downward_mobility   43

An equation to ensure America survives the age of AI
April 10, 2019 | Financial Times | Elizabeth Cobbs.

Alexander Hamilton, Horace Mann and Frances Perkins are linked by their emphasis on the importance of human learning.

In more and more industries, the low-skilled suffer declining pay and hours. McKinsey estimates that 60 per cent of occupations are at risk of partial or total automation. Workers spy disaster. Whether the middle class shrinks in the age of artificial intelligence depends less on machine learning than on human learning. Historical precedents help, especially...... the Hamilton-Mann-Perkins equation: innovation plus education, plus a social safety net, equals the sum of prosperity.

(1) Alexander Hamilton.
US founding father Alexander Hamilton was first to understand the relationship between: (a) the US's founding coincided with the industrial revolution and the need to grapple with technological disruption (In 1776, James Watts sold his first steam engine when the ink was still wet on the Declaration of Independence)-- Steam remade the world economically; and (b), America’s decolonisation remade the world politically......Hamilton believed that Fledgling countries needed robust economies. New technologies gave them an edge. Hamilton noted that England owed its progress to the mechanization of textile production.......Thomas Jefferson,on the other hand, argued that the US should remain pastoral: a free, virtuous nation exchanged raw materials for foreign goods. Farmers were “the chosen people”; factories promoted dependence and vice.....Hamilton disagreed. He thought colonies shouldn’t overpay foreigners for things they could produce themselves. Government should incentivise innovation, said his 1791 Report on the Subject of Manufactures. Otherwise citizens would resist change even when jobs ceased to provide sufficient income, deterred from making a “spontaneous transition to new pursuits”.......the U.S. Constitution empowered Congress to grant patents to anyone with a qualified application. America became a nation of tinkerers...Cyrus McCormick, son of a farmer, patented a mechanical reaper in 1834 that reduced the hands needed in farming. The US soared to become the world’s largest economy by 1890. Hamilton’s constant: nurture innovation.

(2) Horace Mann
America’s success gave rise to the idea that a free country needed free schools. The reformer Horace Mann, who never had more than six weeks of schooling in a year, started the Common School Movement, calling public schools “the greatest discovery made by man”.....Grammar schools spread across the US between the 1830s and 1880s. Reading, writing and arithmetic were the tools for success in industrialising economies. Towns offered children a no-cost education.......Americans achieved the world’s highest per capita income just as they became the world’s best-educated people. Mann’s constant: prioritise education.

(3) Frances Perkins
Jefferson was correct that industrial economies made people more interdependent. By 1920, more Americans lived in towns earning wages than on farms growing their own food. When the Great Depression drove unemployment to 25 per cent, the state took a third role....FDR recruited Frances Perkins, the longest serving labour secretary in US history, to rescue workers. Perkins led campaigns that established a minimum wage and maximum workweek. Most importantly, she chaired the committee that wrote the 1935 Social Security Act, creating a federal pension system and state unemployment insurance. Her achievements did not end the depression, but helped democracy weather it. Perkins’s constant: knit a safety net.

The world has ridden three swells of industrialisation occasioned by the harnessing of steam, electricity and computers. The next wave, brought to us by AI, towers over us. History shows that innovation, education and safety nets point the ship of state into the wave.

Progress is a variable. Hamilton, Mann and Perkins would each urge us to mind the constants in the historical equation.
adaptability  Alexander_Hamilton  artificial_intelligence  automation  diadaptability  constitutions  disruption  downward_mobility  education  FDR  Founding_Fathers  Frances_Perkins  gig_economy  historical_precedents  hollowing_out  Horace_Mann  Industrial_Revolution  innovation  innovation_policies  James_Watts  job_destruction  job_displacement  job_loss  life_long_learning  low-skilled  McKinsey  middle_class  priorities  productivity  public_education  public_schools  safety_nets  slavery  steam_engine  the_Great_Depression  Thomas_Jefferson  tinkerers 
april 2019 by jerryking
Opinion | The American Dream Isn’t for Black Millennials
Jan. 5, 2019 | The New York Times | By Reniqua Allen. Ms. Allen is the author of “It Was All a Dream.”

....I marched up to my new, small, one-bedroom apartment on the Hill, satisfied. It felt as if I’d broken barriers.

