The Connected Economy: Innovative Ideas to Tackle Extreme Inequality and Drive Enduring Prosperity
July 3, 2015: The Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society published a “hopeful and speculative” essay arguing that Americans are poised to enter a new era of enduring prosperity led by African Americans and immigrants, those who previously have been held back.
In recent months, prominent national Liberal and Progressive analysts issued studies dramatically describing the crisis of extreme inequality and putting forward a bold but familiar policy agenda to address it. Authored by Mark Gomez, Realizing Possibilities of the Connected Economy instead looks at the opportunity presented by our remarkable prosperous Connected Economy and our current“formative political” period.
The essay, released just in time for the nation’s 239th celebration of independence, argues that a generation of tinkering by activists sparked significant gains for a modest number of workers—from industry union organizing to the San Francisco and Los Angeles $15 wage standard campaigns—that can now be taken to scale assuring miserly paid workers economic security and strengthening an embattled middle class. The essay concludes that a ‘targeted universal’ strategy can ensure that the prosperous tech sector contributes to the economic vitality of sectors it relies on.
While the paper suggests a new policy framework by using California as a case study, it puts ordinary people at the center of possible economic changes. “Many Americans today are cynical,” the essay’s author notes. “As an immigrant whose parents risked their lives to come here, I write this essay refusing to accept a lesser fate. From this perspective the question is how can realize the possibilities of the remarkable connected economy.”
This essay is part of the Leap Forward project at the Haas Institute and is part of the Institute's ongoing work analyzing and addressing economic and social inequality. Founded by Mark Gomez, the Leap Forward Project is dedicated to facilitating the research and development of innovative ideas to tackle extreme inequality and drive enduring prosperity. Gomez is a veteran organizing strategist who has led industry research for the Californian Justice for Janitors union and the policy development for the community group ACORN.
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Leap Forward Project
Haas Institute for a Fair & Inclusive Society
University of California, Berkeley
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