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1847 Costa Rican Head of State election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Costa Rican election of 1847 took place shortly after the coup d'état that overthrew the first head of state elected in direct elections; Francisco María Oreamuno Bonilla who was formally overthrown although he had previously left office without resigning. The de facto president was José María Alfaro Zamora who was a candidate but was defeated by José María Castro Madriz.

These elections were held in two grades, first paid by all men over 20 or 18 if they were married or were teachers of some science, who chose the electors (168 in total1) who voted to choose the positions in dispute. Also the electoral legislation established that, in five years, those who could not read or write won't be able to vote.[2]

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  • ✪ Capitalism and Democracy: Can They Coexist?
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- Good evening. I'm Janet Gornick, Professor of Political Science and Sociology here at The CUNY Graduate Center and I'm also director of The Stone Center on socioeconomic inequality, one of the hosts for this evening's event, and it's my pleasure to welcome you this evening. Welcome to those of you in the Elebash Recital Hall and welcome to our viewers joining via live stream. Let me just say a few words about the City University of New York and The Graduate Center for those of you who might not be familiar with CUNY or The Graduate Center. CUNY, which of course serves the city of New York is the country's largest urban public university and the third largest university system in the United States. We have 25 campuses, about 275000 matriculated students and nearly 7000 professors. Among the overarching themes to be raised this evening is inequality, and in my view, there's no more appropriate setting in which to discuss inequality than here at CUNY. CUNY itself is a massive project aimed at reducing socioeconomic inequality and enabling intergenerational mobility. When our first college, The City College of New York, was founded in 1847, it was described as an experiment whose purpose was to educate the children of the whole people. And over 170 years later, our mission is intact. CUNY, with a design unique in the United States, has dedicated one of its campuses to graduate study and that's The Graduate Center where we are this evening, The Graduate Center, a small school embedded in this large system enrolls nearly 5000 graduate students across an array of disciplines. The Graduate Center is strongly committed to CUNY's historic mission, we provide access to doctoral education for diverse groups of talented students including those who have been underrepresented in higher education. In the last decade, the graduate center has set, among its highest priorities, expanding our capacity in research and teaching in the field of socioeconomic inequality with an emphasis on empirical work, high quality data and quantitative methods. One of our primary goals is to contribute to and to deepen the complicated national and international conversation about economic inequality that has received so much attention in recent years. This evening's event will address several of the economic, political and institutional challenges that many of us here at The Graduate Center and throughout CUNY have grappled with in recent years. The Graduate Center is now home to more than 30 research centers and institutes including our own, The Stone Center on Socioeconomic Inequality. The center's mission is to build and disseminate knowledge related to the causes, nature and consequences of multiple forms of socioeconomic inequality. The Stone Center has six core faculty members, myself, Leslie McCall who's on stage, Miles Corak, Paul Krugman, Salvatore Morelli and Branko Milanovic. Tonight, The Graduate Center and The Stone Center are delighted to be partnering with The Guardian whose new series, 'Broken Capitalism', addresses the question of why discontent with capitalism is rising and asks if it can be repaired. Richard Reeves, from whom you'll hear in just a moment, is the guest editor for this Guardian series. Richard is bringing together an extraordinary group of scholars, politicians, writers and activists to reflect on this critical topic. I encourage you to follow this series which will run throughout the summer and we're extremely pleased tonight to offer this companion live event which will examine the topic of democracy and capitalism asking the fundamental and rather ambitious question, can they co-exist? Tonight's event is also part of The Graduate Center's two year initiative of scholarship and public programs called the Promise and Perils of Democracy which is supported in part by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation New York. And now without further ado, I'd like to introduce our moderator for tonight, Richard Reeves. Richard is a senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution where he's also co-director of the Center on Children and Families. He's author of the highly praised book, 'Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class 'Is Leaving Everyone in the Dust, 'Why That's a Problem, and What to Do About It. 'Richard will introduce our distinguished panel.' Richard, I turn the evening over to you. - Thank you Janet for that great introduction. (audience applauding) It's my great pleasure to be moderating this panel today and to be guest editing The Guardian series. It's a deliberately provocative title of course, the idea that capitalism and democracy can't coexist is a provocative one. It's one we wouldn't have even asked ourselves not so very long ago and probably the thinking behind the title of this evening's event but also this series is to think about the connections between our political system, our forms of governance and democracy and our economic system. So it goes, it wasn't that long ago when we wouldn't even ask, not only not asking a question whether they can coexist but also they seem like natural bedfellows. Those long enough memories, we remember the end of history being declared, the end of the Cold War and there's just this sense that broadly market based economies would come together, converge together with broadly representative political systems. It seemed to be the way the world was converging but now we're seeing the rise of illiberal democracies, the rise of state forms of capitalism. And a real question being asked now which is how do the traditional ways in which market based economies operate, really interact with political systems and particularly with democratic systems. And Janet has already set up very well by talking about the rise in inequality, sluggish income growth especially in the middle and the bottom and growing fears about climate crisis. The promise of capitalism is one that is being questioned as, I would say, as never before but certainly more strongly questioned than in recent history. In some polling you'll now see significant numbers of Americans especially millennials and those who support a democrat party saying that they actually kind of veer more towards socialism than capitalism. On closer investigation of course, what they really mean is more social democracy, something more like a welfare state and so being clear in our definitions is important too. And so what I'm gonna do is introduce our three speakers who are gonna speak to this kind of question and what does it mean to be a citizen in both a political democracy and a participant in a capitalist economy, what does that mean now? Where are the pressure points? Why are we having this conversation at all? They'll each give some brief comments, I'll then moderate the discussion between the panelists and then we'll throw it open to the floor for Q&A. I'm gonna offer brief introductions because obviously you can look online to see more about our distinguished panel. And I'm going to introduce in the order in which they're going to speak. So first we're gonna hear from Andrew Yang. Andrew Yang is a tech entrepreneur, he's a philanthropist, he founded 'Venture for America' and he's author of most recent book of 'The War on Normal People: 'The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs 'and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future.' I apologize in advance to the other panelists. I don't have their book in my hand. That's because they didn't just give it to me whereas Andrew cleverly gave me the book, literally as I'm walking on the stage so that's excellent marketing. And Mr. Yang is of course well known for other activities. He's enjoying a particularly high public profile right now. Many people are supporting him and are interested in his policies. That of course he is here today as a thought leader. And then we're gonna hear from Leslie who's one your far right. Leslie McCall, Janet's already mentioned. She's presidential professor of sociology here at CUNY and she's the executive director of The Stone Center that Janet runs. She is the author of 'The Undeserving Rich: American Beliefs 'about Inequality, Opportunity, and Redistribution.' And then you'll hear last from Vanessa Williamson who's on your left. Vanessa is a senior fellow at the best think tank in the world, the Brookings Institution. It's just, there are surveys of these things apparently, and she is author of 'Read My Lips: Why Americans 'Are Proud to Pay Taxes.' And so between the panelists we have really rich experience of both business but also academia and political science. And so I'll stop talking and hand over to Andrew to kick us off. Welcome. - Thank you Richard and thank you for the generous introduction. It's true, I do carry copies of my book around just wherever I go. So I was fascinated by the question and scaffolding for this conversation as well because I grew up thinking that capitalism and democracy were natural bedfellows. And that the problem right now is that we're dealing with this distorted version of each and so now it seems like neither is functioning