But when I got a notice in the mail about five years after I closed, I felt dizzy. It was not long after the financial crisis. The letter said that my mortgage company had been charged with giving subprime loans to black and Hispanic people around the country and asked if I wanted to join a class-action suit. I had most likely been the target of predatory lending. I had known from the start that my income could make me a target. I’d heard the words of the broker. But because of my race? It hadn’t crossed my mind. I was devastated......How much room is there in anyone’s life for a mistake or the perception of a mistake if you’re young and black in America? How much of the American dream hangs in the balance? For the dozens of people I talked to, the reality is that if we want our dreams to come true, all too often we have to be almost perfect, making the right decisions all the time. Not getting that ticket. Not listening to that mortgage broker. Not speaking up.....I know the history of this country, know the history of redlining, know how my grandparents were locked out of neighborhoods because of their skin color. But for some reason I was still surprised. I would say I was mad, but more than that, I was hurt that I had been lulled into some kind of false bourgeois comfort that had made me think that my life was different from my predecessors’ lives. Sure, I had made it up that Hill, but at what cost?
African-Americans  downward_mobility  economic_downturn  millennials  the_American_dream  subprime  predatory_practices  racial_disparities  redlining  home_ownership 
january 2019 by jerryking
The decline of America’s middle classes | Financial Times
Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America, by Alissa Quart, Ecco $27.99, 308 pages

Rana Foroohar is the FT’s global business columnist.

the globalised, computerised, “always on” business world in which 40 per cent of Americans work non-traditional schedules driven by algorithmic efficiency. It’s just one of the challenges for a new class of Americans that Quart dubs the “Middle Precariat.” These people, who range from professors to nurses to caregivers to lawyers, aren’t destitute — they have some means, a degree or two, and have made decent life choices. And yet, they are struggling to stay ahead in an economy in which technology is exerting a deflationary effect on everything (including wages) except the things that create a middle-class life — namely affordable housing, education, healthcare and children.
Rana_Foroohar  books  book_reviews  downward_mobility  middle_class  on-demand  deflation  precarious 
june 2018 by jerryking
There’s an Antidote to America’s Long Economic Malaise: College Towns - WSJ
The Great Unraveling | There’s an Antidote to America’s Long Economic Malaise: College Towns
By BOB DAVIS | PHOTOS BY BOB MILLER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Updated Dec. 12, 2016
economic_downturn  Colleges_&_Universities  cities  China  downward_mobility  America_in_Decline? 
december 2016 by jerryking
Too much stuff, with no one to buy it: Is this the future economy? - The Globe and Mail
Scott Barlow
Too much stuff, with no one to buy it: Is this the future economy?
SUBSCRIBERS ONLY
The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Feb. 02, 2016

University of California professor Brad DeLong’s “Economics and the Age of Abundance” highlighted the new economic study of global production growth – a new-ish school of thought that attributes much of the economic malaise in the developed world to a technology-driven “too much of everything.....The economic challenges of abundance, however, go far beyond commodities. There’s too many mutual funds, television channels, cereal brands, auto companies (China hasn’t even started exporting cars and trucks yet), land-line telephones, clothing brands, taxis, department stores and, if we’re being honest, journalism. Technology and its ability to increase productivity are to blame for virtually any major market sector beset with poor profit margins and layoffs. ....... The larger problem, and I suspect Mr. DeLong would agree, is that technology increases efficiencies and reduces the need for labour. A dystopian future in which anything can be produced quickly and cheaply, except everyone’s unemployed with no money to spend, is easy to envisage without considerable structural change in the economy.

Unemployment is the most severe outgrowth of abundance and low profitability ....... ......
abundance  economics  economists  Colleges_&_Universities  structural_change  developed_countries  dystopian_future  oversupply  technology  commodities  over_investment  scarcity  innovation  China  productivity  deflation  manufacturers  outsourcing  unemployment  job_destruction  job_displacement  downward_mobility  hollowing_out  books  developing_countries 
february 2016 by jerryking
Racial Wealth Gap Persists Despite Degree, Study Says - The New York Times
By PATRICIA COHEN AUG. 16, 2015

The lack of family wealth is pivotal to understanding the racial economic gap, he argues.

While the researchers from the St. Louis Fed, when asked, played down the importance of financial support from family when explaining their results, Mr. Darity said he believed that family aid helped individuals avoid the type of risky big-ticket borrowing that ensnared so many Hispanic and black graduates.

“Prior family wealth is the key,” Mr. Darity explained in an email, noting that it “shapes both income-generating opportunities and the capacity to allow wealth to grow more wealth.”
racial_disparities  wealth_management  African-Americans  generational_wealth  downward_mobility  social_mobility  social_classes  personal_finance  financial_literacy  wealth_creation 
august 2015 by jerryking
America’s racial divide widens under Obama’s watch - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, May. 07 2015,

African-Americans are sliding down an economic ladder they had been gradually climbing. Millions of black people who moved north during the Great Migration of the mid-20th century found jobs in bustling factories. Millions more found public-sector jobs – as teachers, postal employees or city workers – as black people took over city governments and congressional seats in places such as Baltimore and Detroit. These workers formed the basis of a black middle class.

