During a speech at New York University Friday, Hillary Clinton took aim at “quarterly capitalism,” her name for corporate the United States’ endless – and senseless – pursuit of profits.
Now, Clinton isn’t exactly Elizabeth Warren, and sometimes it sounds like she’s reading a script written by an economics professor, but she’s spot-on when it comes to so-called “quarterly capitalism.”
That’s because, to paraphrase Shakespeare, something is rotten in the state of US capitalism.
Instead of using their record profits to invest in innovation or pay their workers more, the biggest companies are now using those profits just to buy back their own stock.
As Edward Luce pointed out in a recent piece for The Financial Times, “The level of US investment is at its lowest since 1947. Last year, according to Goldman Sachs, S&P 500 companies spent more than $500bn on share buybacks. This year it is expected to hit $600bn…. For every dollar the top US public companies spend on investment, they are returning eight or nine dollars to shareholders.”