Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Technology, the Economy, and Capitalism

Capitalism is increasingly under pressure as widening income inequality, declining mobility, and fiscal unsustainability are giving rise to questions about our economic system. At the same time, new technology business models, along with big data and artificial intelligence, are creating conditions that will challenge capitalism further. The future of our economy will be greatly affected by these shifts, along with other ongoing changes due to globalization and an aging population.

This program is connected to our FixUS project, which is examining the root causes of the divisions, dysfunction, and distrust that are plaguing the country, and has a number of projects. They include two Capitol Hill Speakers Dinner Series which explore these issues with lawmakers and Capitol Hill staff, and a series of conferences and convenings that bring together experts from a variety of fields to explore these issues in a cross-disciplinary environment. 

Articles:

Maya MacGuineas: Capitalism’s Addiction Problem

An entire generation is losing faith in American capitalism. Widening inequality and declining mobility have led to an erosion of trust in the system. In a 2018 Gallup survey, only 45 percent of young adults said they supported capitalism. Fifty-one percent supported socialism.

These numbers are stark, and so are the failures that underlie them, but history suggests that the failures can be addressed. Inequality has been high before, and American society found ways to reduce it; opportunity, too, can be widened by smart public choices. Fixing the system will not be easy, but we have the tools we need, if we can find the political will to use them.