But the previous recession hit black people harder than any other group. Manufacturing was shedding jobs before the crash; governments and the post office followed suit when it hit. As Bard College professor Walter Russell Mead has noted, black people accounted for less than 12 per cent of the U.S. work force in 2011, but 21 per cent of postal employees and 20 per cent of all government workers. But with government and manufacturing in retreat, black people faced bleak job prospects.

The new economy is largely a black-free zone. A USA Today analysis last year found that African-Americans occupied only 2 per cent of the jobs at seven big Silicon Valley companies. That’s not hard to understand given the state of public schools in places such as Baltimore, Detroit and Washington, where political nepotism and unions have stood in the way of reform.

Meanwhile, systemic racism in the U.S. criminal justice system – black people are far more likely than white people to be sentenced to jail for minor drug violations, ending up with criminal records that make them virtually unemployable – is so deep as to cry out for a national inquiry.
racial_disparities  Silicon_Valley  Ted_Cruz  Konrad_Yakabuski  Campaign_2016  digital_economy  race_relations  Obama  downward_mobility  African-Americans  public_sector  middle_class  Walter_Russell_Mead  systemic_discrimination  criminal_justice_system  joblessness  public_schools  Great_Migration  sentencing  downward_spirals  institutional_path_dependency 
may 2015 by jerryking
Kelly: On the outside looking in, John Daly joins merchants outside Augusta - The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Apr. 10 2015

Daly’s ruminating about his career.

“I wish I would’ve played better in that ’96-to-2001 window. I wish I would’ve practised on my game the way I do now,” Daly says. “My problem is I didn’t say no. Went everywhere. Took the money. Wasn’t able to sit back and take the time to practise for a whole week. I kind of let my game falter.”

For a few years, John Daly was probably the most typical American allowed through the Augusta gates. But that’s done now. Like most of the rest of them, he’s back on the other side of the fence.
Cathal_Kelly  golf  downward_mobility 
april 2015 by jerryking
Lawrence H. Summers: ‘There are many ways of burdening our future’ - The Globe and Mail
RUDYARD GRIFFITHS
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Mar. 20 2015

Lawrence Summers: confidence is the cheapest form of stimulus.

If a young person asked you, ‘How do I thrive in a low-growth economy?’ what would your advice be?

It’s never been more important to be comfortable with technology, to be well-educated, to not just know things, but know how to learn, and develop a set of distinctive skills that employers can value. For people who are able to do those things, the combination of technology and global markets will make this a moment of immense opportunity........There are many ways of burdening the future. One is to borrow money – though, given how low interest rates are, those burdens aren't that great. Another is to defer maintenance. Those costs accumulate at a much greater rate, and that's why I think infrastructure investment is so very important. Another way to burden future generations is to scrimp on education. Another way is to fail to invest in basic scientific research. Another way is to saddle them with huge pension liabilities for those who are working, serving the public today. We are doing all those things.
Rudyard_Griffiths  America_in_Decline?  growth  economy  technology  automation  deferred_maintenance  downward_mobility  infrastructure  skills  advice  new_graduates  economic_stagnation  the_Great_Decoupling  low_growth  slow_growth  confidence  economic_stimulus  leaps_of_faith  Larry_Summers 
march 2015 by jerryking
The changing face of employment - FT.com
January 30, 2015 12:41 pm
The changing face of employment
Gillian Tett

One widely cited statistic at the World Economic Forum was a projection that automation would end up replacing some 45 per cent of jobs in the US in the next 20 years. And the consensus was that it would be the middle tier of jobs that would disappear. The future of employment — at least according to Davos — is a world bifurcated between low-skilled, low-paid service jobs (say, dog walkers and cleaners) and highly skilled elite roles (computer programmers, designers and all the other jobs that Davos luminaries do). Everything else is potentially vulnerable....What is still critically unclear is how all this investment in infrastructure and training is going to be paid for. Philanthropy? Taxes? It is also unclear how mass access to the internet will recreate those disappearing mid-tier jobs. Given that, it is perhaps no surprise that when I asked a group of Davos grandees for a show of hands on whether income inequality would get worse in the coming years, almost everybody in the room voted “yes” — without hesitation. That is deeply sobering.
Gillian_Tett  WEF_Davos  innovation  middle_class  unemployment  mobile_phones  job_destruction  job_displacement  downward_mobility  hollowing_out  MIT  Erik_Brynjolfsson  automation  Andrew_McAfee 
january 2015 by jerryking
Desperate Putin, Russia on last gasp, strategist says - The Globe and Mail
BRIAN MILNER
Desperate Putin, Russia on last gasp, strategist says
SUBSCRIBERS ONLY
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jan. 15 201
Russia  Vladimir_Putin  downward_mobility 
january 2015 by jerryking
How Black Middle-Class Kids Become Poor Adults
JAN 19 2015 | The Atlantic | GILLIAN B. WHITE.