very well, which is accurate. And one of the quotes I like to share is from a friend of mine, Eric Weinstein, who said that we never knew that capitalism was gonna get eaten by its son, technology which is unfortunately the era we're entering where we're entering this win or take all economy that is breaking down many of the capitalist relationships we take for granted. So for example, in the 1970s, if I started a successful company, you could make a number of assumptions. I would have to hire lots of people to feel my growth, I would need to treat them moderately well maybe so they could buy my offering like Henry Ford and buy my car and I would need to care about what happens in my backyard because my workers live there, I live there et cetera. Today none of that is true. I can start a successful company that does not need to hire lots of people or if I do hire people, they have a very specialized skill set. If I hire lots of people, let's call them Uber drivers, I do not need to treat them very well, I do not need to give them benefits and I don't have to care about my own backyard because I don't sell in any one place, I sell everywhere. And so there are all of these underpinnings of what you thought the economic benefits would be to growth that are not translating to the broader population and then you have a democracy that's being held captive in many ways by the same moneyed interests, and that's why young people today are coming of age where they think capitalism hasn't served their interests very well and they're correct, so you can't fault them. And so if I had grown up during this era, I too would be very dubious given the record levels of student loan debt and the underemployment and everything else. So we need to fix both systems. We need to fix both capitalisms that it functions better for more Americans and then we need to return democracy to our people as fast as possible. - [Richard] Thank you, Leslie. - Thanks, thanks very much Richard. So I wanna back to this specifically looking at the issue of economic inequality which is what I study and which has already been raised as perhaps one of the central tensions between capitalism on the one hand which fosters inequality and today fosters extreme levels of inequality, and democracy on the other hand which seeks to alleviate inequality and in fact does alleviate inequality but certainly not to the extent that it should nowadays. And I wanna illustrate this tension first with an anecdote that I think also offers a little bit of historical context for the discussion that we'll have tonight. So I started studying the politics of inequality in the early 2000s, and specifically public opinion and public views about economic inequality, about the economy, about related public policy issues and starting with the 2004 presidential election, friends and colleagues of mine who knew that I studied this issue would say to me, "Wow, Leslie, isn't it great that the issue "of economic inequality is receiving "so much attention these days?" And then they said it again, a different group of people said it again in 2008 and then in 2012 and 2016 and of course nowadays everyone says, isn't the most important issue in this year's or 2020's presidential election is in economic inequality. And so this has been a real concern because in fact economic inequality hasn't really changed very much over that time period, really hasn't changed at all. If anything it's grown. And so my response has always been, throughout this period, pretty much the same which is yes, it's a step forward, the politicians and other thought leaders and influential groups such as journalists, academics, policy advocates, business leaders even that they're starting to catch up, is what I argue, they're starting to catch up with where the American people have been for a long time which is actually opposed to extreme levels of economic inequality. So they're catching up but one thing that they have avoided talking about is what I consider, based on my research, the central problem that Americans are concerned about which is the lack of a fair economy and the lack of a broadly, broadly inclusive economy, what some people call stakeholder capitalism and which I also see as very much rooted in the civil rights movement and in particular equal employment and equal pay doctrine. So coming back to the present, I think the fact, as Richard said, the fact that we are talking about this issue in such bold grandiose terms as capitalism and democracy, I think is very much a step forward because up until this point, the discussion in the past presidential elections, and I'm just using that as an example, and this has been true throughout in the political discussion, I don't believe that that elite level political discussion has fairly represented the American people and the public interest on issues of economic inequality and maybe that is starting to change. - I just wanna say it's past time talking about it, we should do something about it. - Yeah, absolutely. (audience applauding) - [Richard] Vanessa. - So when I was asked to think about this question of whether capitalism and democracy can coexist, the sort of punitive into that occurred to me which I'm gonna try and defend is that we don't know because we haven't tried. I really do mean that in a way because when you think about, the basic tension which we've already been talking about is if capitalism concentrates wealth, it thereby concentrates power. And if we concentrate power, that is at odds with the democratic system, right? And you might consider that there are some kind of threshold below which a little bit of concentration, not so bad but certainly I think we'd all agree that we're on the far side of whatever that threshold is. But when we think about how we've developed capitalism, we've never done it in a way that valued people equally. And you only have to look as far as the gender pay gap, the racial wealth gap, to see that some people's labor has never been fairly valued and those are the same people whose political voices have never been fairly valued. And so I think that if we're gonna think about whether capitalism and democracy can coexist, we first have to ask ourselves if we've ever given either the testing that it might warrant. And in particular I think we should think about whether we can imagine a system that creates immense inequality as acceptable if we actually do think of all people as equal. - Thank you. And thank you to all of you for keeping your comments so brief at the beginning and giving us plenty of time for discussion. I wanna push, I think I'll probably push all of you on this, the nature of the problem and whether it's an economic failure or it's a political failure to deal with economic trends. And I think this is quite an important distinction to make in this debate 'cause you can say that capitalism, market economies generate inequality, yes they do, they're supposed to, they only work if they generate inequality but we then have a collective responsibility to ensure that the winners don't win too big and the losers don't get kind of left behind but that's a political decision. And in fact, depending on how you calculate it, if the US just redistributed more along the lines of other countries then the resulting levels of inequality wouldn't be that different. So I guess what I'm asking is there a danger here that we're blaming capitalism for the failures of the political system and that we should instead just be trying to fix it a political level. So you could do two things for example, you could redistribute more but you could also reform, camp and finance. So the cumulation of wealth as power can have a very different effect in a country that doesn't have funding of politics to one that does. So the broader question is who's really at fault here. Why don't we start with you Vanessa 'cause you kicked me off. - So I think that it's a mistake to imagine that markets aren't political by nature. Markets are a political outcome, exactly the same as the tax system because markets are governed by laws and laws are made by lawmakers who in our country we still elect for now. I always do. My point is that when you're thinking about a market system, it's not something that somehow precedes the political economy. The market isn't something that happens. It's not that everyone has a couple of apple trees and then goes to the market and exchanges and then the king came along and took some taxes. It's not sort of a simplified version of the economy. Entire industries rise and fall based on whether we enforce antitrust laws. The legalization of marijuana has created entire industries that are now legal industries that never existed before. So I think it's a mistake to imagine that market economies, there's an economy that preexists the political institutions. And I think that when we think about what the solutions are to the concentration of wealth, we need to think both about the laws that govern how money gets distributed first and the laws about how the money gets redistributed thereafter. - [Richard] Right, so markets are political institutions and predistribution as well as redistribution is a political decision. Andrew, do you wanna weigh in? - The example I use that everyone understands most directly is how did Amazon pay zero in taxes in 2018, how did the trillion dollar tech company pay less than the federal taxes than the vast majority of people in this room? And that is a colossal political failure at the highest levels. It's clearly completely opposite of what you'd want, particularly because Amazon is soaking up another 20 billion dollars in commerce every year that is now pushing 30% of malls and main street stores to close, and being a retail worker is still the most common job in this country. The average retail worker is a 39-year-old woman making between 10 and $11 an hour. So if you look at that equation, 30% of the stores close, cashiers get sent home, meager savings, not much in the way of path forward and zero in return. That's public policy and political failure at the highest levels. So