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1992 United States House of Representatives election in Wyoming

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1992 United States House of Representatives election in Wyoming

← 1990 November 3, 1992 (1992-11-03) 1994 →
No image.png
Nominee Craig L. Thomas Jon Herschler
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 113,882 77,418
Percentage 57.81% 39.30%

U.S. Representative before election

Craig L. Thomas

Elected U.S. Representative

Craig L. Thomas

The 1992 United States House of Representatives election in Wyoming were held on November 3, 1992 to determine who will represent the state of Wyoming in the United States House of Representatives. Wyoming has one, at large district in the House, apportioned according to the 1990 United States Census, due to its low population. Representatives are elected for two-year terms. As of 2019, this is the last time a male was elected to Wyoming's House seat.

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[APPLAUSE] Good evening, everyone. Ladies and gentlemen, we are two weeks from the US Presidential Election. [APPLAUSE] Our topic tonight is The Future of Work, or Tomorrow's Workplace. If you watched the third Presidential Debate last week, you would have heard moderator, Chris Wallace, ask both candidates about jobs and economic growth. Hillary Clinton replied that she wanted to have the biggest jobs program since World War II and that she'd focus on infrastructure and advanced manufacturing. And she mentioned that small businesses are likely to account for 2/3 of new jobs. She expressed support for an increase in the national minimum wage. Donald Trump replied-- and here I'm quoting-- "Our jobs are being sucked out of our economy. They fled to Mexico." He said and he attributed this to the trade deal signed by Bill Clinton, the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. Now if Melania Trump plagiarized from Michelle Obama at the Republican National Convention, I think it's fair to say that Trump here was riffing on something that Ross Perot, running as an Independent said in the second 1992 Presidential Debate with George H Bush and Bill Clinton. Perot, a successful Texas businessman, offered the following analysis of that debate, quote, "We have got to stop sending jobs overseas. It's pretty simple. If you're paying $12, $13, $14 an hour for factory workers, you can move your factory south of the border, pay $1 an hour for labor, have no environmental controls, no pollution controls, and no retirement, and you don't care about anything but making money. There will be a giant sucking sound going south." Perot, of course, was making a prediction what would happen if NAFTA was signed into law. Now the debate over the fate of American jobs in an era of free trade globalization and the off-shoring of work is nothing new. I mean to convey with this historical tour of the 1992 debate. It's been around at least since the 1990s. And I'm no economist, unlike the distinguished folks we had in class here last week, so I'm not going to try and referee a debate about what the net effect is of NAFTA on American jobs. I do think it's fair to characterize that debate, however, as just as polarized and floating free of facts as so much about the rest of our polarized political debate. So what I want to do tonight, in framing our discussion about work, is suggest that we widen our scope, somewhat. I would invite you to think about the workplace of tomorrow from three distinct vantage points, or if you wish, over three different time horizons. First, the vantage point of today. What's the structure of the labor market now and what are the implications for politics? Second, the vantage point of tomorrow-- how should we think about the rapid and continuing growth of the so-called gig economy or sharing economy? And third, the vantage point of another generation from now, say 25 years out from today-- how should we think about the workplace in an age where automation, robots, machine-learning and artificial intelligence might well displace not only American jobs. but jobs anywhere in the world? I'll offer a few very short reflections on each of these vantage points and speculate just a bit on the political implications of the dramatic changes afoot in the labor market. So first, and most briefly, a couple remarks about the labor market of today. And here, I just want to recall, for those of you who saw the class last week and the really interesting data provided by Emmanuel Saez and Raj Chetty, that we have extraordinarily detailed evidence of widening income and wealth inequality, of the hollowing out of a middle class measured by a lack of growth in family incomes over the course of the past 30 years where economic growth has gone almost entirely to the top 10%, and largely even to the top 1% of income earners. We've seen a decrease in social mobility. And the upshot, certainly the political upshot of all of this, is enormous anxiety about the future and about work. 50 years ago, a high school education was enough to secure a job with middle class wages. That's no longer the case today. And of course, that's helped to create the much greater anxiety that we see amongst parents and young people. And even here at Stanford, I'd remark, students and their parents tend to worry despite the amazing education they receive and the connections and social capital that go along with receiving education here. There's extraordinary worry about whether people will be employed after they graduate. The dominant mood in this country and elsewhere is anxiety because well-paid and stable work is harder to come by and harder to keep. And it's no great lesson to remind you that anxiety is a super powerful force in electoral politics. Second, a couple words about the workplace of tomorrow, or what I'll call the rise of the gig economy, or the sharing economy. A recent paper by the economist Lawrence Katz and Alan Krueger analyzed trends and what they called quote, "alternative work arrangements," unquote. Which they defined as temporary help agency workers, on-call workers, contract workers, and independent contractors or freelancers. Such workers increased from 10% of the workforce in 2005 to 15% in 2015, and they warned that we should expect to see a significant continuing increase in these alternative forms of employment. Now in absolute numbers, that's an increase of nearly 10 million people over that decade in alternative work arrangements. And here's the really stunning finding in their study-- all net employment growth in the US since 2005 appears to be in alternative work. Now described in the dry language of the Economist, it's not entirely clear what they're referring to. So let me speak a bit more plainly. The rise in alternative work arrangements is driven by the recent appearance of the so-called gig economy-- the online gig economy in particular, one might think. People, that is, who drive for Uber, Lyft, work for TaskRabbit, deliver for DoorDash. This is only part of the story. Interestingly, Katz and Krueger find that offline alternative work currently swamps online gig work. Now these are not the independent contractors and on-call workers who use a technological platform to find work. These are instead the people who, for example, were hired the past month by Stanford to assist in reunion weekend activities-- the temporary workers who were are to appear in the Stanford shopping mall for the busy holiday season. Compared to a generation ago, American business is powered by a new big data capabilities and technologically-enhanced HR systems are likelier than ever to use alternative employment contracts. Now there are many potential benefits to the online and offline gig economy. Such jobs usually require no formal training, there are very low barriers to entry. Flexible work schedules can accommodate or enhance work-life balance. And for example, people with caregiving responsibilities can easily dip in and out of the gig economy as they wish-- driving for Uber and turning the app on when it suits them. In addition, the gig economy also allows people to supplement their primary income when budgets are tight. But as is probably clear, there are downsides, too, especially as gig jobs become an ever larger part of the overall labor market. Most obviously, these jobs typically come with no employer benefits or workplace protections. The 20th century American economy was structured so that employers shoulder responsibilities for providing health care plans, retirement plans, disability leave, sick leave, and abiding by a minimum wage requirements. But driving for Uber or working in the gig economy offers few or none of these protections. This, I don't think it takes any special rocket science to see, has huge political and policy implications. Some have proposed a fundamental shift of social insurance policies to meet the demands of a new gig era, where workplace benefits are portable, attaching to the worker, rather than being offered by the employer. And I'm pretty sure will discuss that tonight. Third, and final vantage point, let's talk about the workplace of the future. What will happen to jobs in an age of machines, robots, and artificial intelligence? Now just last month here in San Francisco, Andy Stern a leading labor leader said, quote, that "There is a tsunami of labor disruption that lies in our near future," unquote. And he was not referring to NAFTA, and he was not referring to the gig economy. He was worried about the technological automation of work, and the potential permanent displacement of human labor in many industries. Now you might be familiar with at least a few examples of this that's already come on the scene-- the replacement of bank tellers with ATMs, the replacement of human pilots with drones. Last year, Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Martin Ford, wrote a bestselling book called, The Rise of Robots, Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future. The core idea there is that the current technological revolution is different from those in the past. A century ago, technological developments drove the economy from an agricultural to an industrial base. In 1900, it seems hard to imagine this, even, but in 1900 about half of Americans were employed on a farm. Today, that figure is 2%. But former farm workers were able to