The Business Roundtable was formed in 1972 with the goal of undermining New Deal-forged worker rights and corporate regulation by the federal government. The Roundtable worked to weaken antitrust regulations, undermine labor protections and stopped Ralph Nader’s attempt to create a consumer protection agency in 1977. This was a group of hundreds of the country’s top companies working to escape federal regulations, decrease taxes, and promote the better business environment. And free trade.
But last week they issued a letter that said (from the NY Times): “Breaking with decades of long-held corporate orthodoxy, the Business Roundtable issued a statement on “the purpose of a corporation,” arguing that companies should no longer advance only the interests of shareholders. Instead, the group said, they must also invest in their employees, protect the environment and deal fairly and ethically with their suppliers.”
The statement sounds like a major breakthrough, a return to the time before Runaway Inequality took off, when labor unions and workers were protected by US law and companies committed to their home towns because that’s where they lived, before free trade and internationalization led them to follow the easy dollars of cheap material and labor overseas. But is it?
Barry Rithoff appeared on an MSNBC discussion that looked at what commitment the BR makes in their statement, and what needs to be done to make it real. (h/t Tony Wikrent’s Week End Wrap)
NY Times columnist Farhad Manjoo says that runaway inequality has tipped the scales so far that business leaders, like the Roundtable, are running scared. He doesn’t trust them.
The truth is that Washington has it backwards. For a long time now, Wall Street’s success hasn’t helped the broader economy — it’s come at the expense of the rest of the economy. Wall Street is looting the economy and Washington is helping them do it.
Elizabeth Warren, “My Plan to Rein in Wall Street”
Child care is expensive because good child care employs a high ratio of caregivers to children. That’s good for children but a problem for working people earning on the low end (and even the middle) of the wage scale. The Economic Policy Institute took a look at child care costs and found that infant care in New York cost more than $14,000, and in 33 states and Washington DC, the cost of child care was higher than the cost to attend the state’s colleges.
We've made a Google form so you can easily report tous about your upcoming or past Runaway Inequality event. We want to add these to our new Events calendar, to help people find out about talks and trainings that are coming up, and to learn about events that occurred in the past. (The calendar currently only has a fraction of the past events listed. We're working to show all of them now.)
Click here to fill out the form.