we've created this system and then people look around to your point that's like market. And every other advanced economy already has a mechanism in place to avoid something like Amazon paying zero taxes. And that was not an anomaly. Their lifetime tax rate is only 3%. And so you look at that and you say any of the cries of where are the resources? It's like where are the resources? So you just look around and who's benefiting the most from our current arrangement which I agree is a completely political decision that we've done but we've done it very passively and now we have to actively correct for it. So one suggestion that would help everything is that if we just gave every American citizen 100 democracy dollars that you could then contribute to any candidate or political campaign, that would wash out the lobbyist money by a factor of five. That would actually make it so that politicians would listen to constituents as opposed to people because right now as a politician, if you get people behind you, you then have to get the money some place else and who has the money? Rich companies and rich individuals. So who do you listen to? Rich companies and rich individuals. If you could get 10000 people behind you and that's a million dollars and then the company starts waving 50, 100000 at you you'd be like I don't care about your 50, 100000, I'll just listen to the people who voted me in the office. So that's the kind of dramatic fix that we need to try and strengthen a democracy that would then turn to the Amazons of the world and say you're paying zero taxes make no sense at all. - So rather than trying to stop corporate money you crowd it out with citizen's money basically. I wanna tell us about the Amazon thing. I'm gonna come to you in a little bit. The Amazon is a great example I think because if you're sitting on the board of Amazon on the current regulator environments and you're making a decision about what to do about reducing your tax bill you've got shareholders then the right thing to do is try and reduce your tax bill as much as possible. But there are people who are attacking Amazon. They're saying there's something wrong with Amazon. What I think I'm hearing you say, Leslie's gonna weigh on this is Amazon aren't doing anything wrong, they're playing by the rules of the game. It's the game that's the fault. And it does seem to me that's quite an important distinction in who we decide is at fault here, who are the villains. If people are just profit maximizing in a market economy, that's kind of what they're supposed to do, isn't it? Or are they supposed to work differently? - Leslie come in and we'll come back. - I just wanna say it's ridiculous that we're berating these corporate leaders like they're supposed to self regulate. That makes no sense. It's their job to make as much money as possible. - [Richard] I think that's an answer to the question then. What about you Leslie? - I wanna take the question really seriously because in reality what politicians are doing is they are taking a hands-off perspective on the economy, that there's technological change, there's globalization, there are these dynamics that we as politicians can't interfere with or if we do interfere with them then there might be job loss, for example. And so we can see what Amazon has done. This very issue of threatening job loss and imposing or intervening in political processes in the City of Seattle, in New York City all throughout, actually overturning past legislation in Seattle that was meant to increase taxes on individuals within, actually on corporations that make more than 20 million dollars in revenue and the tax would be on the corporations per employee head. This was passed by the Seattle City Council in order to help fund housing, more affordable housing. Apparently, I'm not an expert on this but I think there are parallels to the New York City case but apparently Amazon had said that they were supportive of this policy. Well, it turns out they weren't supportive and they created an organization with Starbucks and other large companies called, what was it called? No Taxes on Jobs. So the fear is about if you do regulate then corporations can come back and say I'm taking my jobs and leaving. So that's the reality. - They're able to do what Vanessa's talking about which is to turn economic power into political power. It's the way that these spheres of power, how porous are the boundaries between them? But Vanessa I wanna come to you and ask you to respond to my challenge on Amazon not doing anything wrong partly because your own work is about attitudes towards tax, I think more among individuals and wrapping a question which I wanna ask all of you but I'll ask you first which is the sense of what does a citizen owe to the collective and what does it mean as an act of citizenship as an individual to be paying taxes or contributing but maybe also as a company. - Yeah, so I think that first of all if we're gonna talk about the ways in which economic power affects our political system, part of it is campaign finance but the other part is that we have starved the public sector in these really critical ways. Legislators don't have the resources they need so they rely on lobbyists. So people don't like to talk about the fact that congress needs more money, not so we can fly congressmen around in planes more effectively but so that they can hire they staff that they need so that the only information they get about legislation doesn't come from the Amazons of the world. So I think that's a really big piece of it when we think about how to rebalance political power and economic inequality. On the question of taxation, so my book has a controversial title. I say that Americans are proud to pay taxes but being proud is not the same as being happy. And if you look for this rhetoric, you really hear it all the time. People talk about themselves as taxpayers. They say, I pay my taxes which is weird because paying taxes is mandatory so giving yourself credit for doing so seems a little odd but it's a really common rhetorical device in the United States. And it's actually backed by a lot of civic sentiment. People see tax paying as part of their obligation as a citizen, right? And as something that they do to contribute to their community. I sort of push people in these interviews. In surveys the rates are remarkably. You get 90 plus, 95 plus and 10% of Americans agreeing that tax paying is a civic duty which is almost unheard of in survey data. Similar questions can be asked about whether all this still alive then you get 90, 90 plus percent of Americans agreeing on something. But I thought this was just nice, happy talk in a survey but the thing is it comes up in interviews. So if you talk to people about taxation, it doesn't take long before they start talking about, they feel that their government owes them something, and not necessarily in the form of a check holder, I would imagine that's pretty popular too but in the sense that they chipped in so they deserve to be heard. And people get very very angry. They bring it up without being asked which I always think it's a real sign that if someone actually cares about this idea that these corporations they are paying less in taxes than I did and I'm making $30000 a year, whatever it is. Those kinds of comments are very common and I think fundamentally it's a very positive trait that Americans still, after many decades of antitax rhetoric in this country still use taxation as a way of talking about what contribution, what part of one's labor one should give to the public. - So I'm gonna put some of these together and I'll ask the question. And we'll start with you Leslie and come back this way. So what we're hearing is economic inequality is real and is growing, it's a very salient political issue within huge economic divisions geographically, occupationally, certainly in terms of people's pay packets, big wealth gaps, so any iconic inequality, big problem. People are really worried about that, people are proud if not happy to pay their taxes and they know that the system's not working for them. I'm just summarizing kind of various things that I've heard from three of you so far. So why are we where we are then? If all of those things are true, why are we actually going through, if anything, policy is going the other way. Policy is going to increase inequality. Certainly, fiscal policy will at the moment. If the ingredients that you've all identified are correct why are we getting this dish served to us? Because the way you've just described it, we should be living in a democratic socialist America already. So what's the gap between the analysis and action? Leslie, why don't we start with you. - Sure, so we've already talked about one pathway which is the economic power and influence that people with a lot of money have on public policy. So I wanna talk about the sort of other side of this which is even apart from the influence that money has on politics, I actually think that politicians genuinely believe that they cannot affect the economy, that they cannot intervene in the economy in really significant ways. Maybe the only exception is the minimum wage which is hugely popular but yet there's a lot of debate and controversy over the minimum wage as well lifting it up to $15. So I think this is really a major hurdle and because politicians don't offer genuine remedies to the problem of low wages, to the lack of benefits, these are workplace problems, right? So we're not talking about solutions like increasing taxes on the rich. I'm talking about changing the work environment, compensation, benefits and so on. These kinds of policies are just pretty much off limits. And what I would argue, is that that discourages voters. They're not interested in politics because the kinds of policies that they would like to see which is essentially a stronger more thriving economy for everyone, that that hasn't been on the table. So that discourages participation and I think that's extremely important. There's this mismatch in other words between what politicians are offering in terms