find work in factories, just as in more recent times, former factory workers were able to transition to service economy jobs. But, warns Martin Ford, this time it might well be different, at least with the robots. Why? It's a complex argument, but let me give you just a flavor of it. The idea is that automation concentrates the gains of the workforce in the hands of fewer and fewer people and requires fewer and fewer employees. One example-- you might know the story of local Stanford tech whizzes Mike Krueger and Kevin Systrom who created Instagram, a new platform for sharing photos online. In a previous era, about a generation ago, Polaroid created a new technology for photos and built a successful $3 billion business that employed in 1978 2001 people. Instagram sold to Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion. It had at the time 13 employees. So what will happen in the future without work where automation has decimated human labor? Some view this as a dystopia and a sure recipe for political upheaval. Others believe that there are policy tools to handle a future without work, and some, in particular, propose what's come to be known as a universal basic income, or a UBI. Now a universal basic income is a form of social insurance or Social Security in which all citizens or residents of a city, a state, a country, receive an unconditional sum of money. It could be on a weekly basis, a monthly basis, a yearly basis. Recently, if you read an interview in Wired magazine with President Obama, he himself was predicting that this will be an urgent policy discussion in just a decade. And it seems to me no accident that many in Silicon Valley who are responsible for the creation of robots, automation, and machine learning, and artificial intelligence, are also cottoning on to the idea of a universal basic income. I'm sure we'll discuss this idea tonight, too, distant though it is from the current electoral dynamic. One final comment about this. The idea of a UBI basic income might seem completely fanciful. But I want to suggest that it's not only a dystopia that you might imagine, it might also usher in a future in which leisure, rather than labor, dominates our days. And this reminds me of the famous passage from none other than Karl Marx, who wrote that the division of labor damaged human dignity itself. Let me read you this interesting and well-known passage from Marx. He wrote, "For as soon as the distribution of labor comes into being, each man has a particular exclusive sphere of activity which is forced upon them and from which he cannot escape. He is a hunter, a fisherman, a herdsman, or a critic, and he must remain so if he does not want to lose the means of his livelihood, while in a Communist society, where no one has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another thing tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as I have in mind without ever becoming a hunter, a fisherman, a herdsman, or a critic." Unquote. Here's one idea. If indeed the robots take over and we have a universal basic income, Silicon Valley might in some distant future take credit for accomplishing what Marx had only dreamed of-- a future in which work does not define who we are and where we're free to hunt, fish, rear cattle and criticize as often as we like. In order to help us understand the changing landscape. We've got three fantastic guests with us tonight. Natalie Foster is seated first there-- served as the Digital Director for Obama's Organizing for America Committee, and also for the Democratic National Committee. She built the first digital department at the Sierra Club, served as a deputy Organizing Director of She's currently a fellow at the Aspen Institute's Project on the Future of Work Initiative and she co-founded an organization called, PEERS, P-E-E-R-S dot org to support people who work in the sharing economy. Next to Natalie is Manuel Pastor, he's a Professor of Sociology and American Studies at USC down in southern California. He's also the Director of the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity and the co-director of the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration. He's written a great number of books and written trenchantly, for this topic, on how cities and suburbs have to adapt to the changing economy and labor market. And finally, we have Paul Saffo, local Bay Area resident who's a futurist. He chairs the Future Studies and Forecasting Track at Singularity University, and he's also a board member of the Long Now Foundation-- an organization devoted to foster long-term thinking and responsibility over long-time horizons, which, if you go to their website, you'll see they define as over 10,000 years. So please join me in welcoming our guests, and we'll start conversation with Natalie. [APPLAUSE] Thank you, Rob. It's really a pleasure to be here. It's not often you hear Marx, Perot, and Andy Stern all a one talk quoted. So congratulations. Thank you. So indeed, the future of work is changing. And I spend my time thinking about alternative work, specifically. We do know that about 30% of the American workforce have some form of alternative work arrangements and that within that, the gig economy is a big part. I'd say it's more ink in the news media than perhaps in actual numbers. A recent JP Morgan Chase Institute study showed us that only about .05% of the American labor market are actually earning income on these digital labor platforms. And by digital labor platform, I mean Uber and Lyft and TaskRabbit and DoorDash. How many of you have ever used a digital labor platform as a consumer? So most of us. How many here have ever earned income on a digital labor platform? One or two or three. Excellent. Join PEERS after this. No I think that's right. But the thing that's interesting in the JP Morgan Chase Institute study that came out was that we've seen in the last three years a 46-fold growth in people who are using digital labor platform. So if we look at the work arrangement of today it's a small part, but of tomorrow it is no doubt a very, very growing part. And so it's incredibly important that we figure out how we support people who work in new ways. And let me just tell you the story of my father, because I think it's illustrative of the moment. So he's a former Evangelical minister who grew up in Kansas. And three years ago, he and my mother packed all their earthly belongings into a U-Haul and drove across the plains of Kansas to Colorado to live near his first grandson. And in Colorado, he hung out his shingle as a handyman. So he's always been good at fixing things, and now he's learning to build a 21st century business doing that. And he gets a lot of his work the old-fashioned way, through word of mouth and the chamber of commerce. But increasingly, some of his work is through a digital labor platform called Thumbtack, where he is finding new leads for people who want their homes painted or their lights changed and that sort of thing. And so in that way, my father, a traditional handyman, looks a lot like an Uber driver, who looks a lot like an Etsy seller, and a TaskRabbiter. Meaning, people who work flexibly, they are their own boss, they choose their own hours, in some cases they choose their own wages. But they work entirely outside the social safety net. Unemployment insurance, workers' comp, paid time off, sick leave-- all of that they do not have. There is no one contributing into their social security for the long haul. Basically, we built a safety net that is all or nothing. Meaning you work 40 hours a week for a traditional employer or you have nothing. And increasingly, as people are finding work in new ways, we're realizing that just doesn't work. And I think we see that in fact playing out in this election this year where there was a recent study that UpWork and the Freelancers Union put out saying that 85% of freelancers in America plan to vote. So that's actually a voting block that no candidate is yet speaking to. Because I don't think we've grappled with what the next social contract really needs to look like, if work looks much more like Uber than it did-- you know, a manufacturing job that built the American middle class. And so one thing we see a lot of energy growing around is this idea of a portable, prorated, and universal social safety net, as Rob talked about. Meaning, the worker owns their benefits, they take it with them wherever they go-- when they change jobs every few years or when they have a series of jobs every few hours, in fact. That it can accrue as they go. And that it's pro-rated meaning it can accrue and universal meaning it applies to any type of employment. So very recently, saw a number of the on demand economy companies like Lyft, Handy, Instacart, Etsy, and others joining many labor leaders like Andy Stern who Rob just referenced, as well as several others like Ai-jen Poo who runs the National Domestic Workers Alliance or Saket Soni, who runs the National Guestworkers Alliance, in calling for a portable, prorated, and universal social safety net. So I see that as one point that is not something that this election is yet dealing with, but certainly will be something I think we talk about in four or eight years. First, very glad to be with you tonight. I'm particularly intrigued by the idea of a handyman who was a preacher. He's very honest. Well, there's that. To his fault. But also, when he fixes something you didn't expect to be fixed and you say wow, that was a miracle. [LAUGHTER] It would add sort of new meaning to it. So let me start, first, I would like to let folks know if my voice sou a little harsh while I'm speaking, it's not that, like you, I've been screaming at the television for the last couple weeks about the elections. I have a speech condition called spasmodic dysphonia, spasms around the voice box. And so it causes my voice to be harsh, particularly because it gets traded once a month with Botox, believe it or not, because that's how we treat everything in Los Angeles. So when I think about this election, I sort of borrow at least half of this phrase from Ron Brownstein who is on CNN and writes for Atlantic. That what we're seeing in this election is sort of battle between a coalition of the ascendant and a coalition of the despondent. And the ascended has to do with the demography, one of the new groups that are growing-- people of