Best Business Longreads

From the success of High Times to the plight of migrant workers in techonology manufacturing, The Daily Beast brings you the best in business journalism from the week of November 9, 2013.

11.10.13 9:45 AM ET

Nicholas Lemann – New Yorker

There has been a marked difference between the SEC once castigated by Judge Rakoff for what he saw as leniency toward banks, and the guns-blazing, take-no-prisoners SEC in the news the past few weeks. The new chairman, Mary Jo White, has a reputation as one of the most competitive and competent lawyers to come out of the Southern District of New York. The question is, will all of her work change the way Wall Street behaves?

Cam Simpson – Bloomberg Businessweek

Bonded labor, in which migrant workers pledge labor to pay of a debt, is a common form of labor in many developing countries particularly in the Middle East and in factories in South Asia. In many eyes, this labor (in which passports are often seized to guarantee payment) is the modern day equivalent of slavery. Flextronics, an electronics manufacturer, is employed by companies like Apple, Lockheed Martin, Ford and many others. It also itself employs migrant workers using the aforementioned debt bondage system. One man’s story, named Dhong, captures the horrors that go along with a delivery system built on this type of labor.

Started as a spoof on Playboy, High Times has seen its four decades of work culminate in pro-marijuana victories in the voting booth and public opinion. Now, as the pot institution basked in the sunlight of its success, The Nation catches up with its founders and editors to understand its triumph.

Connie Guglielmo – Forbes

Taking the third-largest PC maker private was no easy task for Michael Dell, Dell’s founder and CEO. And yet, despite the acrimonious buyout (including a well covered spat with Carl Icahn who thinks shareholders got “hosed”) the big challenges are still to come. Dell is faced with a cratering PC market as well as competitors like Amazon in the IT service industry. But one thing he no longer has to worry about – the public market.

Virginia Postrel – Salon

Unimaginable foreign cities, escape from mindmeld suburban life, and the glamorous Jackie Kennedy – all of these pushed the wealthier American people to begin travelling the world in the 1950’s and 60’s. Now, with the Kennedys gone, luxury in travel at an affordable price nonexistent and a lack of excitement over items deemed ‘international,’ glamour just doesn’t have the same pull it once did for consumers.