of solving these problems and what people actually want. - We say collective fatalism about our ability to do it. But you've already the fact and this, I think, will help you Andrew mope and motivate some of your own work. If you say this is gonna kill jobs then it's not quite game over in terms of political debate but it's really difficult to recover from that. And so a higher minimum wage does reduce employment at the margins in some circumstances but the benefits will mostly outweigh it. The best studies, I think Kruger Card, this will get boring really fast but Kruger Card, they show some effect or be of some effect. It's almost impossible to believe that raising the price of labor would have some effect on labor market but they tend to be pretty marginal in the long-run, probably increases in productivity bla bla bla. But f there's any evidence it's gonna cost any jobs at all then all the other benefits that come from it, reducing poverty et cetera, just get blown out of the water because jobs, everyone cares so much about jobs and if they're afraid of jobs and it almost ends the debate right there which is why we think about something else. - Just one last point on this. The problem is that then people think that it's jobs and that's it versus what kind of jobs. That's they key thing. - [Richard] Any job will do if it's not true. - The example of Amazon in New York City, a very very tough issue, I'm not gonna pretend that there was a right and wrong answer here. So the loss of 25000 jobs, you can't treat that lightly. On the other hand, then that becomes the center of the conversation, that it's only about those 25000 jobs versus all the other aspects of the inequality issue that are so central. It's not just about the jobs but the character of the jobs, the pay, the benefits and all of the other surrounding jobs as well as lots of infrastructure and housing. There are so many issues involved. - [Richard] Okay, Vanessa then Andrew. - I think that one of the sort of paradoxical aspects of this is that as the economy gets weaker and as the social safety net has been weakened, your need for a job gets stronger. So you might imagine that some part of that rhetoric actually grows as you undercut every kind of security. I wanted to make one additional point about why... - [Richard] It's a very interesting point there 'cause then it's a viscous circle, isn't it? Then you've created a situation where the very absence of support means that the job... - Right, so it can actually get harder to convince people to believe that change is possible when peoples lives get harder and that just makes sense. It's unfortunate and it's something we have to overcome. The other point I wanted to make was that when we're thinking about why we don't get policy outcomes that look like what any regular poll of Americans would tell you which is that there are all sorts of things like family leave, minimum wage, Medicare, all these policies that are hugely popular, why we don't have them and why instead we have policies that were hugely unpopular like the tax cuts and jobs act. I think it's important to remember that in general, public opinion does not make public policy. What makes public policy is organized interests operating for the party system. And there's no reason really to expect that average opinion would drive policy in general because politics requires organization but especially in a system like ours which is so inert about and we're certainly built to avoid majority rule, right? - Andrew you might have thought a little bit about the intersection between policy and politics. - So first, I think we should all be offended by the spectacle of Amazon pitting communities against each other to see who could bend over backwards more for a pure ordained process. That's thousands of man hours put forward by hundreds of communities around their country just to show again the primacy, again, of a company saying I have jobs, you need jobs, let's see what you can do. We shouldn't make any of these local tax inducements just 100% taxable and just get rid of the beauty contest forever because from a national point of view it makes no difference to us which city or state a company is based in as long as it's in the United States of America. So having someone move within the country produces no net economic benefits. All we're doing is giving the companies more money that some of these communities can't afford, a lot of the benefits they promise don't materialize, we should all be offended by that. But what that does is it illustrates what Leslie is saying is that we have so brainwashed into thinking that human worth and economic worth are the same thing that we are contorting ourselves and increasingly attenuated in ridiculous fashion. Why else would we imagine that we could turn thousands of coal miners into software engineers. That actually makes no sense. But when you look at, you say, well, your current function has zero market value thus you have no market value, thus we will pretend we can turn you into something that does have market value because we can't even tell the difference anymore. My wife is at home with our two boys one of whom is autistic, what is her market value? What is her work calculated at in GDP? Zero, and we have to get beyond the market's estimation of our worth because the market is about to turn on us in historic catastrophic fashion. When artificial intelligence lands for real and there are 3 1/2 million Americans who drive a truck for a living right now and the trucks start driving themselves in five to 10 years, do you wanna be the person that say, "Hey, you were worth $46000 last year "and now you're worth zero." Tell that to half a million 49-year-old men who see their livelihood about to go down the drain. We have to get our heads up and realize that the market is a highly flawed determinate of what our value is. We have to unbrainwash ourselves really. 'Cause this is what Leslie's point is. It's like hey, we haven't been presented with an option and the American people are getting increasingly desperate. Bernie Sanders legitimately could have won the nomination last time if the DNC hadn't sand bagged him and kneecapped him and we all know that happened. And then Donald Trump, this avatar of distorted, dark tainted populism, actually he's our president today. And people are looking up being like 'Huh.' Like well, this is an aberration. This is not aberration. We're in the historic disintegration of our way of life. Our life expectancy has declined for the last three years due to and suicides and drug overdoses. Cheerleading this GDP number being at record highs makes no sense when your people are dying younger and sooner. This is the desperation we are in. People are looking around and saying what does the democracy hold. And our politicians aren't able to respond to that challenge because they're too busy doing the fundraising for this. - I'm gonna stop you there 'cause I got a feeling if I don't stop you soon we're gonna keep going. And it's not that I don't appreciate the direction you're thinking in but I do wanna bring the conversation to the next part which I think you'll appreciate which is what does the state owe citizens? Would it be something like a UBI? But there's a prelude to that. I do wanna guess one more go at how deep this problem is economically. Because I would say there's the prevailing consensus would be yes there are problems, there is too much inequality, we should be doing more to help workers but it's a question that kind of fixes, essentially, that that can be done through a series of reforms many of which have already been mentioned, but it's not a profound shift in the capacity of markets to deliver increased well-being to most citizens. It's a failure to regulate the market to do that. But what you're now saying Andrew is something's about to be very different and maybe we're already getting the start of that big difference which is actually we're gonna see a detachment between economic growth and people's well-being. The connective tissue between the economy growing and people getting better off is stretching and might break. It seems to me that the answer to that question profoundly influences everything we think about policy and politics from now. So I'm pretty sure I know where you're gonna come out on that Andrew but I'd like to hear, first of all, Vanessa and then have Leslie on do you think it's as deep as not just fixing but really it aint gonna deliver in the way, the machine just is not gonna deliver in the way for the reasons Andrews suggests. - I have pretty dim view of the future but not for the same reasons precisely but the dimness is similar. I feel like a kinship on that front. And to me the, and the place where I go where I worry is climate change. I don't think that there's any evidence right now that our current economy has any capacity to deal with the problem that is absolutely cataclysmic. I don't think that there is any reason to believe or there's any evidence that the kind of economies we've built in the past have any capacity to deal with genuine resource shortages. That is not what market economies have shown any of it. And so I think that we have a very very limited period of time to make some absolutely revolutionary changes. - But that's, I do wanna come on but that's again whose fault is that? The fact that the market doesn't care about the planet is not the market's fault. Any more, like capitalism doesn't care about a planet but actually communism wasn't great either. And in fact I think you can then argue that the kind of despoiling of some of the lakes in the former Soviet Union is what would have been unthinkable in the great lakes of the US. And so I don't think that that's something we can put at the door of capitalism. And so the point of a political system of any kind that just fails to act in the long run, is that fair? - I think that it's clear that the economy of the future can't look like any of the economies in the past. I don't think mercantilism would have handled the problem well either, at least as far I can think