Next week, our two policy programs – the Financial Security Program (FSP) and the Economic Opportunities Program (EOP) – will join forces to jumpstart a national conversation on the intertwined challenges of work and wealth. The Aspen Institute Economic Security Summit: Reconnecting Work & Wealth will probe how labor and financial markets – the respective foci of our two policy programs – intersect, and how big, recent changes in both have left families more economically vulnerable.
Many economic thinkers have long recognized that the challenges of work and wealth are intertwined. To succeed in today’s economy, Americans need a safe, high-quality job that delivers a regular and predictable income and a reasonable suite of benefits, as well as access to financial tools that facilitate investment, savings, and ownership.
But the link between work and wealth – once thought to be an inevitable transmission – has frayed in recent years.
Across America, the middle class is shrinking. Traditional pathways to financial stability, such as education, homeownership, good jobs, and retirement savings, are blocked by student debt, foreclosures, and dramatic changes in the way we work.
And when workers struggle at work, there are also repercussions for business, including the high but often hidden costs associated with low engagement and high turnover. Further, companies increasingly wonder where growth in demand for their products and services will come from in an era of stagnant incomes.
In short, this economic moment presents challenges for workers, businesses, families, and communities. We see the result of this financial insecurity in the volatile — and, at times, ugly — politics of this election year.
Given the intersectionality of these immense challenges, leaders can no longer be content to focus on partial solutions or explore ideas in siloed discussions. In response, FSP and EOP have crafted a cross-sector, inter-disciplinary dialogue to help business executives, government officials, research scholars, advocates, community leaders, and national journalists grapple together with the multiple dimensions of Americans’ economic and financial insecurity.
The Summit promises to be a unique and important dialogue between an accomplished and diverse group of leaders, so we invite you to visit our website for more information on attendees and discussion topics.
Additionally, the Summit’s opening panel, “Economic Insecurity, American Values, and the Politics of Resentment in the 2016 Election,” will be streamed live. To hear former Congressman Mickey Edwards, pollster Stan Greenberg, Yale researcher Jacob Hacker, Demos president Heather McGhee, and bestselling author J.D. Vance discuss the election the night before the final presidential debate, be sure to register for the livestream here and tune in on Tuesday, October 18, at 6:00 PM MT/8:00 PM ET.
Finally, we encourage you to engage with the content that will emerge from the Summit – including editorials, video interviews, and reports – by following FSP and EOP on Twitter (@Aspen_FSP, @AspenWorkforce, @AspenMicro, #ESS2016).