color, millennials, et cetera, but also who is growing the economy and doing well in the economy. And on the despondent side, and older and whiter population, and many folks really displaced by the technological changes and by the trade regimes and feeling quite despondent about their future and about where they think America is slipping away from them, not just demographically, but also economically. So you really need to kind of unpack that set of economic changes and the set of demographic changes at the same time, because when you're thinking about the future of work, you're talking about the future of the workforce, right? And it's now projected that the US will be the so-called majority minority, majority people of color by the year 2043. But about 10, 11 years before that, the majority of the workforce will be people of color, because whites are an older population et cetera. And when people think of that, what's in this election, they think they're what's driving that demographic change is immigration, right? That's no longer true. Immigration into the country is stabilizing. There is more immigrants coming from Asia than coming from Latin America. And in fact, net migration from our largest sending country, Mexico, is actually negative. There is more Mexicans returning to Mexico than coming to the United States, primarily because of changed fertility patterns, which means, by the way, that if we build a wall, we're just penning Mexicans in. [LAUGHTER] But that set of demographic changes has created a tremendous anxiety for an older population, and the interesting thing to watch in this election is that the people who are the most nervous about it, are places where the demographic change has not yet occurred, or is just starting to occur. America is having its Prop 187 moment. It's an older audience, I can say that. If you remember, Prop 187 in California, which was a proposition to try to strip benefits from undocumented or illegal immigrants in the state of California, including not letting children who were undocumented be in the schools. It passed overwhelmingly in the state of California. And then just this last year, we did driver's licenses for undocumented, extended health care through Medicaid for undocumented children, et cetera. We've become kind of used to these demographic changes, and millennials have, as well, but the rest of the country is in major meltdown about this. And it's really a significant issue. That racial anxiety-- and we have to be honest about this, I mean, you could try to say, I want to put that to one side, but if you don't think that's what's going on in this election, you're not, as the kids would say, awoke. But the other thing that's going on that's fuel that is this economic anxiety, as well. And it's interesting because it's fueled two kinds of populist reactions. One of course is the Trump phenomena, with the idea that we could get coal jobs back. That would be really great. Black lung. [LAUGHTER] We can get steel jobs back. We can get back all these old industries. A lot of those industries are just gone-- technology, trade, et cetera. But people are really worried about being displaced from them. The other anxiety that's going on is amongst young folks. You know, it sounds pretty exciting, the gig economy, right? Because it's a gig, right? But it sounds pretty bad when you don't have any benefits and you don't know what your careers are. My son, he's 30 years old. He's a musician who's back up career is as an actor. [LAUGHTER] He's a recipe for the gig economy. He had a girlfriend a couple years ago. He's got another girlfriend now. And he was saying, she was about three years younger, he said, wow, it's just an entirely different generation, dad. I'm like, how can that be? He goes, well, she doesn't expect she'll ever have a job for her whole life, like a regular job. That anxiety fueled the Bernie Sanders phenomena, right? So a coalition of the ascendant, coalition is the despondent, a lot of demographic change and racial anxiety, a lot of economic change and economic anxiety. Those are the elements that are stew forward in this election. We can talk a little bit more later about what we need to do to move forward, but until we unpack that and see what's going on, we're not going to be able to move forward. I've looked at this question a couple of ways over the last few years. I teach forecasting here in the Engineering School at Stanford and have put the question to my students. And over the years they've tackled questions like what year would someone sue for the right to marry their robot? [LAUGHTER] The answer would surprise you. And also, when what will happen in this space of work and like. In addition, in our Center for Advanced Study and Behavioral Sciences here at Stanford, under the director, Margaret Levy. I was part of a team where we just did a year long project on the future of work and we're about to start the second year. I really suggest you take a look at the CASBS website. There's a whole bunch of essays on the subject. So I draw on that because working on that project actually changed my opinion 180 degrees on this subject. It also reminded me-- what I see again and again as a forecaster-- which is very often, the question being asked in the present tense is the wrong question. So there are people asking this question or making the statement that robots are going to steal our jobs. That's not a productive question. If you look at it from 25 years out and imagine looking back today and what advice you would give, the advice is, the question is, how is the relationship with our ever more powerful machines changing? And what is that impact on work? And without a doubt, we're in a period of profound turbulence that will continue for some time. But the way to frame that today actually was framed by two gentlemen here at Stanford. And it's a debate between AI and IA. AI, artificial intelligence, will we have machines smarter than us that are better than human cognition? That was the brainchild of John McCarthy, Professor of Computer Science here in 1956 and AI took off. IA is Intelligence Augmentation, and that was the brainchild of Doug Engelbart, who many people know as the inventor of the mouse, but that was just a small part of what he did. And he said no, no, no-- the purpose of these ever-more powerful machines, is to become more intimate, intellectual companions to us, amplifying human thought and capacity. And so one vision is computers replace us, the other vision is computers make us more powerful and effective. I have an opinion about how that will turn out, but let me offer you an anecdote of one possible future. How many people here play chess? Remember Gary Kasparov in Deep Blue in 1996? So in 1996, Gary played against Deep Blue. Gary was the world champion chess player. And he won. And everyone went, yahoo, John Henry and the steam hammer. It's the opposite end of the story. In 1997, there was a rematch, a six game rematch. Newsweek had a cover, the cover read, The Brain's Last Stand. Unfortunately, Gary lost the competition and Deep Blue won. Some of my chest friends said, well it's over. I'm playing something else. Because now that computers can play better chess than humans, I don't want to play. To which I thought, well, gee, I wonder if after Eastman Kodak invented the camera, did a bunch of painters put down their brushes and say I'll never paint again? More importantly, in 1998, Gary Kasparov played another human, Veselin Topalov. And it was a game of what's known as advance chess. Each of them had a computer partner and they were able to play against each other with a computer assistant. And the real winner of that game was humankind, because Kasparov's insight was that a computer, a human with a computer partner, will always beat a computer playing alone, and will always beat a human playing alone. And his term for this was the future is a future of centaurs. So imagine half human, half horse, that we become intimate companions and the computers become our assistants. They make things possible that were never possible before. And in the long run, I'll confess my bias, I think that's where we're headed. We will have smart machines, but this idea that computers will replace us is really no different than what people said 100 years ago that machines would replace workers and the like. You have to think about it the big picture-- what's the new relationship with our ever-more powerful artifacts? Well I want to push back on you just a little bit. Another anecdote that some people heard me tell before-- it's a story about Walter Reuther when he was the head of United Auto Workers. And there are different versions of the story, but let's make it simple. He was talking to Henry Ford II, on the mezzanine of an assembly line, looking down on the assembly line. And Ford said to Reuther you see all those machines down there? This is in the early 1950s. Assembling those cars down there, Mr Reuther not one of those machines will ever pay dues to the United Auto Workers and not one of them will ever go on strike. And Reuther replied, that may be true, but not one of them will ever buy a car, either. [LAUGHTER] And that story's always charmed me because it seems to encapsulate this issue, which goes back at least as far as the Luddites, that technological displacement of certain kinds of employment could reach a point where manual labor of the sort that we've been accustomed to since the dawn of time becomes redundant. And there are people who really don't have the means to consume. We live in an economy today, as we all know, 70% of our GDP is dependent on consumption. So if there are no consumers out there, well, the robots can make all they want. But who's going to buy them? Yes. I'm very fond of that story and I tell that often. I would also draw attention to another story from the same period. What's the most common word you hear when people talk generically about machines replacing humans? Starts with an A. Just shout it out. Automation. Automation. Automation. Let me tell you the origins of the word, automation. It was a term coined by a retired Ford employee who was referring to the very narrow fact of being able to replace some human task along an assembly line-- you know, auto-mation-- get it? To me, what's astounding is we are now 60 years later, and we haven't even updated the vocabulary we use to talk