By Lawrence H. Summers and Natasha Sarin, Washington Post, 1/30/20
Over the past year, the concept that corporations owe a responsibility to the broader society beyond their responsibility to their shareholders has flourished. The Business Roundtable renounced its earlier view that companies exist to serve stockholders and endorsed stakeholder capitalism last summer. BlackRock chief executive Larry Fink, whose firm controls $7 trillion in investable funds, expects a “fundamental reshaping of finance” and has vowed to vote against corporate directors insufficiently committed to serving interests beyond those of stockholders.
This year’s Davos meeting was centered on business’s responsibility to protect the environment. And there has been much celebration of recent corporate commitments, such as Microsoft’s promise to invest $1 billion to end or offset all of its greenhouse-gas emissions, present and past.
The most important stakeholder of U.S. corporations is the United States itself. Before any obligation to voluntarily reduce emissions, start charter schools or pay above-market wages should come an obligation to pay a reasonable share of income in taxes….
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by Joan C. Williams, Harvard Business Review, November 10, 2016
My father-in-law grew up eating blood soup. He hated it, whether because of the taste or the humiliation, I never knew. His alcoholic father regularly drank up the family wage, and the family was often short on food money. They were evicted from apartment after apartment.
He dropped out of school in eighth grade to help support the family. Eventually he got a good, steady job he truly hated, as an inspector in a factory that made those machines that measure humidity levels in museums. He tried to open several businesses on the side but none worked, so he kept that job for 38 years. He rose from poverty to a middle-class life: the car, the house, two kids in Catholic school, the wife who worked only part-time. He worked incessantly. He had two jobs in addition to his full-time position, one doing yard work for a local magnate and another hauling trash to the dump.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, he read The Wall Street Journal and voted Republican. He was a man before his time: a blue-collar white man who thought the union was a bunch of jokers who took your money and never gave you anything in return. Starting in 1970, many blue-collar whites followed his example. This week, their candidate won the presidency.
For months, the only thing that’s surprised me about Donald Trump is my friends’ astonishment at his success. What’s driving it is the class culture gap.
One little-known element of that gap is that the white working class (WWC) resents professionals but admires the rich….
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chart (mostly 2013 figures) from Eduardo Porter, “Giving Every Child a Monthly Check for an Even Start,” New York Times, 10/18/16
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