inflation, Investors Reward the Retailers Willing to Hike Prices for Shoppers (Lauren Thomas, CNBC)

Trying to Get a Job in a Labor Shortage is Harder Than You Think (Amanda Silver, Dan Ford, Sarah Kalloch, Good Jobs Institute) The job-seeker’s hiring market has often been touted as an example of “what’s right” in the U.S. economy. What it looks in practice may be more complicated.

Worker Voice

John Deere Workers Approve New Contract Offer, Will End Strike (Josh Funk, Associated Press in PBS NewsHour) For more on the historical significance of the strike, see Jeanne Whalen’s reporting in the Washington Post, which suggests that current conditions may be “…unsettling the way labor relations have existed in the United States since the Reagan administration, when corporations began chiseling away pay and benefits.”

Young Lawyers Are Increasingly Saying No to Big Law Firms Because of the Gruelling Hours. Inside the Efforts to Woo Them Back (Jason Kirby, The Globe and Mail) Using the lens of the legal world, this article asks what employees want and how employers can do a better job of giving it to them.

Purpose of the Corporation

3 Strategies to Help Employees Thrive in the New “Normal” (Anjali Chaudhry and Al Rosenbloom, Harvard Business Review) “Contrary to common belief, your employees focus less on how the crisis unfolded and more on how your organization responded to it. Therefore, it’s critical to attend to how they interpreted your actions — and inactions.”

A Top CEO Was Ousted After Making His Company More Environmentally Conscious. Now He’s Speaking Out (Vivienne Walt, TIME Magazine) One perspective on the pessimistic tilt of the current moment: it may be the result of changed perceptions of the systemic risk revealed over the last two years.

Tech

Uber, DoorDash and Similar Firms Can’t Defy the Laws of Capitalism After All (The Economist) Are the tech darling dreams of the last decade coming to an end? Read on…

The Legacy of Mattress Cash Fires (Shira Ovide, The New York Times) “It feels as if many of the tech mistakes from the past decade are being repeated on steroids. Electric vehicle companies that have barely produced cars are worth more than many of the world’s automakers. I see a lot of excess hype around NFTs and the blockchain, and new services cropping up that are likely to prove unsustainable.”

For more on our work to align business with the long-term good of society, sign up for our newsletters 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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