In his 2018 book, Andrew Yang predicted the current wave of uprisings going back to last summer. I agree with him that the degradation of American society comes mainly from economic stagnation. A thriving economy boosted by the manufacturing sector once lifted all boats. Americans trusted each other more when leaders in the government and the private sector took ownership of America, Inc, instead of enriching themselves and pursuing special interests.
America needs significant job creation through entrepreneurship in smaller cities and rural areas. During these daunting times, the middle class and lower-income communities suffer disproportionately from the pandemic and economic shutdowns. Entrepreneurship has become a rich techie’s game in a handful of mega-metros. Yang highlights his Venture for America efforts in cities like Detroit and Cleveland, where there is a real hunger to attract entrepreneurs who’ll build large companies and replace the industries of yesteryear.
Yang also makes the seminal case for universal basic income (UBI). The lack of meaningful, sustainable work for those without a college degree means there is no safety net. Many jobs are going away forever because of advancements in technology. UBI fills the gap and gives the most vulnerable opportunities to re-skill, put food on the table, pay rent, and raise kids. When the working class lacks jobs, they face social disarray: from family dissolution to drug addiction to debilitating health problems. It also makes people intolerant of others and do crazy things like crime and violent protests. UBI prevents further devastation of America’s working class.
Despite being a capitalist, Andrew Yang presses for private sector accountability. Industries invest the bare minimum in human capital for the long term while automating away thousands of jobs. Adequate government incentives would help ever-powerful companies help “normal people.” When the pandemic ends, I hope America doesn’t continue to splinter due to the lack of public and private sector accountability.
Joe Biden’s administration should fastidiously read this book and adopt Andrew Yang’s ideas such as UBI: Link