off the top of my head. But the point is that we clearly need to make major changes and those changes have to be different from what we've done, different from what's been tried in the past, and I wanna add one more point to this. The other piece that I think is really critical to thinking about climate change is to get back to this question of whose valued because I think that when we think about what jobs have market value, it's striking how often it is women and people of color whose jobs have no market value and that is true no matter what work women and people of color do. When computer coders were women of color, they didn't get paid real well. It was still computer coding, now it's really well paid. There are some other reasons as well but the primary one I would is say is that people with power get money. - Leslie go first and then I'm gonna come to you Andrew, I promise. - I do think there's a debate on right now among economists which is fairly new, it's not my field, I'm not an economist but it's about the anticompetitive behavior of corporations, it's about the concentration of power in corporations, it's about the things that they do, there are mandatory arbitration systems, there are no disclosure contracts, there are no compete contracts, there are all kinds of anticompetitive behavior that are creating greater power for corporations and reducing the power of workers. And workers don't have, just in the absence of unions there's no one able to represent the workers. And even if unions are not going to be the solution in the future, that doesn't mean that there isn't gonna be some other institution that needs to be created and that's why I think actually the talk is important, at least talking about these issues. The new research in economics is just that, it's new. We were not talking about these things five years ago and about this severe anticompetitive nature of some corporations. And then what are the solutions to those. I think we're in unchartered territory, not just because of technology but because of the structure of capitalism and the need to create new institutions that are not gonna be like the old institutions necessarily. We don't know what those are gonna look like yet. - But let's say you could unrig the market, you could have a properly competitive market, move more from crony capitalism to a healthier form of capitalism which there are countries that are doing it in a healthier way. Not everywhere do you get such kind of political power being brought about in the economy. Let's say you could use a carbon tax and other incentives through the market to actually just politically embed into the market action on climate change, that might be enough is what I'm hearing but I'm not hearing from you Andrew. What I'm hearing is that even if you diddle, and I'm well aware how utopian that is, you're saying no no no 'cause the tax coming, the AI is coming and that's gonna change everything. - Yeah, there are two parallel crisis that are working in tandem. One is climate change, two is the fourth industrial revolution that we're in the midst of the greatest economic and technological transformation in human history. And Donald Trump is a symptom of this transformation. The driving force behind his victory in 2016 was that we'd automated away four million manufacturing jobs in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa and now we're going to do the same thing to millions of retail jobs, call center jobs, fast food jobs, truck driving jobs as well as, I was an unhappy corporate attorney for five months and I can guarantee you can automate that job. So we have these two crises that are unfolding in tandem and we are completely ill prepared for either of them so that the best path forward is to try and humanize our economy. And by this what I mean is GDP is a measurement we made up almost 100 years ago and even the inventors had three things. One, this is a terrible measurement for national well-being and we should not use it as that. Two, we should include parenthood and motherhood in the number because they are so important and three, we shouldn't include military defense spending because it has no economic value. And of course we ignored all three of those things and now we're riding GDP off a cliff. And so what we should do is update our very measurements so that something like environmental quality, mental health, childhood success rates, life expectancy, proportion of elderly who can retire in quality circumstances. We have numbers for these things. We can turn them into the new GDP and then we can channel our market forces to try and improve our lives because the market is doing what it's designed to do. The problem is that capital efficiency and human well-being are diverging. So what you have to do is you have to actually make the measurements, human well-being itself and then have that be the measurement of progress. That is our best path forward and that actually gives us a chance to try and make progress on climate change and the automation of jobs simultaneously in the timeframe we have. - So I just wanna move on to what the state or the collective owes the citizen, let's go back to that. If we think that there's some social insurance system and the people should be in some way deserving of that because it strikes me that the US does pretty well insuring some people and social security system full of it's faults has massively reduced pension and poverty, Medicare is there et cetera but other people really, under insured children I would say, especially there is no social insurance. So it shows that it can be done, that the collective world can be there. The problem is the kind of politics of it. And I'm thinking particularly here about something like a universal basic income which obviously you've argued for here Andrew and I really wanna, I'm gonna come to you last on this again Andrew 'cause I just wanna hear from political scientists. What do we know about attitudes towards different kinds of transfer payments or different kinds of public goods to different kinds of people and what light would that throw on attitudes towards and the successful politicization of something like a UBI. Do you wanna go first Leslie? - Sure. Well, actually Vanessa said it earlier. Most of these policies are hugely popular. The fact that they're not enacted is not the fault of a public that is rejecting the sort of social classic, social democratic welfare state. In fact, and I know Vanessa has done some research on that, when you look at the state level you do see initiatives to raise taxes particularly targeted taxes on high income households in order to do a few very popular things, programs that actually have been really cut by the fiscal austerity in states. First and foremost, education spending, hugely popular and it also is something that supports jobs because teachers are employed through those dollars but also funding healthcare at the local level and the third thing that's often very popular is public safety. Also funding gets cut for fire and police. These are the sorts of things where if you look at it at the local level, they work in a sense because people can see the benefits that they're gonna receive at the local level. They can see a targeted tax that says these revenues are gonna go to these very popular programs. That's accountability, it's transparency of benefits. At the federal level we lose that transparency. - Unless it was straight cash in which case it's actually very transparent. - Which we're gonna get to absolutely. But Vanessa you've done a lot of work in this field so I'm not gonna try and do justice to it but I do think there's a sense anyway that certain kinds of transfer payments seem more politically sellable than others depending on who they go to and in what circumstances. - That's right, and this sort of gets back to the point I was making earlier. One of the challenges of providing benefits to poor people is that traditionally, certain groups of Americans, particularly people of color have been seeing these undeserving people who do not work hard enough and therefore why would we be giving them money. And so there's a great classic book called 'Why Americans Hate Welfare' and it demonstrates that when welfare became a program that was racialized, that is to say it was perceived to be received by African Americans, popular opinion turned against the program. And I think that that is a legacy that we have been dealing with from the beginning in this country, it's a legacy we will continue to have to deal with but I think that there is nothing more important than dealing with it and in particular I think what is vitally important, especially as the country's demography has changed, mathematically it's easier to make this change. We need to think about what we provide our citizens. I wanna answer the question you asked about what the state should give to citizens. We need to think about programs, not about whether someone might become dependent upon them but what programs can we provide to citizens to make them independent? And this is a very old republican idea, that in order to be an effective citizen, you had to be independent, economically independent. If you had a boss who could tell you you had a vote back then when there wasn't a secret ballot, that was a danger to democracy. And so many of the founders decided that what we should do is we disenfranchise the poor. The alternative approach, which I think is a better one, might be to make sure that no one's poor. And so I think that for me telling the story of why we need to provide for every American in terms of making sure that everyone can be a citizen is the story that I would personally want to tell. - But I think most people might react to that by saying the way you become independent is through skills, education, all of those services you just talked about and you're gonna correct if I'm wrong about this, a lot of people would say giving someone a check doesn't make them independent, you've just argued that it does but I'm not sure that that's the general view. (audience laughing) - So