about our relationship with these machines. And so the world is very different. I mean the fact is, nobody is going to buy cars in 20 years to begin with. And it's a different subject, but we actually are no longer in a consumer economy. So I'm not worried about that at all. I'd like to see more unions, though. How do you guys think this is going to play out politically? I mean, this is a big deal and obviously we haven't heard a whole lot of discussion about this in the presidential campaign, but we need to. And my question is how do you all see this playing out politically? And Natalie, you spoke about it a bit. And Manuel, obviously I know from our work before, you see it in two ways. One, how do you think it's going to break down for the current political situation? And second, how important do you think the state of California is going to be leading on this, as opposed to say Washington, DC. The [INAUDIBLE] question. I can jump in and say it is definitely a debate whether or not as a result of automation, more jobs will be created or automation will actually take the jobs. My concern is that even if more jobs are created-- you know, five years ago, we couldn't have imagined an Uber driver as a wage opportunity. That was not even in our frame, and now it is a very common wage opportunity. It's that they won't be good jobs. We're turning into a nation of service sector and retail jobs that pay minimum wage, at best-- well they have to pay minimum wage-- and benefits, but no protection-- or protections but no benefits. And people have to have one or two or three of them to actually take care of a family. And so the challenge will be how even if more work is created, how it's good work, how we build the sort of bolsters around that work to support it. And I think you see it actually playing out in this election. People are not talking about it a lot, but I do think you see it playing out in the workforce today. One of the big questions right now is where the million missing men that would historically be in the American workforce and are not? There one in six men between the ages of 25 and 55, in prime working age, are not in the workforce. And no economist has a real answer for this. One theory is that a lot of the jobs that are traditionally masculine, blue collar jobs, have been automated out of existence. And so the service industry and the retail jobs tend to be jobs that women take. And so that is a question. And I think that is definitely fueling a lot of the anger in this election cycle that we see today. So a couple of thoughts. First, it's very clear that elections are generally a fact-free season so serious discussion doesn't often happen. Someone said the other day that elections really provide a glimpse of the American soul which is a technical term. That's a pretty scary thought. Shoot me now. [LAUGHTER] But it would be good to be having a serious discussion. In that light, I think there's three things that I would mention in this context. One, consider the Uber driver-- not just that it's a new job, but that it's in the process of destroying itself because Uber wants to go to driverless cars. And essentially, what they're doing is developing a new market, shredding the old market, and then the people who had just helped them create that new market will lose their jobs in the future. That is a pace of change that is so different than what we have been used to, that I think it's going to be very hard unless we deal with some of the basic protections and transitions that Natalie's talking about. The second thing is that we can start thinking about all of these shifts in the economy and automation and forget about some other really key trends that are going to drive another kind of work. The one that I would really lift up-- looking at this audience, it makes a lot of sense-- aging. We have an aging population with a much higher level of care going on, right? And we have an expansion of domestic work, of people who are actively involved in caregiving for the elderly. We have a younger generation, which has been left behind so we're now getting the be expansion and a commitment to Pre-K, that's another form of caring, to make sure that people's young kids-- first three years and their first few years into an education system with the right kind of trajectory to move forward. That's a massive expansion of care work and that care work is enormously under-remunerated, for exactly the reasons that you were mentioning. And it's striking because if you think about it, the two most precious things we all have-- our elders and our children. And the crappiest jobs we have are taking care of our children and our elders. That has to stop. And that is a social decision and that will be implemented through a government policy, but also through building political will to change the kind of labor market conditions in those markets. Now to Jim's question, I think California has a very special role here moving forward. For a couple of different reasons. First, the demographic change in California that we went through between 1980 and 2000, it's basically the demographic change the US is going through between 2000 and 2050. We were America fast forward. We're also in America fast forward in terms of the technological disruptions, the growing income inequality, et cetera, but we've also been recently America fast forward in terms of trying, finally to deal with this. How to sort of shore up our public sector? How do we raise the minimum wage in the state of California to move things forward for these care workers? How do we think about creating advanced manufacturing so people can intersect with the economy in a way that will provide careers? How do we understand? Here's a striking fact-- we've got 2.8 million undocumented immigrants in California, 60% of them have lived here for longer than 10 years. About almost 20% of the state's children have at least one undocumented parent. There are undocumented Californians, right? So we're actually in the act in California of doing comprehensive immigration reform even though the feds aren't doing it. So there is this particular role for California to really lead all of these issues. Identifying California as at the forefront of a number of changes and then political reforms that you think might spread across the country, really interesting, but you've left out one conspicuous political fact, which is that we're a single party government here in California, and have been for a short amount of time. Do you think that's the future of national politics, too? Well, Donald Trump has really pushed that future along, that's for sure. [LAUGHTER] Let me ask you-- can I put a sharp point on that question? Because I wanted to ask you this earlier. It feels like to me what the Trump phenomenon did is it's accelerated what we all expected was going to happen just by virtue of demographics in 2020. Is that a fair statement? Yeah, I think that's true. Because I think we would have seen more of these changes in 2020 with the demography continuing to change. That also happens to be a presidential year, so you get more young people, people of color participating in the vote. And it's also the year in which we set the context for redistricting because the redistricting that got set in 2010 was really gerrymandering because Republicans did so well with the Tea Party wave. The interesting thing I think, getting back to California, and I really want the colleagues to speak here, too, is that the California Democratic Party has itself in the process of sort of splitting, right? Because as the Republican Party has become less relevant in California-- although there are some [INAUDIBLE] Republicans like the Fresno mayor, Ashley Swearengin, who I think has a pretty bright political future in California. But you see the California Democratic Party splintering into sort of a more progressive wing and a more business-oriented wing. So you're seeing a kind of re-composition going on. So that may be what happens in the future. I think the Republicans will be-- you know, I don't know. They had an autopsy report after the last election and they were determined to pretty much beat the corpse dead at this time. So we'll see what happens after this election. Let me offer a little different view of this. If the Trump phenomenon drives the process of fissioning the Republican Party, if the Republican Party comes apart as an organized entity, so then we-- going forward in the next round of the political cycle, we have three parties. We have the Democrats and we have Republican A or Republican B. But there might be just enough of one of those Republican factions to muck around with this venerable institution called the Electoral College. So there could be just enough of that vote to prevent any candidate from getting the 270 necessary to be elected President. Then the election goes in the House of Representatives. And the Founders, as far as we can figure out, actually anticipated that elections would go into the house quite frequently. It's only happened a few times, but there is some evidence that they thought this would be a kind of standard way to resolve elections. There's an outstanding peculiarity about that constitutional procedure. It's that each congressional delegation in the house has a unitary vote. Every state has one vote. So you could have a party that represented the two Dakotas Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and maybe two or three other states. Each of those states would have a vote equal to New York, California, Texas, Florida, you name it. That could produce a constitutional crisis in the political future that's very ugly to contemplate. So in that way, to look at the California demography as the predictor of the future is beside the point. We have this constitutional system that could channel our political energies into some very peculiar places. Um. [LAUGHTER] But it would be so entertaining. It would be good media. You know, you're kind of a downer, David. [LAUGHTER] So I want to say one thing and then turn it over to Paul. You have to realize that the Democratic Party itself is splitting, right? Yeah. With the Bernie Sanders and kind of a Hillary Clinton wing-- sort of a much more progressive, left-leaning, a more moderate centrist wing, and I don't really classify where Hillary actually fits in all that. The Republican party, as well-- I