Daily Clips: May 21st, 2015

Why history suggests that today’s wage stagnation is temporary
Vox – Timothy B. Lee

One does not have to venture far to find dire, dystopian predictions about how automation is going to destroy more and more jobs. James Bessen, a man who studies the economics of innovation and technology, argues against this prevailing narrative in his new book, where he highlights how it is, in fact, not surprising to find stagnant wages in a time when there has been a disruptive technological breakthrough (like the Internet).

So when will wages start to rise again for average workers in America?

Bessen’s theory suggests that it depends on how long it takes for new technologies — like online publishing and supply-chain management — to mature and standardize. Once that happens, it will become easier for ordinary workers to gain skills, for schools to teach them, and for workers to earn a living from them over long periods.

Ultimately, education is the common denominator for success after technology has ‘matured’ and ‘standardized’. In order to prepare our population for the effect of new technologies we need to ensure our citizens have the proper access to skills and knowledge which enable them to economically thrive in a 21st century economy.

Inequality in America is worse than you think: As the Washington Post reports, the wealthiest 10 percent of U.S. households have captured a whopping 76 percent of all the wealth in America. And that number is substantially higher than in other wealthy countries, as the chart below shows.

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21,000 gallons of oil spills off of Santa Barbara coast: The oil slick spread four miles across the California coast, putting greater scrutiny on the already contentious Shell Oil drill rig, Polar Pioneer, which has stopped in Seattle as it makes its way up to the Arctic.

Critics were completely wrong about the minimum wage: Danny Vinik from the New Republic admits that he was wrong in dismissing the Fight for $15 movement. He was wrong for two reasons, he says: 1) He “ignored the movement’s ability to influence policymakers at the state and local levels” and 2) the economy has improved since he last wrote his dismissive article in 2013.

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Nick Cassella
Nick Cassella graduated from the University of St Andrews in Scotland in 2014. After graduating, he worked on the Initiative 594 campaign before joining Civic Ventures, where he now manages Civic Skunk Works' social media presence.