business news in context, analysis with attitude

From the Washington Post:

"As the coronavirus pandemic devastated small businesses and plunged millions of Americans into poverty this summer and fall, executives at some of the country’s largest corporations sounded surprisingly upbeat … With few exceptions, big businesses are having a very different year from most of the country. Between April and September, one of the most tumultuous economic stretches in modern history, 45 of the 50 most valuable publicly traded U.S. companies turned a profit, a Washington Post analysis found.

"Despite their success, at least 27 of the 50 largest firms held layoffs this year, collectively cutting more than 100,000 workers, the Post found.

"The data reveals a split screen inside many big companies this year. On one side, corporate leaders are touting their success and casting themselves as leaders on the road to economic recovery. On the other, many of their firms have put Americans out of work and used their profits to increase the wealth of shareholders."

You can read the entire, fascinating story here.

KC's View:

What concerns me about these findings, beyond the evident hypocrisy in some cases, is that they are likely to engender even greater declines in public confidence in our institutions.  

It also confirms something that I've believed all along - that while there is a lot of conversation about achieving a kind of capitalism that values all stakeholders - not just shareholders, but employees and customers as well - we are a long way from getting there.  At many companies, the people on the front lines remain, for all practical purposes, at the back of the line.