mean if you look at a Paul Ryan, that's somebody who I would disagree with politically, but a very rational person, right? He's not trying to play on racial fears. He has a very different vision of how the economy should work going forward, et cetera. So I think you could actually see a poorer situation than you're imagining, because you could see four priorities. That makes my scenario even worse. Well, I mean this is the year of multiple peculiarities. And I was struck Newt Gingrich made the observation that the Democrats were like a herd of musk ox. You know and musk ox, when they're threatened, they all form a circle and they stick their horns down and they don't let anything through. And I thought, wait a second, I remember that famous California philosopher, Will Hurst-- Will Rogers, sorry, Will. [LAUGHTER] Wrong Will. Will Rogers said, I'm not a member of any organized party. I'm a Democrat. But to your point, there's something deeper going on here. It's not a question of which party fissions. It's part of the instability is that the majority of Americans have no political home. Now, all the surveys show that the majority of Americans are fiscally conservative. They want a balanced budget. They have no idea why they want a balanced budget, but they want to balanced a budget, and they do not care who marries whom. They're socially liberal. And there is no single party-- the Republican brand is fiscally conservative, regardless of what the facts are, and the Democratic brand is socially liberal. So I think long before we get to a crisis in the electoral college, this thing is going to come apart in much more unpredictable ways. We had a question from a student about how the divisions were seen in the electorate in this cycle-- might gel into a realignment of the entire party so it becomes a-- to use your terminology, Manuel, a party of the despondent and a party of the ascendant. And one would presume that numerically, the party of the despondent of the current evidence would be the larger, more populated party. This brings me back to a document that some of you might know, a famous essay written about 110 years ago by a German sociologist, Werner Sombart, who was trying to answer a question that had haunted the Marxist left in Europe for two, three generations about why the United States, which was the most advanced capitalist country with the objective conditions for a revolution, why it hadn't been the first place to see the Communist Revolution. This was hard for us to imagine, but this was a real issue on people's minds 150 years ago. So Sombart comes the United States and he tries to figure this out. He goes back and writes this famous essay, "Why is there no socialism the United States? And essentially, he had two answers. One is that there was enough shared prosperity and social mobility in the United States that a party that was premised on the permanent proletarian status of a big piece of the workforce simply was going to fly. And he summed up that part of his argument a famous statement he said, "On roast beef and apple pie, many a socialist utopia has gone to pot." But the other less well-known part of his analysis was that the reason why a worker's party, Revolutionary Party, would not emerge in the United States, in addition to this business about shared prosperity and social mobility, was the deep racial and ethnic divisions in the American working class, unlike the British labor class which had a working class which formed the Labor Party, the French working class which formed the Communist and Socialist party, likewise Germany, Italy, so on and so forth. The American working class was quite different from all those other working classes, because of its racial and ethnic divisions that Polish and German workers might be at the same plant, they really couldn't talk to one another, so how could they organize a common political movement? If that's a barrier to the organization of a party of the despondent, Manuel, going back to your terminology, it seems to me that our racial and ethnic divisions are at least as severe today as they were 100 years ago, and those barriers to common political action persist. So I mean, I'll say a couple of things. One is I think that there are barriers, but there's also these remarkable breakthroughs. To have a group of young people who are undocumented who call themselves Dreamers and captured the national imagination about humanizing who undocumented immigrants are-- that's an amazing breakthrough and they forced a different kind of conversation on comprehensive immigration reform. To have young African Americans lead a movement called Black Lives Matter and get people who are not black to go, oh, yeah, that's actually a really important issue. And I think when you look at the millennials, in particular, that are coming up, they really do value diversity and inclusion. And it's no surprise to me either, that some of our major businesses are there because that fought the bathroom law in North Carolina, right? Because they also value diversity and inclusion. So I think these forces to try to move us forward and not be so riven by race, immigration, gender, sexual orientation in the future. So I think the despondent are despondent that that's the future. And I think that that's going to be a big issue. However, what I think is really the case, we've got a political crisis, to be sure, but I would say that what we've got even more is an epistemological crisis, a knowledge crisis. Yep. When I was growing up, I'm 60 years old, some of you re t at all. Some of you are older, some of you are younger. But you'll remember, there were three television stations and we watched broadcast news, right? Now we watch narrowcast news, right? You watch what makes sense to you and repeats the world that you think is true. And then someone else watches something else entirely. The number of people who believe that Barack Obama was born in a foreign country has actually steadily risen since 2008, despite all evidence to the contrary. And by the way, that doesn't let any of you watching MSNBC off, either, because you're in your own little world, too, in which Bernie was actually going to win. [LAUGHTER] So I think the fundamental thing is how do we break through this knowledge crisis and create a conversation. And I know that's some of what you're trying to do with your work. Yeah. I was also thinking you know, the average Fox News viewer is 79 years old, which is really interesting and I think it will mean that in the next 4, 8, 10 years, there's a big shift in how we think about these. It explains all those clapper commercials. [LAUGHTER] That was actually a good idea. No, I also think there's something you brought up that is really important here. It's not just the Bernie Sanders versus Hillary Clinton wing, there's also it's the moment of social movements that don't necessarily have a home in modern political parties-- social movements who certainly don't care who the elites think should be the candidate. Right? That if nothing else, that was a very important part of the election this year is that gatekeepers don't really matter. They still had something to say in the Democratic Party, where in fact Hillary was the nominee, but didn't in the Republican primary. So the social movements are playing a really important role, because they are organized not around issues like incremental change, like tax credits, or a set of people, but visionary big, bold ideas, like reparations or like the universal basic income-- the idea of giving people money. In fact, you had the movement for Black Lives on August 1st, when it put out its policy proposal endorse the idea of giving people money. And so you know that is a big disconnect from where the candidates are, as they're putting out policy proposals. And I think there is something that will have to be reconciled in the future. But let me ask you a question on that in the context of this because that's all well and good, but I don't see that being a reality in terms of a political solution in the next 5 or 10 years. And I think that the question that I'd like to layer on top of this discussion politically, and bring it back to California is, so you also have the-- think about how we're going to solve the issues that you all laid out and that Rob put out. So you have a declining labor movement, we know that very well. We look at it in California and you look at it nationally. And you also have the business sector that's most involved in this, Silicon Valley-- now Paul may disagree with me on this-- is in my opinion largely missing in action when it comes to any kind of social policy-- frequently libertarian its behavior, extremely irresponsible in many cases in terms of the consequences of what the long-term implications of their work are. And again, I'm putting this in the California context because we're here, man. It's Silicone Valley is who I'm referring to, largely, including most of the leaders of the companies. And also, you have a labor movement which does not [INAUDIBLE] politically and proposed solutions [INAUDIBLE], but it's much declining in size. So where are the solutions going to come from? Because I don't think they're going to come from the Black Lives Matter guys calling for reparations. I think they're going to have to come from some pretty smart, thoughtful, social policy. So how do you all see that playing out? And you don't have to agree with what I'm saying. No, well, I heard you-- again, I think California leads the way on a lot of this. So every baby born in Oakland now at Highland Hospital gets an account opened for them and $500 put in by the city as part of Oakland Promise. And education account is opened for a kid when they enroll in public schools and then we promise to pay for their college once they graduate. Right? That was a new program sort of building on what San Francisco had done in the past several years. That's a really interesting way of thinking about wealth building, and something that you can imagine emulated. So I think California could lead the way. I I'll also point to-- because I think it would be interesting to get into this universal basic income conversation-- California is also the place where Y Combinator, our largest tax accelerator in the Valley, has announced a big research study on what would happen if we gave people money? And they'll be rolling