Long-Term Capitalism

What We’re Reading: October 2019

September 30, 2019  • 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. This month we’re reading about workers and fairness, tech industry stumbles, and much more.

The Economy

What’s Behind the Great CEO Exodus of 2019? (Kevin Kelleher, Fortune Magazine) “With a lot of tensions on the horizon, some CEOs are finding now is the time to put their succession plans into action.” The widespread change in leadership may have far-reaching implications. 

Weak U.S. Retail Sales Cast Shadow over Slowing Economy (Lucia Mutikani, Reuters) Consumer spending has kept the economy strong despite the wobblings of a global trade war. There may be signs that’s beginning to change.

Worker Voice

In a Strong Economy, Why Are So Many Workers on Strike? (Noam Scheiber, The New York Times) At almost half a million, the number of US workers who participated in strikes last year was the highest since the mid-1980s. Many are asking why shared sacrifice during the financial crisis hasn’t delivered shared prosperity during the economic recovery.

Blizzard Employees Staged a Walkout to Protest Ban of Pro-Hong Kong Gamer (Blake Montgomery, The Daily Beast) A different facet of employee activism, one driven by geopolitics and concern for freedom of expression.

Purpose of the Corporation

Marc Benioff: We Need a New Capitalism (Marc Benioff, New York Times) “…as a capitalist, I believe it’s time to say out loud what we all know to be true: Capitalism, as we know it, is dead.” What might an alternative look like?

Why You Should Be Unsettled by the Biggest Automotive Settlement in History (Sarah Dadush, University of Colorado Law Review) Could new scholarship establish a legal recourse for consumers whose efforts to consume in line with their personal values are violated by corporate greenwashing?


How an Attempt at Correcting Bias in Tech Goes Wrong (Sidney Fussell, The Atlantic) “In a backwards way, movements to pay users for the data that tech companies take from them only corroborate the process by which Silicon Valley turns our faces into commodities.”

Four Years in Startups (Anna Wiener, The New Yorker) Wake up, go to work, go home, repeat—until one day you realize your industry has changed society, and not necessarily for the better. This personal account of a rise in the startup world is a journey through the fall of the tech sector in public perception.

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