|Source:WBUR- with a look at Democratic economist Gene Sperling's book.|
"Too often, he found that our economic debate confused ends and means; that we measured economic success by metrics like GDP instead of whether the economy was succeeding in lifting up the sense of meaning, purpose, fulfillment, and security of people. Too often, he found debates framed by old divisions or pro-market ideology that increasingly failed to capture whether economic policy was fostering exploitation, economic insecurity, and disillusionment that were too often invisible within our current framework. Now more than ever, at a moment when the very capacity of modern capitalism to avoid accelerating inequality, a hollowed-out middle class, and structural poverty is being questioned, we need to step back and reflect on our ultimate goals.
Economic Dignity is Sperling's effort to do just that - to frame our thinking about the way forward in a time of wrenching economic change. His argument combines moral and intellectual seriousness with actual high-level policy experience. Economic dignity, Sperling maintains, can be seen as resting on three pillars. The first: the capacity to care for family without economic deprivation denying people the capacity to experience its greatest joys - the birth of one's children, the companionship of a loving partner, the love of family and friends, the fulfillment that comes from providing. The second: the right to the pursuit of potential and purpose, including the right to first and second chances - the right to a life of active striving. The third: economic participation with respect and without domination and humiliation. All three pillars are rooted in the highest and most noble values of the American project. But getting there is the rub, and in Economic Dignity, Sperling offers paths that policymakers and citizens can follow for years to come. As he puts it, if you live in times when major steps forward are needed, it is important to be clear on your destination - or at least to know the North Star that is guiding you. His answer, in two words, is economic dignity."
From Good Reads
"In the realm of economic policy, dignity is often invoked with power and eloquence to refer to a higher, more spiritual impact on individual integrity and self-worth beyond dollars and cents—especially related to work, retirement, and civil rights. Labor leaders from Mother Jones to Cesar Chavez, and civil rights icons like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bayard Rustin, made clear that beyond the higher wages or better benefits that came with unionization or new civil rights laws was the sense of dignity won through those gains. A person’s race, gender, or lack of labor market power could no longer be used to deny her the basic respect, autonomy, and agency she should possess by virtue of her effort and humanity. From Franklin Roosevelt’s creation of Social Security in the 1930s, to Ai-jen Poo’s advocacy for a revolution of care more than 80 years later, as the head of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the notion of a “dignified retirement” has been invoked by countless political leaders. Former Vice President Joe Biden has, for decades, talked eloquently about the idea that a job is never about just a paycheck, but “your dignity,” while Senator Sherrod Brown frames many of his policies as promoting the “dignity of work”—as do job guarantee advocates like professor Darrick Hamilton. I identified “economic dignity” in 2005 in my book The Pro-Growth Progressive as the first of three progressive values by which we should guide and judge economic success."
|Source:Democracy Journal- "Construction workers march toward the Washington, DC Metro headquarters, Nov. 11, 1974... From The Democracy Journal.|
"From one of our wisest and most influential economic thinkers--the only person to serve as Director of the National Economic Council under two Presidents--comes a profound big-picture vision of why the promotion of dignity should be the singular end goal by which we chart America's economic future.In Economic Dignity, Gene Sperling frames our thinking about the way forward in a time of wrenching economic change. His argument combines moral and intellectual seriousness with actual high-level policy experience. As Sperling himself puts it, if you live in times when major steps forward are needed, it is important to be clear on your destination, or at least to know the North Star that is guiding you. His answer, in two words, is economic dignity.
Sperling is in conversation with Ambassador Samantha Power, the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and the William D. Zabel '61 Professor of Practice in Human Rights at Harvard Law School. Power served as the 28th U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, as well as a member of President Obama's cabinet."
|Source:Politics & Prose- Samantha Power interviewing Democratic economist Gene Sperling, for Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington.|
From Politics & Prose
I already laid out what Democratic economist Gene Sperling is talking about as far as the issues that he wrote about and the issues that he sees with Americans workers and the issues that he wants to address. That our economy shouldn't just be about creating as many jobs as possible and having as many workers as possible, with Americans who are working, but it should also be about the dignity that comes with those jobs. Are American workers able to pay their bills and put money away for themselves and their families. He's really talking about economic security, not just employment. Are American workers not just working, but are they economically secure or not.
But what I'm really interested in here are Gene Sperling's proposed solutions to the issues that he sees American workers having to deal with. And what I get from his book is that Economist Sperling is essentially talking about a 21st Century safety net or social contract in America, with a higher minimum wage and making it easier for American workers to organize in America, but an expansion of government, economic, benefits as well.