out this pilot in Oakland, and literally giving people money over the course of years, and seeing what happens, if there's a basic floor created for anyone no matter if they have a part time job or a full time job or they stay home and take care of their kid. What happens to their cortisol levels? What happens to their spending habits? Do they go back to school? What are they able to do that they weren't able to do when they didn't sort of have that basic floor? And so this is the first modern study that we've seen on this subject and I think it will have interesting results. How was that Oakland program paid for? So that's paid for by Y Combinator. So this is Y Combinator research, a nonprofit arm. Philanthropy. Paid by philanthropy. Paid by philanthropy-- tech philanthropy. And one other thing I'd say on tech is, you are right, overall. We're missing in action, undoubtedly. Very, very low amounts of giving in the Silicon Valley, writ large, compared to other parts of the country-- both charitably and to the election. However, I think you see some bright spots. You see a new generation of tech entrepreneurs like Dustin Moskovitz who gave $10,000 every hour to a political candidate prior to this election just gave $25 million to a whole set of groups working to organize. So I think there are a few bright spots. I'm sure not going to defend Silicon Valley. And you could take a specific example-- Uber-- as you said, just Uber is just using humans until it can get robots. But it's also abusing the humans that they have fine-tuned their algorithm in a way that really the only people who are Uber drivers are people who do not understand appreciation and they pay them just enough to keep from driving and they don't realize they're actually not making any money. And to me, that's the tip of a deeper iceberg of a fundamental shift. To me, a key question for the whole planet right now is we've moved into an age of abundance and we're stuck with scarcity-thinking. And this is not a new story. So I could tell you an old story about Napoleon III who in 1855, had a very special dinner for the King of Siam as it was then called. And it was at Versailles. And of course, it was a dinner of state so all of the plates and silverware were of gold, except that for Napoleon and his honored guest. His utensils were made of something that was much, much, much more valuable than gold and quite mysterious to everyone. Someone want to shout it? I know someone in this room knows the answer. Aluminum. Aluminum. In 1855, aluminum was more valuable than gold. And in a short 50 years, it was cheap enough to become commonplace, and today it's what we make our soft drink cans out of. The story of the last 100 years of industrialization, and it's being accelerated by computing, is a story that we have turned scarcity into abundance, and it's picking up speed because of additive manufacturing, 3-D printing, and all these things. And our problem is that we're marching backwards into the future. And amidst all the abundance, everybody is stuck in scarcity thinking-- our politicians and companies like Uber and others. That's the thing we have to change. So I just want to answer one part of your question, which is that I think that you're right that reparations isn't going to happen. But the reform of policing by people pushing at the edge-- Totally agree. --has been happening. I think that the undocumented dreamers by pushing around DACA, probably have pushed what will eventually happen on comprehensive immigration reform. And I think what we really need to be thinking about is what are the sort of intermediary institutions that could take what's happening at the social movement edges, and actually help that translate politically. So for example, in California, there's a group called California Calls. How many of you've heard of them? OK. They have a thing called the Million Voter Project. They've mobilized 600,000 voters so far, probably 750,000 this year. They were the margin of difference for passing Proposition 30, which was the increase in taxes on millionaires and on sales tax and got us shored up to fiscal ship of state here in California. They're the main motive force being passing Proposition 47, which has move a lot of folks out of the criminal justice system by taking some felonies and reclassifying them as misdemeanors. So I think groups that have a social movement edge-- I agree. --but know how to play in that electoral space where they can move margins can really do some important things moving forward. I want to be as optimistic as some of the discussion sounds, and I think I'm more with David here. He accused me of being a downer. But the motto I abide by is a Gramscian one which is, "Have optimism of the will but skepticism of the intellect." And again, California is a single-party government. And so the mobilization campaigns seem to be much more likely to have traction and be successful in virtue of that rather unusual circumstance, which isn't necessarily a durable circumstance in the state, much less predicting it across the country. I mean, again, putting it in a perhaps unnecessarily provocative way, part of what I hear the 79-year-old median age of the Fox TV viewer, the idea of the massive demographic change that's underway, that I'm a little bit worried that part of the optimism that you're expressing is basically waiting for old people to die. [LAUGHTER] And I think the politics go deeper than age cohorts replacing themselves. And what are the-- I mean, maybe to pick on Paul's view here, if we've gone from an age of scarcity to an age of abundance, and as you put it, we're marching backwards into the future, well so what are the politics of an age of abundance so that we can have the glorious future that abundance might offer us? But the politics we have right now as you well admit, are not those politics. And is it a frame shift, and that's the idea that people snap to once they imagine how abundance can be more widely shared and the universal basic income is one piece of that? It feels to me like, I want to know where the organizing pieces are-- the day to day strategies. And what of the current moment hearkens back to broad, social movement strategies, that aren't just California-based? As happy as those might seem, I feel like they're in fertile ground in a single-party government. Well, I didn't say we're-- and I'm not offering a Pollyanna future of that abundance. It's going to be true in fact. Technology overwhelms us because it presents us with choices and the burden is upon us to use those technological gifts wisely and well, and not foolishly. And I am plenty anxious about this situation and the fact that some of the least enlightened people are here in Silicon Valley makes me nervous. But your question of how this scales up to the United States-- I'm actually not optimistic that that will happen. We're in a moment in time where national power is on the wane. With the rise of globalization, the United States may not exist as a political entity in 50 years, that the new center of political, cultural, and economic life on this planet is no longer with nations, nation states, it's with city-states. And San Francisco Bay Area is actually an example. You take the nine Bay Area counties-- you know, this is a place big enough to have a global impact. We gave the world Apple, Google, Facebook. But we're also small enough that we all know how we fit in this community and we feel a real bond. I mean, where else do people refer to CEO's they've never met as Zuck or Steve or the like? And of course, we have our own unique culture. I mean, we gave the world the Grateful Dead. [LAUGHTER] By the way our, GDP if the nine Bay Area counties were a separate nation, our GDP would make us the world's 17th largest economy. That's larger than Switzerland or Saudi Arabia, and that's Saudi Arabia before oil prices tanked. The problem with the United States is that there is no national identity anymore. With the opening up of globalization, people identify with the planet, they identify down with their community. And the new United States have never been very stable. Juan Enriquez many years ago wrote a marvelous book, The Untied States of America. And in it, he noted that no US President has ever died under the same flag they were born under. I've got to say, though, I wouldn't deny the description, but it sounds like you're calling for the opposite of Brexit. So we should-- the Bay Area should secede from the Union because we're unified and doing great. No. We have a very powerful tool. And I think it is also the tool that solves our political crisis, and that's the power of myth. The way you change-- we suffer from Schumpeterian lag in politics and economy that the slowest thing to change is people's minds. The way you change people's minds quickly is you give them a powerful new myth. And California-- you know, the myths that have sustained this nation for 200 plus years are now the ones holding us back-- the myth of independence. And we need new myths and who does a better job of generating myths than Silicon Valley and Hollywood? That's our most important export in this political year. So it is a frame shift that you want politically? Or myth making? One of the characteristics of a myth-- I'm never going to get invited back. [LAUGHTER] It doesn't correspond to reality. You know I think of what a founding myth is-- it's got to have some tether to reality for it to actually be a persistent myth. And I think that that's really critical. I mean I-- just a response to your basic question-- I mean, I have to be optimistic. I mean first, I have to get up every day and do something, so that spills into it. Second, I'm the son of an undocumented immigrant who came to the country in the 1930s and was given a choice during World War II between being deported or join in the US army. He couldn't figure out what to do. He gave a penny to my cousin Carlitos, who flipped it. Here I am. And I'm optimistic, too, because I do think we can move this up to a national level. You know, I was in Los Angeles when we burned ourselves down, when the historic inequities of policing, the sharp disparities of growing inequality, because about a quarter of the nation's jobs were lost in Los Angeles in the early 1990s, when the tremendous racial division was there. And now this is a city that raised the minimum wage before the