A primary source of the growing uncertainty and malaise among Americans is lack of gainful employment sufficient for a decent standard of living and access to health insurance. These two concerns are primary drivers of bankruptcy, depression, addiction, opioid abuse and suicide.
Are these fundamental needs the job of government and policy makers or the private sector? Is a government solution required? Is a single payer system and guaranteed minimum universal income the best way forward? Many think so.
We think not. Socialism has never worked as advertised and has destroyed the lives of millions of people. And countries. Most recently Venezuela.
Can the private sector come up with better solutions? We think so.
Technology (robots and AI) can advance the human experience, but it can also be destructive if it results in a loss of gainful employment. If people are not reskilled and educated to new roles in the technology economy, displacement can be devastating.
What is needed is a shift in the paradigms. In healthcare: From sickness to prevention and wellness. In Education: From traditional “bricks and mortar” education to lifelong learning and reskilling.
The Role of the Corporation in Jobs and Healthcare.
A corporation’s fundamental contribution to society is to provide jobs and opportunities for people to advance to generate profits, create value stimulate the economy. If people advance, society advances.
But stagnant wages and income disparity are stress in this relationship and causing the public to question the role of the corporation. Displacement of workers by machines will add further stress. The failure to reskill the workforce will cause social strife. Unemployable people become depressed and a general drain on society.
Another critical contribution of corporations to employees is health insurance. And it is a major cost. It is now the largest expense for corporations. In the US it consumes 18% of GDP vs. 8% in other western societies.
And now healthcare is back front and center as policy makers debate Obamacare, pre-existing conditions, single payer systems and Medicare for all. Healthcare consumes vast resources and is source of friction and further the divide in the US.
Any idea brought by the other side is typically “dead on arrival” as the desire to regain/maintain control trumps collaborative policy making. Thus, the solutions to these complex and interrelated challenges must come from outside of Washington. The private sector can provide the best solutions. We hope that you take the time to engage in this discussion to help develop those ideas.
Copyright 2019 Altru Institute.