Posts Tagged ‘corporations’

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10494557_10152674250669060_2797219256561015093_n Martin Rowson 07.09.14

competitiveness

The current recovery has been good for American business. Not so much for the country’s workers.

And, in the eyes of Harvard’s business alumni, that’s pretty much the way things are going to continue for the foreseeable future.

According to a Harvard Business School study released today, “An Economy Doing Half its Job” [pdf], respondents were relatively optimistic about the future of businesses, with 31 percent expecting them to be better able to compete in global markets in three years and 26 percent expecting them to be less able. (See the right and left columns of Figure 1 above, respectively.) In contrast, 41 percent foresaw lower wages and benefits, and only 27 percent anticipated higher wages and benefits. (See the top and bottom rows, respectively.)

Clearly, the authors of the report are worried about the potential effects of this growing gap between the trajectories of American corporations and the workers they employ:

Shortsighted executives may be satisfied with an American economy whose firms win in global markets without lifting U.S. living standards. But any leader with a long view understands that business has a profound stake in the prosperity of the average American. Thriving citizens become more productive employees, more willing consumers, and stronger supporters of pro-business policies. Struggling citizens are disgruntled at work, frugal at the cash register, and anti-business at the ballot box. We agree strongly with this view: businesses cannot succeed for long while their communities languish.

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August 31, 2014 wuc140903-605_605

broadband

Right now—on the basis of a broadband system provided for the most part by private, profit-making, oligopolistic corporations—the United States ranks (according to Ookla Speedtest) only 26th in the world, at an average of 29.38 megabits per second.

But, as Steven D reports, some places within the United States are doing much better. Chattanooga, Tennessee, for example, with internet speeds as fast as 1 gigabit per second. The difference? Something called The Gig, a system that has been set up by the city’s municipally owned electricity company, EPB. The result is that

Chattanooga is one of the only places on Earth with internet at speeds as fast as 1 gigabit per second – about 50 times faster than the US average.

Steven D also reports that the big telecoms are “are concerned that other municipalities will see what Chattanooga has accomplished, and are taking legal steps to stop any further expansion of EFB’s internet service.”