rest of the state, has figured out how to integrative immigrants successfully, is investing in a mass transit system-- thank you very much-- so we can finally get out of our cars, is actually trying to lead on climate, and is trying to model what I think the rest of the country can do. So I'm actually optimistic that it's not a question of places like the Bay Area or Los Angeles seceding, but trying to figure out how to show people that you can do this, that this is forward progress. And it will be good for the rest of the country, as well. You know, Manual, I totally agree with what you're saying. And I disagree, Rob, with your-- or at least what I thought your perspective on this was. That's exactly what I think is going to happen. I think we will figure out in this state way before they do in Washington and in most other states. We'll figure out the idea of portable benefits. We'll figure out universal basic income, or some version thereof. We'll pass it here. And then some of us who are in politics, we'll franchise it around the country. And then it will go to a dozen other states. I actually think California is an incredibly important state in that way. It's not just what happens here. I think you guys are being cynical about that. I think it's not that we're going to secede, or anything, it's that we're going to solve those problems, because we have to solve them here because of the demographics of this state, and because the bounty of this state will lead us to-- with or without the CEOs of Silicon Valley, or all the Stanford students who just take engineering classes and forget to take classes like this. [LAUGHTER] No, which is a big issue-- which is a big issue, in my opinion, about this university, about what are we asking the undergrads to do here and are they thinking about some of these issues or are they just going about how to get a job at Uber? And so that's a very big deal for this university by the way, that we do not talk enough about. David Kennedy does, but not enough people do. So I'm optimistic in the same way Manuel does, and it's not just because I'm a Californian. I'm from New York. But it's because I think California can lead and then the rest of the country will actually follow on some of the policies. And Manuel, I agree, but you still can't have our water. [APPLAUSE] Just kidding. Can we come back to an issue that's been mentioned a few times? Can I make one-- if you can make it just-- Please. The first time, I'm I guess three things. One is I understand the tension. My wife is from northern California and she believes it's an act of charity for having married me. [LAUGHTER] And you know second, I love it when the teachers of the course actually disagree. I think that's a really good thing. But I did want to offer up a resource. If you go to a website that just came up today called it's a website we just launched which talks about the conditions for change, the capacities for change, and the arenas in which change will take place. And it tries to offer an analysis of all 50 states with in-depth case studies of five or six about how to move toward progressive governance, meaning, not just sort of political victory, but actually governing in a way that would actually change people's lives. Which does mean, having to figure out how to bring a lot of different kind of interest together. Manuel, bravo, but Alec has been out there for a generation ahead of you. It's about time the progressive left got organized this way, but Alex has actually been out there influencing state politics for 25 years. But that's not my question. I want to go back to something that's been mention and that's universal basic income. And that's why I asked who's funding the mini version of it in Oakland, and it turns out to be a philanthropic exercise. And as many people in this room will know, Switzerland just had a referendum vote on a UBI and they absolutely quashed it. So what's the political viability, despite all the kind of technocratic economistic traction of it? Which I understand. Even Charles Murray in the pages of the Wall Street Journal is supporting universal basic income, which is quite something remarkable. Should we ask Natalie to just do a quick [INAUDIBLE] of universal basic income? Who here understands universal basic income? Yeah, so Natalie, maybe you could describe it. [INTERPOSING VOICES] Then I'd like to have a discussion on it's political [INAUDIBLE]. Yes, so the universal basic income is a really old idea. Our founding fathers were supportive of it. They actually envisioned a time where we had time to do democracy as machines would do more of the work. Martin Luther King, Jr. was supportive of it as was Nixon, who had a plan. And we're having a modern resurgence, I think, in part, because a lot of the trends we're talking about here. But simply put, it's the idea of giving everyone cash. Cash transfers to everyone. Without conditions? Without conditions. So in addition to what you do for work. People point to two things in the US as forms of basic income, one being the permanent fund in Alaska. So 40 years ago, a Republican governor took the oil royalties from companies who were coming in to draw on the north slope and put it into a permit fund. And then every year the residents of Alaska get a dividend-- somewhere between $1,000 and $3,000 that they get each year debited into their account that they see as their common wealth, that they co-own that oil and therefore they should co-receive the royalties from it. The other is Social Security. It's true that you work and contributed throughout the course, but when you turn 65, you of course receive a check every month that is not a paycheck. And so I think that's sort of the basic primer. I want to go back to Switzerland. So this was the first referendum we've seen anywhere in the world on the topic. It lost handily-- 23% supported it. But what was interesting was the millennial vote. And about 80% of millennials in Switzerland voted for the universal basic income. Even more of them said, this will be something that will happen in our lifetime. And I think that is what's important here. Because that is absolutely the future. It's the kind of idea that I think allows people to imagine all of the trends we're talking about as a positive. Like the idea that there might be less work, or the idea that it might be that I could stay home and take care of a kid or take care of an aging parent and then go back to work. That sort of thing. There's another element of this-- as I understand it, I'm willing to stand corrected-- that you didn't mention, at least in Charles Murray's version of this, and that's the one I'm most familiar with as I've read it recently-- the universal basic income would displace all other social welfare programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, unemployment insurance, and so on. And in his version, there would be one condition or stipulation that $3,000 of the $10,000 a year that he proposes would have to go to medical insurance. It would be like a block grant social insurance scheme Where you take all the other conditional forms of social insurance right now and just bundle them all together. This is the funding scheme for it. You could imagine if not the politics for it, at least the physical mechanism that would provide it. Paul, I interrupted you. I was just going to say, there are lots of fascinating case studies. Look this up. You will sink without a trace in the interesting examples. Denmark is doing a lot with this. There were some really fascinating experiments in India where they did parallel tests with villages. And then intermediate things where they gave traditional conditional aid and then they gave UBI all the way down to little kids and in between. They discovered that the most successful were the ones where there were absolutely no strings to the money. So this is a big-- What do you mean by, "more successful"? In terms of outcomes, benefit to the villages and like. But what I would say is that the problem with universal basic income-- and I'm on record as saying it's a really great idea but it's about as likely as Stalinism to happen-- which was a unnuanced statement. [LAUGHTER] If Stalinism did happen [INAUDIBLE] So let me add nuanced, this I absolutely believe is the future. The question is, how quickly it comes. And how quickly it comes, the issue is, how quickly does it scale? There is convincing proof that this works at the community level. The question is, can you scale it up? And as such, this is really about a much larger issue and not UBI at all. It's the notion of what E.B. Thompson called "The Moral Economy." And interestingly enough, the moral economy popped up for a nanosecond in the election when Bernie Sanders invoked it, and I went, oh please dear god, don't-- you know, he's going to destroy the brand on this thing. [LAUGHTER] But look up moral economy. And a really good example-- James Scott in 1976 wrote a really arresting book in which he refers to-- he's talking about the moral economy the peasant and describes the condition of the peasant as like a man standing in water up to their neck, up right to the lower edge of their nose, and the slightest wave will drown them. Which I look at some of the cultures of despair in our country right now, and that really captures the mood. Well, in a small community, in a moral economy, people help each other. And this is where the opportunity, in my opinion, is with technology. And that's why I love what she's been doing because the way you scale things up is you use social media and digital technology to create connections across large groups that in the past are only possible in small communities. And I think there are two things in my lifetime that seemed very improbable-- one was legalizing marijuana and the other was marriage equality. When I entered politics, those were considered hands off-- impossible to do. And yet here we are at a time where it's inevitable. California will lead the way in both cases, in many instances. So I think there's-- and if nothing else, this election has reminded us it's an election about big ideas. People were attracted to those who could articulate a vision that was much bigger than what-- Small fingers, big ideas. There you go. There you go. Well, I think it's still far away. But I do think you see a number of pockets of interest. One being Google search