Open Letter on the Digital Economy

Source: Open Letter on the Digital Economy website, Jun 2015

… will robots eat our jobs?

We think this is the wrong question, because it assumes that we are powerless to alter or shape the effects of technological change on labor.

We reject this idea.

Instead, we believe that there’s a great deal we can do to improve prospects for everyone.  We propose a three-pronged effort.

First, we recommend a set of basic public policy changes in the areas of education, infrastructure, entrepreneurship, trade, immigration,  and research. There’s a strong consensus that these can quickly improve America’s economy and the wellbeing of its workforce. It’s also time to start a conversation about the deeper changes that will be necessary over the longer term — to our tax and transfer system, to the nature and extent of our public investment, and even to how democracy can and should function in a networked world.

Second, we call on business leaders to develop new organizational models and approaches that not only enhance productivity and generate wealth but also create broad-based opportunity. The goal should be inclusive prosperity. The corporation is itself a powerful innovation, and one that can do far more than just generate profits and provide a competitive return to those who supply capital and take risk. It is both a tool for transforming ideas into products and services that address society’s challenges, and the means by which many people earn their living. Along with current waves of innovation in technology we also have an opportunity to re-invent the corporation and our business systems.

Third, we recognize that we don’t have all the answers. So we call for more and better research on the economic and social implications of the digital revolution and increased efforts to develop long-term solutions that go beyond current thinking.

Related Resource: Policy Recommendations, Jun 2015

Education. … We need to shift away from rote learning and build instead on our uniquely human strengths in areas like creativity and interpersonal interactions.





Basic research. … The government has a role to play in supporting basic, early-stage work where the rewards are spread more broadly.

… faster growth will surely help workers both immediately and in the long run, and that there is a set of policy changes that will surely help boost growth.  Putting them in place should be our country’s highest economic priority.


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