We’re entering an unprecedented era of technology, data and automation. Unlike previous economic revolutions, this one poses more threats to our society than ever before. Automation threatens jobs that count on physical labor; surveillance capitalism steals our data with no in-kind payment; abuse of contractor status robs would-be employees of their law-given rights to healthcare and benefits. We need to ensure that our future economy is one that prioritizes human life and social responsibility over raw, efficient profit. We must start now on the path of creating an economy for all, to make sure we don’t lose our future before it’s begun.
- Center our economy around human and social wellbeing once again.
- Encourage trends toward corporate social responsibility.
- Promote and incentivize growth in the small business sector.
- Strengthen labor protections and promote the right to unionization.
- Properly value “social laborers” like parents, caretakers, health workers and teachers.
- End widespread data mining and put a curb to surveillance capitalism.
Automation is coming whether we like it or not. Some studies estimate that up to 47% of current jobs are at high risk of automation1, and the jobs at risk disproportionately affect low income, low wage workers. Two-thirds of U.S. workers do not have a college degree and face the highest risk of displacement2. The types of work that will survive are the ones that require empathy and social interaction–jobs like home health aides, teachers, and social workers, which are all traditionally underpaid.
We cannot let the current economy continue, where companies can “hire” robots and reap the profits while leaving people in the dark, nor can we allow the surveillance capitalists in Big Tech to constantly profit off our personal data3 while providing “free” services that manipulate us and sap our wellbeing. Our economy must shift to provide the highest quality of life for the most people possible. In order for this to happen, it will need our guidance.
How We Plan to Do It
Promote a Wellbeing Focused Economy:
- Create stronger financial backstops for socially responsible yet underpaid roles, like parents, caretakers, health workers and teachers, via our Floor to Stand On platform.
- Explore the potential of providing “wages” or establishing salary floors for these socially beneficial positions, tied to research that establishes their indirect impact on our national economy and wellbeing.
- Encourage trade with socially responsible, humane foreign partners, because a wellbeing focused economy does not stop at our borders.
- Look beyond GDP: Focus our government’s attention on metrics like childhood success rates, median income, standard of living, the happiness index, health-adjusted life expectancy, and absence of substance abuse.
Socially Responsible Corporations:
- Encourage the growing demand for socially responsible corporations.
- Explore legislation that changes current quarterly reporting practices.
- Re-evaluate the meaning of corporate fiduciary duty to apply it towards workers as well as shareholders.
- Re-evaluate the meaning of “monopoly” to apply beyond consumers, and extend towards competitors and employees.
- Introduce language that prevents an immediate transition from the public to private sector in regulatory fields.
- Incentivize eco-friendly practices for businesses of all sizes and tighten environmental regulations on large corporations.
- Provide a financial and healthcare backstop for all workers and those unable to work, via our Floor to Stand On platform.
- Encourage formation and growth of unions to enhance emergency and disaster protections for frontline workers4.
- Encourage formation and growth of unions to enhance worker protections overall.
- Offer support for local legislation that would treat gig workers by common sense employment standards.
Small Business Growth:
- Create incentives for multi-use housing properties to rent to local small businesses instead of chains.
- Extend protections and benefits to small businesses that hire full time employees.
- Provide technological training such as free coding bootcamps that allows small businesses to keep up with corporate competitors.
- Create a National Business Interruption Risk Insurance program to put in place a long-term structure to guarantee stability in future crises.
Fighting for Responsible Data Use:
- Draft a Data Bill of Rights, similar to laws enacted in other parts of the world.
- Propose an “Algorithmic opt-out” bill that would force companies to let their users remove themselves from algorithmic targeting and feedback loops.
- Fight to make sure that AI research and development accounts for diversity, and does not carry implicit, problematic biases5.
- Push for research into establishing two-way linking and micropayments for personal data, which was a concept explored during the early days of the internet6.
- Create restrictions on the lengthy Terms of Service agreements that allow Big Tech to wield their influence to claim our data.