Late last month, the Business Roundtable (BRT)—a collection of 181 of the country’s largest corporations—announced that it was breaking from over 20 years of precedent. Instead of prioritizing shareholder value over everything else, the BRT declared that it would elevate the interests of all other stakeholders—including customers, communities, and suppliers—alongside it. Most notably, the very
In a new working paper, Roosevelt Senior Economist and Fellow Lenore Palladino argues that the 21st century American economy requires a new, more accurate, and more effective model for corporate governance—one that can advance worker power and employee representation within American corporations and curb inequality. As it stands, outsized shareholder power is contributing to rising economic
Between machines and outsourcing, technological change and trade in the 21st century have impacted much of how the American economy functions. As a result, workers are not only facing renewed challenges in their day-to-day experience on the job, with algorithmic scheduling and greater management surveillance, for example; but also in their experience within the economy
Rightsizing the Workplace: How Public Power Can Support a 21st Century Labor Market That Works for All
For too long, the building blocks of a good life, including solid benefits, strong wages, and safe working conditions, have been left to the whim of markets and employers rather than guaranteed for all. In today’s economy, curbing corporate and employer power and reclaiming public power are essential steps toward addressing the collective changes that
Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-CA) introduced the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights today, backed by the National Domestic Workers Alliance. The bill would provide essential workplace rights and protections to a group of workers who have long been left out of basic standards for safety, security, pay, and well-being—in part because
The mainstream economic theory that guides corporations in the US only works if markets are perfectly efficient. This flawed theory has led to corporate decision-making that centers shareholders above all else, including other stakeholders (e.g., workers), long-term business growth, and economic health. This shareholder-first ideology is referred to as “shareholder primacy,” which does not reflect
Tomorrow at Walmart’s shareholders’ meeting in Bentonville, Arkansas, Walmart workers will call out America’s broken corporate governance system and propose that Walmart workers be included on its board of directors. Walmart associate Cat Davis will be joined by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who will speak on behalf of workers’ right to participate in corporate decision-making.
Economic inequality is on the rise. Corporate “shareholder primacy” means that the vast majority of today’s record corporate profits are used to increase the wealth of shareholders, through dividends and stock buybacks. Meanwhile, real wages for non-executive workers have essentially remained stagnant for decades. Increasing worker bargaining power in the 21st century is necessary, and
Each Saturday, a Roosevelt staff member will share 3-5 articles that they consider must-reads. This week, Roosevelt Fellow Rakeen Mabud is reading a WaPo story on how women are transforming organized labor and a New York Times op-ed that shows how “racism eats wealth for breakfast.” Rakeen also shares the latest from The Nation’s Bryce
This blog post is based off of remarks given at “Wall Street and the Next Recession: Protecting Main Street in the Next Economic Downturn,” an event co-sponsored by Americans for Financial Reform and the Center for Popular Democracy at the US Senate. One thing is certain about markets: they go up and they go down.