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. Readers of What We’re Reading know that inequality in the U.S. is a frequent theme in our news curation and commentary. This month, the signs of inequality feel especially stark. It’s not just in how differently the arrival of the holiday season is playing out across the income spectrum. It’s in the staggering disparities of power between the most wealthy and those on the front-lines of the American economy.
This Holiday Season, the Poor Buckle Under Inflation as the Rich Spend (Jeanna Smialek, The New York Times) “A lot of these households are moving toward the greater fragility that was the norm before the pandemic,” said Matthew Luzzetti, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank.
Morgan Stanley Says Jaw-Dropping Inventory Levels a ‘Key Risk’ to Retailer (Rachel Premack, FreightWaves) Perhaps another sign of a reversion to the pre-pandemic economy—albeit, one that may have happier implications for the majority of American consumers.
Starbucks Union to Strike at More Than 100 Locations on Red Cup Day, One of the Chain’s Busiest Days of the Year (Amelia Lucas, CNBC) “The union said the strike is meant to call attention to the company’s alleged union busting and refusal to negotiate contracts fairly.” What does this action say about workers’ efforts to bring their employer to the table?
America’s New Industrial Policy Needs Unions (Richard McGahey, Forbes) One of the surprises of this month’s U.S. midterm elections was that landmark climate legislation did not lead to significant political backlash. Yet, as this article persuasively argues, important questions of political and economic power relating to a greening America are still to be sorted.
The Tenacity of ESG Investing (The Economist) At a time when large swathes of the economy are showing signs of exhaustion, how has ESG defied its skeptics to stay resilient?
Black Friday’s Green Dilemma (India Bourke, The New Statesman) Without mentioning “ESG” by name, this piece underscores the trends in business and broader consumer culture fueling the field. The demand for data that can separate real environmental risk management from greenwashing is strong.
The Gods of Silicon Valley Are Falling to Earth. So Are Their Warped Visions for Society (Moya Lothian-McLean, The Guardian) More than one commentator has noted how this month’s tech headlines shatter the myth of the tech CEO as genius. This article raises the question of whether extreme inequality can lead its beneficiaries to ever-more elaborate rationalizations of their own economic power.
Silicon Valley Layoffs Aren’t Just a Cost-Cutting Measure. They’re a Culture Reset. (Amanda Lewellyn, Vox) “A lot of these companies and products are still very big and very profitable, but they’re not going to grow like gangbusters anymore.” So what might come next? We looked to history for answers in our Business 20/20 episode, “Lessons for the Techlash from the Tech Crash.”
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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