Is Technology Erasing the Middle Class?

February 14, 2013  • Peter Thomas Keefer

Power Curve ReportThe latest report from the Aspen Institute’s Roundtable on Information Technology takes a broad look at how the speed of innovation is outpacing many social and institutional capabilities. Last August, we gathered bright and diverse minds from the fields of economics, technology, innovation and education to address whether we were shifting to a “Power-Curve Society,” where prosperity no longer distributes itself across a traditional middle class (in a bell-curve distribution), but instead congregates at the top in a winner-take-all fashion. The result was a fascinating three-day discussion that explored the future of productivity and confronted the social and economic implications of a technologically-accelerated global economy that seems to rely less and less on human workers.

The discussion also explored cutting-edge new platforms for how individuals can harvest value from their personal data, and it questioned contemporary measurements of equality, well-being, and value in the digital age. Participants such as MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito, CEO Michael Fertik, MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, MIT’s Andrew McAfee, Samasource CEO Leila Janah and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski presented new insights and recommendations on how to rethink entrenched notions of jobs, learning, skills, entrepreneurship and public policy to better prepare everyone for the future.

Read “Power-Curve Society: The Future of Innovation, Opportunity and Social Equity in the Emerging Networked Economy” at