the conventional recipe is education and retraining but when you dig in the success rates of federally funded retraining programs for, let's call them, manufacturing workers in the mid west have a success rate of between zero and 15%. They essentially do not work. And if you look at the education, about 33% of Americans graduate from college. So if you subsidize that further, you're essentially subsidizing the top third of your population. And right now the underemployment rate for recent college graduates or the proportion that are doing a job that does not require a college degree is between 40 and 44%. So it's not like if someone graduates from college there's this college appropriate job waiting for them. 94% of the new jobs that are being created in the last number of years have been at a temporary gig or contractor jobs that don't have meaningful benefits hence this entire panel which is that capitalism is not working. So the great thing is that if you were to, let's say, issue a freedom dividend of $1000 per American adult per month then that would shore up many of the problems, it would create over two million jobs, it would start recognizing and rewarding women for their vital and unrecognized and uncompensated work that we all know women do more of in our homes and communities, it would also help marginalized communities and people of color disproportionately because they have lower access to wealth and education opportunity. And the great thing is this would become universally popular. There's one state that's had a dividend for almost 40 years and that state's Alaska where everyone in Alaska gets between one and $2000 a year, no questions asked. And Alaska is a deep red conservative state, it was passed by a republican governor. This is not necessarily left or right, it's forward. Martin Luther King championed this, Milton Friedman championed this, Thomas Paine championed this, Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase just came out last month and said America is having a national emergency in terms of the failure of our capitalist system and we should declare a negative income tax. You know what that is? It's an income floor where just everyone gets a certain amount of cash if you're below a certain level. So we need to get with a program, own the fact that our economy has evolved in fundamental ways, get the public will to match up to the policy and the only way to do that is just send a message all the way to the top because unfortunately most of our legislators are held captive by corporate interest and there's a very limited way to make the feedback mechanism of democracy work. - Is there a big difference though between one or 2000 a year in a state that had a natural resource that you could kind of argue was just chance and so we should all benefit from it than 12000 a year out of general federal spending? Just in terms of how it's perceived. I'm not sure that the analogy holds up between a pretty small dividend payment based on a natural resource and a much bigger one based on. - Well, the argument that one could easily make is that technology is the oil of the 21st century and that we are the owners and stakeholders of the society and as the incredible wealth that is being produced in part by our own information, then we deserve a dividend and that's an argument I will be very glad to take to the American people. - And then we'll see how the tech companies feel about having drilling rigs arrive to extract all the money which is in my mind now to go just suck it now. - I'm friends with dozens, hundreds of the technologists and some of them don't like this projection. But if you go to them and say hey you're automating away the jobs is inequality just completely rampant and out of control, half of them will say yes. - Exactly, it depends what the alternative is, isn't it? And if you'll turn just to continue living in a gilded age, wonderful. - It's worse because what you say to them is like is life better inside the bunker or outside the bunker and half of them own bunkers and they've tested them out and they've decided the sunshine is better. - They do. I'm gonna give applaud to Heather Boushey's piece in our series we just republished at Brookings which argues for a more inclusive definition of GDP including a distribution analysis which actually the bureau of labor statistics are working on but then I'll open this up. Let's get some questions from the audience. There are microphones at the front, I think only at the front so sprint to the microphone. Please identify yourself and keep your question short and please we do want, please make it a question or at least have a slightly rising tone in your voice towards the end. Would you agree that? All right, start there, gentleman there. - [Man] The first question, can you hear me? Is that a question? - Yeah, but get a bit closer, everyone needs to get close to the microphone, yeah, lift up. - [Man] I wonder if there's an obstacle to all of this, it sort of makes this conversation's mood if that obstacle as it is is united. Is there any possibility of progress of challenging the interest you were just discussing. I know Andrew you're a constitutional member to overturn it but is there anything we can do, I'm sorry, that's a stupid question. Is this just an impediment that's not gonna go away unless there's something like constitutional amendment? - [Richard] The game's just gonna be rigged unless that gets out. What I'm gonna do is take two or three if that's okay people and then redistribute them. Yeah, the lady right behind you. - [Martha] Thank you, my name is Martha and this question is mostly for Leslie. I have noticed a kind of a revolving door, politicians and rich people from different sorts of life are the same. So what would be the point of changing the political structure if the people who make policies are the same as the ones that benefit from the policies they make and if anybody else wants to contribute and that would be great. Thank you. - [Richard] It could be a different bunch of rich people making policy basically. Okay, the gentleman over here on the right. - [Man] I enjoyed this series on this year a few months ago when a number of economists including Paul Krugman was speaking and the area that they spoke about, one of them was guaranteed income and the other was the idea that automation was taking away jobs. And it was unanimous among the economists. - [Richard] I don't believe it. - [Man] Yeah but it was unanimous so they said that, well, I think it was overblown that technology was taking away jobs because 120 years ago, 80% of the people lived on farms, now it's 3% work on farms and we have a 3.6% unemployment rate. So where do those other people go? They somehow got absorbed. The other thing on guaranteed income they said well, they said giving people money, why not just hire them to do the things that we need. We have have plenty of infrastructure. - A guaranteed job rather than guaranteed income. That's the lively debate in policies focus right now. So thank you. I'm gonna come back to the panel. So we've got, this is all just smoke until we change the way that financing happens. We're just gonna, the problems rich people say in policy is not gonna go away and then this time, is it really different and I'd say the gentleman has properly, I'd say, summarized the medium position of economic thinking right now which is that we just don't know yet whether it's really gonna be different and that we've always had this fear that technology is about to wipe out all the jobs and not enough evidence yet to suggest that this time really is any different, certainly not to do anything as radical as that. And if we were rather than just to give them a check, give them a job. Leslie, don't feel like you have to take all three. Just pick and choose. - I'll just say very simply. We do know that the ground game, person to person contact in campaigns makes a huge difference. We know that very few people turn out at local elections. This is doable. We know that it's doable. There's a lot of political science research that talks about how to launch a successful campaign without a lot of money. So I am optimistic actually, I think it's possible. I think it's possible. Pardon me. - [Richard] We need one optimist on the panel. Okay, Andrew. - Oh well, we're testing it our right now. It's actually easier to pass the democracy dollars and they can give us all $100 to help balance out the lobbyist and a constitutional amendment and to fight it. But to the concerns about the fact that we're not sure about what's happening to the jobs. I wrote a book on this subject, I've looked at the economic underpinnings. The labor force participation right now in the US is 63% which is close to a multidecade law in the same levels as Costa Rica and Ecuador. And this is your tad of an expansion. Of the four million manufacturing workers that lost their jobs in the midwest, I studied economics. Who here studied economics? Let's try this. What did our macroeconomics text book would happen to those four million workers after they lost their jobs? - [Man] They get new ones. - They get new ones, retrained, reskilled, higher productivity, economy grows, all is well. So what actually happened to the four million manufacturing workers in the mid west? Almost half of them left the workforce and never worked again and of that half have disability and then you saw surges in suicides and drug overdoses and Trump voting. None of that was in my economics textbook. So we need to actually get our heads off the textbook and go to communities and go on the ground. Then you get a sense of reality. So if someone talks about the headline unemployment rate, they're just ignoring the depressed labor force participation, the lack of affordability, the underemployment that's ripping through the economy. - [Richard] Okay, Vanessa. - I will just say a couple of quick things. First of all, in terms of citizens united, I think it is correct to imagine that the supreme court is going to be an issue for any of a number of progressive reforms as it long has