A 2014 study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, which looked at factors like parental income, education, and family structure, shows a similar pattern: Many black Americans not only fail to move up, but show an increased likelihood of backsliding. According to the study, “In recent decades, blacks have experienced substantially less upward intergenerational mobility and substantially more downward intergenerational mobility than whites.”...The explanations for this phenomenon are varied, but largely hinge on many of the criticisms that already exist in regard to socioeconomics and race in the U.S. Economists cite lower educational attainment, higher rates of single-parent households, and geographic segregation as potential explanations for these trends.
African-Americans  middle_class  children  single_parents  downward_mobility  geographic_segregation  social_mobility  social_classes  racial_disparities  unemployment  generational_wealth 
january 2015 by jerryking
The Great Unraveling - NYTimes.com
SEPT. 15, 2014
Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
RECENT COMMENTS

Robert Coane 2 hours ago
It was the time of...."All the tragedies which we can imagine return in the end to the one and only tragedy: the passage of time ."~ SIMONE...
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This time and its ilk are the manifestation of liberalism that holds America as the source of all evil. An extremist left wing president...
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Thank you, Mr. Cohen, for presenting us with the world we live in.ECCLESIASTES 3:1-81 There is a time for everything, and a season for...
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Roger Cohen
crisis  downward_mobility  America_in_Decline? 
september 2014 by jerryking
Who Will Prosper in the New World - NYTimes.com
August 31, 2013 | NYT | By TYLER COWEN.
Who Will Prosper in the New World

Who will do well?

THE CONSCIENTIOUS
PEOPLE WHO LISTEN TO COMPUTERS
PEOPLE WITH A MARKETING TOUCH
MOTIVATORS
==================================================
Who will be most likely to suffer from this technological revolution?
PEOPLE WITH DELICATE FEELINGS
PEOPLE UNLUCKY IN HEALTH CARE
PEOPLE WHO DON’T NEED MONEY
POLITICAL RADICALS:
technology  economics  productivity  the_Great_Decoupling  career_paths  winner-take-all  automation  Tyler_Cowen  marketing  motivations  inequality  income_distribution  income_inequality  downward_mobility 
september 2013 by jerryking
How Technology Wrecks the Middle Class - NYTimes.com
August 24, 2013, 2:35 pm 30 Comments
How Technology Wrecks the Middle Class
By DAVID H. AUTOR AND DAVID DORN

