We must look ahead. Not just to next week, but out of the next 25 years. Here are some ideas from The Next American Economy Center (NAEC).
In 2040, the American economy will be scarcely recognizable. Firms will get smaller and more specialized and many jobs will be automated, while new, more flexible, and less secure work options take their place. More and more, Americans will no longer live under the auspices of stable long-term employment, and will find themselves responsible for managing exigencies, like health insurance and retirement planning, that were once handled by employers. Some observers have seen signs of these looming changes and taken them to mean that American society is headed for ever-rising inequality and general economic disaster. Although challenges do indeed abound, we at the Next American Economy project feel this conclusion is premature.
Pessimistic predictions are understandable given the scale of the developing changes to our economy and the fraying of our New Deal-era social contract, but a pessimistic vision need not become reality. To be sure, growing pains will be significant as American government, business, and society catch up to rapid technological and economic advancement, but a bad economy is far from inevitable.
In this thought brief the NAEC maps out 10 economic surprises that could confound current expectations and lead us to the next Good Economy, as well as some potential pitfalls.