been. On the question of the job guarantee, I think that it's important to remember that there is no contradiction between a job's guarantee and UBI but they could happen simultaneously there or not in any way at odds in terms of policies. The last thing I'd say is that it is possible the technology will eliminate jobs, it does not seem obvious to me that technology will innovate work because for it to eliminate work you'd have to believe all the children were educated, all the old people were cared for, all the parks were clean, all the roads had potholes filled and I don't think we're anywhere near running out of work. So the question is to how to convert work into jobs. And I think that's a third piece of the puzzle. - [Richard] Great, we're gonna take some more questions. The gentleman there. Let's do the same again, I'll do a round of three. - [Man] I appreciate Andrew's point on what's in the textbook and what's not in the textbook, that comes up very often in the classroom, what we expect it to come from international trade it was not what actually happened. To that point thought, the textbook does bring up the movement of capital and labor across borders and I wonder, from your perspectives, how much of the issue that we're dealing with today is because we've globalized capital, we've allowed businesses to go across borders and to expand the region in that sense but we haven't necessarily applied the level of globalization to citizenship where you can just move between countries when work is not available and when you're not trained for the work that is available within your borders. So I know it doesn't necessarily address all the automation and questions that come up as well but I wonder how much of a role that globalization make. - [Richard] I'm very glad you asked the question because free trade is obviously a very big issue right now and it was one of the things that I think was taken for granted in the previous consensus was that it was gonna be good, we're gonna move together and now that has been seriously threatened. Yeah, gentlemen. - [Man] Yeah, listen, I moved to a small town in Fishkill, New York and it was a perfectly well run little town. We had grocers, we had butchers, you had whatever and so forth. Then there was an attempt and it was successful to have Walmart come into the town. Here's the cracks which I think you need to address, which I think you need a social psychologist here. The whole town voted to have Walmart come in and what happened as a result of that the butcher went out, the grocer out, the hardware store went out and so forth. And all that panacea of voting for a big corporation, it was terrible. Well, they got jobs at Walmart but they made them poor. Those jobs made them poor whereas before you had a perfectly functioning town where the butcher paid the grocer. - [Richard] Is there a question? - [Man] Yes, why is there no social psychologist on here, in this panel? - [Richard] All right that's a fair question. - [Man] And also I want to have you address consumerism. - [Richard] Consumerism, okay. - [Man] And the flow of money from a little community into overseas banks. - Thank you for that. It's fascinating that they voted for it. That's democracy in action. So it's a good tension that you've identified that. And the gentleman here. - [Ray] I'm Ray and I almost feeling like I'm hearing the answer that I'm aware of which is a gentleman who believed in free trade, no taxation but sharing the natural resource dividend and the natural resource exist in every square inch of this country, not just in Alaska. The planet is the natural resource and could pay for all these problems and send everybody a check for tens of thousands a year, their share of the natural resource dividend for being alive. Human beings have a right to live, human beings require natural resources to live, human beings have a right to natural resources. That was Henry George's syllogism. He got twice as many votes as Theodore Roosevelt. - But he was gonna do it through land tax, right? - [Ray] According to Joseph's legalist and others, yes, land rent, in other words paying rent for something you did not create that if it ever belonged to anybody, it was stolen to begin with but the Indians didn't claim ownership of the land, they didn't believe you could own the land. - So there's something here which is, I think is quite profound which is the very idea of private property. So now we're getting some really good socialist thinking and I do not mean that in a disparaging way. This is actually properties theft. Very idea of private property is at the heart of a market economy and that's absolutely true in US it's why Henry George was not very popular in the US, he was much more popular in Europe where the ideas of land taxation were taken much more seriously. But we should be thinking much more radically. Please feel free to come around that if you like. The fact that a small town voted for Walmart and then didn't like the results. I'm not quite sure or you don't think the results were good. Maybe people didn't know what they were voting for et cetera but that seems like a really good test case of allowing people to decide whether they want a Walmart or they want lovely butchers et cetera and then the trade point which is are we moving away from free trade and how do we feel about free trade anyway and how the politics of free trade changing too which I might ask Vanessa to come around to but let's start with you Andrew this time. - According to the studies I saw automation is a much bigger driver of job loss and maybe this community is in the globalization, the ratio, something like 75, 25 or 80/20 in the studies that I saw. So globalization is a big issue. One of the things that we as a society have to, in my opinion, correct is that it's not immigrants that are driving economic dislocations, it's a transforming economy. And that if you go to an Amazon fulfillment warehouse, it is not wall to wall immigrants, it's wall to wall machines. And so that is the real driver of the anxiety and stress that many Americans are feeling. And unfortunately immigrants have been scapegoatted and that's one aspect of globalization that I think America's going to have to grapple with over the next number of years. - [Richard] It's fascinating people now are really freaking out by the falling birth rate 'cause the labor force but you can solve that with immigrations. So Leslie. - I think that the issues of sort of local politics, one question I would have is how many people voted for Amazon? Of course there have been a number of movements, did I say Amazon? I meant Walmart. There have been a number of movements against Walmart. Generally they've occurred in places where there are other jobs, larger cities or suburban areas that I know of. But again, these are tough issues to tackle in a relatively depressed area. It's not depressed. It's difficult, as Richard said, at one point it's difficult to regulate one company. You mean to take regulation throughout the country and it's same with wages. You need to take wages out of competition throughout the country so that corporations can't move from one place to another. Same with international trade. International institutions and agencies need to tackle these kinds of problems about labor standards, about wages and about the environment. These are the kinds of institutions that will solve these problems internationally, nationally and it is a tall order. I'm not saying that it's not incredibly challenging to do these things but that's what we need to do if those problems are gonna be solved. - We don't know that Walmart had a budget of millions of dollars to convince towns that it was a good idea to bring them in there. And that the butcher and the baker had a budget of zero. And so that town council had this really fancy document showing them that Walmart's gonna be great and there was no countervailing sense of documents, the local businesses were outgunned and even if the community, after the facts said, you know what, this is a terrible idea. I really miss my main street. You can't undo that decision. You can't all of a sudden be like hey, Walmart, turns out we made a mistake. So this is unfolding in communities around the country. Like the companies have all of the materials and the resources and the people have none. - And the capacity to make the different trade-offs as well. Fighting gets market logic, I think is what we're kind of hearing a lot of on the panel so far that other kinds of social value, other kinds of ways to job success but these are kind of hard facts. I wanna let Vanessa in now. - Yeah, I think that you're exactly right to imagine that we need to have a different narrative of how the economy works because the one that has been sort of sipped in to popular consciousness about as if corporations just have jobs sitting on the shelf and if you're nice to them they'll release those jobs into the wild which is total nonsense. I bet that's the image that I think operates in people's minds and it's a real problem. I think it was worth seeing a little bit more in the question of immigration which came up in passing on the trade question which is at the end of the day people are not a box of widgets that you can just ship to another country. People live in communities and it's hard to uproot themselves. So I think that we can't imagine that labor can ever flow the way that imaginary dollars can fly over the internet and that's something that creates a power imbalance. The other thing I'll say is that when we're thinking about support for a social safety net, in the United States, that has been undermined by racism for centuries. In Europe it has, in recent decades been substantially undermined by antiimmigrant sentiment in a very similar way and I think that we're obviously also seeing that here as well. So I think that's a third piece of the puzzle that's really challenging in addition to whether there can be the right jobs and whether there can be, small town, they're ever gonna have the power to deal with corporations. The capacity of people to resist