In the four years since the Great Recession officially ended, the productivity of American workers — those lucky enough to have jobs — has risen smartly. But the United States still has two million fewer jobs than before the downturn, the unemployment rate is stuck at levels not seen since the early 1990s and the proportion of adults who are working is four percentage points off its peak in 2000…. Have we mechanized and computerized ourselves into obsolescence?... Economists have historically rejected what we call the “lump of labor” fallacy: the supposition that an increase in labor productivity inevitably reduces employment because there is only a finite amount of work to do. While intuitively appealing, this idea is demonstrably false. In 1900, for example, 41 percent of the United States work force was in agriculture. By 2000, that share had fallen to 2 percent, after the Green Revolution transformed crop yields…. Fast-forward to the present. The multi-trillionfold decline in the cost of computing since the 1970s has created enormous incentives for employers to substitute increasingly cheap and capable computers for expensive labor. These rapid advances — which confront us daily as we check in at airports, order books online, pay bills on our banks’ Web sites or consult our smartphones for driving directions — have reawakened fears that workers will be displaced by machinery. Will this time be different?
A starting point for discussion is the observation that although computers are ubiquitous, they cannot do everything. … Logically, computerization has reduced the demand for these jobs, but it has boosted demand for workers who perform “nonroutine” tasks that complement the automated activities. Those tasks happen to lie on opposite ends of the occupational skill distribution.
At one end are so-called abstract tasks that require problem-solving, intuition, persuasion and creativity. These tasks are characteristic of professional, managerial, technical and creative occupations, like law, medicine, science, engineering, advertising and design. People in these jobs typically have high levels of education and analytical capability, and they benefit from computers that facilitate the transmission, organization and processing of information.
On the other end are so-called manual tasks, which require situational adaptability, visual and language recognition, and in-person interaction….. Computerization has therefore fostered a polarization of employment, with job growth concentrated in both the highest- and lowest-paid occupations, while jobs in the middle have declined. Surprisingly, overall employment rates have largely been unaffected in states and cities undergoing this rapid polarization. Rather, as employment in routine jobs has ebbed, employment has risen both in high-wage managerial, professional and technical occupations and in low-wage, in-person service occupations….…workers [can] ride the wave of technological change rather than be swamped by it [by] investing more in their education.…The good news, however, is that middle-education, middle-wage jobs are not slated to disappear completely. While many middle-skill jobs are susceptible to automation, others demand a mixture of tasks that take advantage of human flexibility.…we predict that the middle-skill jobs that survive will combine routine technical tasks with abstract and manual tasks in which workers have a comparative advantage — interpersonal interaction, adaptability and problem-solving….The outlook for workers who haven’t finished college is uncertain, but not devoid of hope. There will be job opportunities in middle-skill jobs, but not in the traditional blue-collar production and white-collar office jobs of the past. Rather, we expect to see growing employment among the ranks of the “new artisans”: licensed practical nurses and medical assistants; teachers, tutors and learning guides at all educational levels; kitchen designers, construction supervisors and skilled tradespeople of every variety; expert repair and support technicians; and the many people who offer personal training and assistance, like physical therapists, personal trainers, coaches and guides. These workers will adeptly combine technical skills with interpersonal interaction, flexibility and adaptability to offer services that are uniquely human.
productivity  middle_class  automation  algorithms  interpersonal_interactions  downward_mobility  hollowing_out  MIT  Erik_Brynjolfsson  Andrew_McAfee  Luddites  problem_solving  job_destruction  job_displacement  barbell_effect  technological_change  blue-collar  white-collar  artisan_hobbies_&_crafts 
august 2013 by jerryking
As America unwinds, Canada rewinds - The Globe and Mail
Lawrence Martin

Special to The Globe and Mail

Last updated Tuesday, Jul. 23 2013

The Unwinding by George Packer.

It tells the story of the descent of inner America, the collapse of structures as a result of deregulation, the rampant insecurities with the decline of permanent jobs, debates overtaken by extremes of opinion. Mr. Packer’s theory is that the United States has been Wal-Martized. Lower wages, lower prices, lower standards. It’s been good for the company, and as he says: “Eventually six of the surviving Waltons would have as much money as the bottom 30 per cent of the country.”

But the decline of the big economic middle is ominous, as is the seizure of the national discussion by polemicists. How can a country move forward without a rallying consensus? Not even Barack Obama, with his balanced mind, his instinct for compromise and his eloquence (as most recently manifested on the topic of the Trayvon Martin verdict) can stop the fraying.

The book’s author is not an American declinist. There have been other unravellings; rebuilds inevitably follow. But the context is different now. America’s greatest century is behind it. Its degree of dominance will likely never be the same.

In response to all this, how does Canada, the big neighbour to the north, position itself?...Canadians are divided in their view of the monarchy. I’m not an enthusiast. As was well argued on these pages Monday by Ratna Omidvar, swearing allegiance to the Queen is an outmoded pastime. But the British heritage is an integral part of our definition, our identity. A stronger etching of it in the public consciousness and a greater reach to other markets is not unhealthy at a time when American paramountcy is fading, when our dependency on the United States is diminishing, when a distance in the bilateral relationship is growing.

It may be the beginning of a big turn. There are still major stakes in play, such as the Keystone XL pipeline, but Canadian trade volumes with the United States are in decline after a century of continual growth.

That slide is expected to continue as Asian powers and others take up greater market share. U.S. reliance on Canadian energy resources is on the wane; some project a dramatic falloff. Although 9/11 has dragged Canada more deeply into the U.S. intelligence-gathering network, we no longer rely on U.S. defence protections, as we did in the Cold War days. Culturally, the workings of time have brought us a stronger, more distinct stamp. As for our border, it has thickened rather than easing away. We now need passports to cross it.

While Americans undergo their unwinding, so do we. In recognition of new realities, we unwind from them.
Lawrence_Martin  bilateral  crossborder  America_in_Decline?  middle_class  books  downward_mobility  demoralization  Keystone_XL  beyondtheU.S.  national_identity  George_Packer 
august 2013 by jerryking

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