trends are way up. The Reddit community has grown leaps and bounds of people paying attention to this idea. And we do have a series of pilots that have been set up around the world-- Finland, [INAUDIBLE] in Canada, you have all the way up to Trudeau, talking about what sort of a pilot they're going to run in Canada. So it's an era right now of research and pilots, but I think that will change over the course of the next few years. You know, I wanted to mention one other work trend that I mentioned before we came out of the stage which I think none of us are pa sufficient attention to and that is the United States backing away from the system of mass incarceration. On the left on the right, for all sorts of reasons, there's a growing consensus that we've over-prisoned people. And as a result, the prison population has stabilized in the United States. It's gone down for the last-- state prison population in California-- for the last four years. Some of that's moving people into county jails, but a lot of people are now getting out. There's a lot of discussion about how do people re-enter the labor force? About one quarter of African American males between 25 and 35 are carrying a criminal justice record that makes it difficult for them to re-enter the labor force-- many of them the victims of over-policing and unfair sentencing. And this is a big labor market issue that people are not paying sufficient attention to, but it's really going to define what we need to do in labor markets for the next couple of years. Have you heard a candidate talk about that? No. And yet if you're talking about empowering urban communities, you have to be talking about this issue. Well, you know who did recently talk about it was Travis Kalanick of Uber who had an op-ed in San Francisco Chronicle pointing out that Uber is one of the few places where people who are reentering society are able to find wages and compared and contrast some former felons with drivers without a record and saw no difference in their ratings. And so I do think on issues like this, there is the possibility for kind of a realignment of politics as we've traditionally known them. Can I come back to another of our declared themes for the evening? That's work in the future. Paul, I want to take you on again about this. I understand distinction you made-- a very good one-- between artificial intelligence and intelligence augmented. And it's pretty easy for me, at least, to get my head around how intelligence augmented will improve the performance of chess players, and I suppose surgeons and complicated procedures and whatnot. What's that particular technological frontier going to do for the displaced Uber drivers and all the caregivers and teachers that Manuel was talking about? I didn't say it was going be a smooth road to the future. [LAUGHTER] And we do have an issue. The new jobs that are going to be created are going to require ever more education and you know nothing changes that. But first of all, I would say we see examples of centaur j and centaur tools today, already. Think WAIS. How many people here use WAIS-- W-A-I-S? Right. You're actually working in partnership with the computers. We actually are working in partnership with a supercomputer that you carry on your person. It's called a smartphone. Google Glass-- I mean, I know it's uncool now, but we'll go that way. That's centaur technologies. And I think what those technologies are going to do is create opportunities for new kinds of jobs and positions that just don't exist yet. Make a concrete-- the examples that you've just mentioned. What are the new jobs that are being created? Dude. Like dude. I'd be starting a company if I had the specifics. [LAUGHTER] I mean, there are absolutely-- you know, we're actually in an economy right now, where the scarce thing is no longer consumption, it's experience. And the new jobs, I think, are around people offering and delivering experience. And some of it looks tacky and cheesy, just like TV looked tacky and cheesy in 1952-- that the new jobs will be coming out of experiences. If you look at the immediate new jobs, though, a lot of them are retail sales clerks, care workers, right? A lot of service sector work. And I think alongside universal basic income, we have a fundamental decision to make which is how are we going to reward that work? And how are we going to think that it is high-skill work? Because caring for an elder actually involves skills. Being a good retail service. Worker Walmart just found out that when they raised their wages, you know what happened? Less absenteeism, more productivity, more belonging. Walmart-- who would have thought they'd be a leader for social justice. But what they're finding out is an old efficiency wage theory-- that when you pay people more, they're more committed, they're going to work harder et cetera. We have a fundamental to choice-- and it's a social and political and governmental choice about how are we going to reward that work. Because behind every software programmer is an army of nannies and gardeners and food service workers. And it is no surprise that Austin and Boston and the Silicon Valley of Raleigh, North Carolina have a lot of undocumented immigrant workers who are also part of that high tech economy. How do we marry innovation and inclusion? That's the challenge for the 21st century. And I think related to that is how workers have a voice in that new economy. How will people organize? If it's not the labor unions that built the weekends and eight hour workdays and the 40 hour work weeks that great strife during the dawn of the industrial revolution sort of set the terms of work for the way we work now. Which I think throughout this conversation we're realizing are perhaps outdated for how we work now. If only 11% of American workers are represented in any form by a union, how then will wages go up? And I think that's really one of the key questions. Because when you look historically at the graph, wages stagnated and as unions started to fall. And there's really no industrialized democracy that doesn't have some form of worker voice to kind of counterbalance the capital. So a way to think of it is economies are conversations. A transaction isn't a transaction, a transaction is a conversation. It's a conversation not just between you the clerk you buy something from, it's a conversation that goes all the way back to where the thing was created. Many of us in this room remember times when we-- remember when we used to have money? You know, dollar bills? And sometimes you see something stamped on it. And that someone would stamp, this came from-- you know, Ford. The marvelous opportunity we have here with digital technology. And again, the things you've actually done are good examples towards it. We can create those digital conversations in trails that don't fade, so that when you buy something, you will see and touch the entire chain of creation that led to it. That's how we change things. One possibility there is that the person on the front end of the hard part of the bargain-- making our clothes in some distant place-- now that person gets to see us, the consumer, who purchases at the other end, and realizes the gulf that separates that person from us? And what's wrong with that? It doesn't sound like a stable political arrangement to me. Because there is going to want more. You know, revolutions are not necessarily bad things. Paul, I can't resist asking you what will probably be a last question. It's a little bit off subject, but not entirely, and it goes to your point about scarcity and abundance. I had a conversation in New York a year or two ago with a person who was employed by The New York Times as a futurist. I can't remember the person's name, you might well know him. But in the course of the conversation, he was talking about the marginalization of certain kinds of education, especially the humanities and so on. And he made the point that there is a certain population of people, and you can identify them at a very young age-- around five or six-- who were natural readers they learn to read very quickly, and by a certain age, they've got a very sophisticated reading capacity. And he predicted-- this is becoming increasingly scarce, and therefore, increasingly valuable talent-- and his prediction was, I'm quoting him just about exactly, he said, in 20 years from now, those kinds of readers will be recruited like athletes. Do you think there's a reality to that? It's a provocative idea. [LAUGHTER] There are opinions-- Jaron Lanier would argue that the only useful thing that AIs can do is that their job is to read all this stuff for us so we don't have to read it, and report back occasionally. You know, I would actually say a more important skill is the ability to make connections. And Vannevar Bush, July, August 1945 Atlantic Monthly, wrote a marvelous article. And in the very back, he talked about, did a wonderful forecast that said, the most valued people will be the people who can create the trails and connections between the things. So I'm all for reading, but we've got to talk about that guy. We've got-- One, one. Yeah, please. I was just-- well first, I think you're making the poets in the room very happy about their skill base. And second, I was just reflecting on how much this sounded like the serious tone of the conversation at the three presidential debates. [LAUGHTER] Speaking of which, we've been forecasting decades out for a bit, with some forecasters here in the room, can I invite you to go on record about your prediction-- either Electoral College votes, popular vote in two weeks from now? [INAUDIBLE] She be President. [APPLAUSE] So my-- I think we have a good sense of what's going to happen. The number details will change. My forecast is if you think 2016 was a food fight, just you wait till 2020. Katie bar the door. Or Congress, you know-- early 2017. What happened to all your optimism? Yes, exactly. Who said I'm a pessimist? All right. Please join me in thanking our guests tonight.


Major candidates


  • Jon Herschler



Wyoming's At-large congressional district election, 1992
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Craig L. Thomas (inc.) 113,882 57.81
Democratic Jon Herschler 77,418 39.30
Libertarian Craig Alan McCune 5,677 2.88
Total votes 196,977 100.00
Republican hold


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