economic power is related to their sense of solidarity with one another and all too often immigration, people don't feel the same solidarity with new immigrants. - It's interesting to see that any economics place is now making a real resurgence, the idea that places matter wasn't something that traditional economics took very seriously. The idea was you just move. Basically you're just a unit of human capital, you can move and that's been a real shift I think just in the last few years. - Yeah, I think economists may have encountered a sociologist at some point and learned of the subject. - And sociologists got the better of them in many of these areas. So I'm basically, pretty much out of time. I'm gonna get into trouble if I take another couple of questions so I'm just gonna risk it. But, in exchange you gotta keep them super short. I'm gonna cut you off after the 30 seconds. I'll do a lighting round, okay? You and then you, really short. - [Chirag] Very short, I'm Chirag. The statistic that you mentioned about life expectancy going down is really troubling and it's very new but as a biotechnologist, even by the shortest of estimates it looks like overall human longevity for some people can be extended maybe modestly 150 years. Certainly about a more, a non-reasonable estimate which right now seem crazy or 200, 300 years. So if people can live this long, I'm almost 50 and I got tests for. - But you do look very good. (audience laughing) - [Chirag] It's because of automation so I just wanna know. - All right, is there a question there? Obviously we're admiring you but what's the... - [Chirag] Can capitalism help us the same way information technology made people addicted to information? - Great, the lady here, really short. - [Woman] I understood Vanessa to say. - Can you go to the microphone. - [Woman] Microphone, microphone microphone, okay. I understood Vanessa to say that politicians believe they can't interfere in the economy and I wasn't sure what you meant by that. Did you men that politicians think it's inappropriate for them that they don't have a method of interfering, that they fear it would be ineffectual? Exactly what did you mean, it's fascinating. - Well, I'm going to ask Vanessa but I guess it means is that politicians treat market economies as if some naturally preexisting thing that you can't, there's just something magical about it that you can't mess with rather than a deeply political institution that they can mess with pretty seriously. Why don't you take that directly Vanessa and then we'll come back to the... - I'm gonna say two things. One, a point I meant to make earlier which is that legislators all have a very bad sense of the political opinions of their constituents and there's more and more research on this so to some extent legislators are not acting in the public interest in part because they misperceive what the public interest is but I think Leslie made that point. I think you are the one who was talking about the capacity to intervene in the economy. - I think you both made the point in different ways. - I think you summarized it exactly. It's the power of the economy, what we were talking about earlier that jobs are supreme and... - [Woman] It's kind of untouchable. - In a very minimalist kind of way. It's sort of a lack of political imagination about the future I would argue and how we control the transformations that we're undergoing in the economy. How we again politically control those transformations. - So I'm gonna ask you each to. I'm gonna throw in my own question. This will be the final final round. The point about life expectancy allows me to kind of point out that whilst average life expectancy might be dropping slightly is because inequality in life expectancy is growing. The life expectancy among those who are at the top of the income distribution, I'm not suggesting they're gonna live to be 200 although you clearly will. (audience laughing) But it's the inequality in life expectancy which is reflective of all the other deep inequalities. That's one of those occasions where the average is really dangerously misleading in some ways 'cause it's disguising this huge inequality. Andrew, I'm gonna give you the last word Andrew but I just wanted to invite all three of you. I'll start with you Vanessa. Some of this feels to me as if people believe and I'm gonna say I believe it if it helps with the argument but there's an individualistic ethos in America, it's in the DNA that you do make it on your own, you're a mistress or master of your own destiny, that government overreach gets in the way and everybody can make it and every Americans, however poor, sees themselves as what someone described as a temporarily embarrassed millionaire. And if everybody sees themselves as a temporarily embarrassed millionaire and you know what in America you can make it and we're on our own and it's a meritocracy at the end of it. Is that ethos as deeply rooted as I think it is because if it is then maybe all of this is for know anyway. And if not, why do we keep getting the outcomes that we get. Why do we still keep talking about ourselves that way? Vanessa and then I go to you. - So classically, people would say that Americans are theoretical conservatives, they say like like small from an operational liberalist which just means if you ask them about any major thing government does like education, healthcare, I think we should be spending more on it. So no, I don't think Americans are components of government at all because they have so consistently said that they would like the government to be doing more when it comes to looking after the American people where I think you'll find the tradition of antitax sentiment in the United States actually stems from slavery. But if you look at, for instance the parts of the constitution that make it very difficult for the federal government to tax, those are intended, one of them is embedded in the 3/5 clause. They are intended to protect a certain kind of property and to maintain a certain kind of racial divide that would prevent solidarity between working people but I think that idea that Americans insist upon doing it on their own is just not backed by the data. - Leslie, did you wanna add anything? - The only thing I would add to that if that if there is anything to it and I think it's very relevant to something like the UBI is that there is some value to work and some kind of fundamental value to work. I don't think that's particularly American by the way it just happens to be part of the political environment here in this part of our history as well. We don't have a history part, probably because of racial inequality, we don't have a history of a strong welfare state. It's not embedded in our culture. I don't think it's inherent in any way and also the US had wild economic growth in the post World War II period that was widely shared. So work was, I mentioned this in my opening statements, the civil rights movement was about economic inclusion. It was about inclusion in the economy to the valuable work and employment. It wasn't about extending welfare benefits although that was important too. - I think it's important and I do agree with that but also think Vanessa's point is gonna be a kind of a mythical thing about US individualism. And I'm just thinking about UBI in that context. On the one hand it seems like this incredible piece of social insurance, very expensive checks being cut for 12000 to everybody. On the other hand it's incredibly individualistic because it gets you away from sort of more paternalistic forms of welfare and it just says here's the money and then how you then decide to top it up or do it is kind of up to you. So I can't figure out whether UBI is actually quite an individualistic policy or whether it's a deeply collectivist one. You know. - The one reason why it has such universal appeal is that libertarians love it because they like as long as the government's not making my decisions. I like economic autonomy and freedom. Liberals and progressives and democrats like it because they know it'd mean more money in the hands of children and families, it would mean better health, education outcomes, mental health, lower stress levels. It would empower millions of American women who are right now in exploitative or abusive jobs or relationships to actually improve their lives and the democratic party came out to talk about empowering women or do something about it and I believe we should do something about it. But I wanna look around this room and say there are a couple of a hundred of you here tonight and I have a feeling you're all here because you sense that things are trending in a very negative direction, like no one saw this topic and was like, "Oh, things are fantastic. "I suppose I will come here about how great they are." Like you sense that there's a real ill afflicting our body politic for sure and our economy and it is becoming increasingly punitive and inhuman and we're not sure what to do about it. But the people in this room, it's actually a very high level commitment that you can I'm gonna spend a couple of hours and learn about this. We need to do something about is as fast as possible for the sake of our children, our grandchildren and leave the society that we're still proud of to them because we do not have limitless time, and we know what must be done. The time talk is well past and now we must act. (audience applauding) - Thank you. I'd just like to thank all of you for coming, I encourage you to check out the work of The Stone Center here at The City University of New York, check out the 'Broken Capitalism' series of The Guardian and the work of all the scholars that you've heard from tonight. Please join me in thanking our distinguished panel. (audience applauding)


  1. ^ Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones de Costa Rica (2008). "Historia de las elecciones presidenciales 1824-2006" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  2. ^ Molina, Iván. "Elecciones y democracia en Costa Rica, 1885-1913" (PDF).
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