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’s edition leans into an apparent paradox: as the U.S. economy confronts the prospect of significant disruptions to labor, climate and more, some leading businesses still seem reluctant to update their strategies for the future.
New GDP Report Shows an Economic Turnaround, but Don’t Be Fooled (Scott Horsley, NPR) This piece reveals how this year’s GDP figures tell a story of the U.S. relationship to the global economy. For a deeper dive into the state of the domestic economy, read: High Inflation Pushes Half of American Workers to Consider Second Jobs (Joyce Phillipe, ABC News).
Globalism Failed to Deliver the Economy We Need (Rana Foroohar, The New York Times) Are we living an epochal shift in the making, in which the economic consensus increasingly moves away from the unfettered flow of capital across borders? For analysis of what this policy shift looks like in practice, see: Joe Biden Attempts the Biggest Overhaul of America’s Economy in Decades (The Economist).
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s Fight to Stop a Union Uprising (Greg Jaffe, The Washington Post) “You say you value community and courage. Well, we’re a community of people who are being very courageous in asking for change and you’re refusing to negotiate with us”: Has the leader once hailed as capitalism’s “pathbreaking” “good guy” changed, or is Starbucks’ union drive just a concrete reflection of the new realities of work?
Exxon’s Exodus: Employees Have Finally Had Enough of Its Toxic Culture (Kevin Crowley, Bloomberg) “Those interviewed describe an organization trapped in amber, whose insular and fear-based culture—once a beacon of corporate America—has become a drag on innovation, risk taking, and career satisfaction.” Does one of the premiere companies of the twentieth century have what it takes to succeed in the twenty-first?
An ESG Pickle (Jordan Wolman, POLITICO) “It’s a classic moment of prioritizing short-term and long-term returns… CEOs will decide whether they will prioritize next quarter’s results or recognize that in the future there is only going to be one kind of economy — a low-carbon economy — and investments they make now will position them not only to compete, but also to thrive throughout this transition.”
The Climate Economy Is About to Explode (Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic) This article argues that “companies should no longer worry that they might be unprepared for future climate regulation, such as a carbon tax. They should be scared of missing out on the economic growth that the energy transition (and the IRA) will bring about.”
Elon Musk Now Owns Twitter. Here’s What He Could Change (Clare Duffy, CNN Business) “After spending months attempting to get out of his deal to buy Twitter, Elon Musk officially owns the hugely influential platform. Now the question is: What will he actually do with it?”
Forget Disruption. Tech Needs to Fetishize Stability (Paul Ford, Wired) At a time of so much chaos and uncertainty in the tech sector, an empathetic reflection: “Disruption is an ethos for the bored, for people who live in reasonable climates and don’t have tanks in the street. But America has recently become way less boring.”
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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