Employment and Jobs

The Guarantee: Inside the Fight for America’s Next Economy

Event information

The myth that hard work pays off in the US, and always leads to a better and more economically prosperous life, has come unraveled in recent years. Many jobs simply do not pay enough for workers to meet their basic needs, much less do things such as save for retirement, fund their kids’ education, or allow for leisure. In her first book, The Guarantee: Inside the Fight for America’s Next Economy,” Natalie Foster asks us to imagine a new economic framework that casts aside the failures of the trickle-down approach to embrace one that builds economic security and well-being from the bottom up. Foster — co-founder of the Economic Security Project, a leading voice for guaranteed income, and senior fellow at the Aspen Institute’s Future of Work Initiative — explores a bold vision in which housing, health care, higher education, dignified work, family care, and an opportunity to build generational wealth are guaranteed for all by our government. 

Through real-life experiences, collaborations with prominent activists and thinkers, compelling narratives, and analysis, Foster forces us to dream big and ask tough questions about why we provide so many government-backed guarantees and supports to the private sector, but very little to the people. Join us on May 15, 2024, at 2 p.m. EDT for an insightful book talk with Natalie as she discusses what a New Deal could look like for the 21st Century. Dr. Manuel Pastor, distinguished professor of sociology and American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California, will provide opening remarks.

Opening Remarks
Dr. Manuel Pastor

Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity,
University of Southern California

Dr. Manuel Pastor is a distinguished professor of sociology and American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California (USC). He currently directs the Equity Research Institute at USC. Pastor holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is the inaugural holder of the Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change at USC.

Pastor’s research has generally focused on issues of the economic, environmental, and social conditions facing low-income urban communities and the social movements seeking to change those realities.

Natalie Foster

Co-founder of the Economic Security Project.
Senior fellow, The Aspen Institute

Natalie Foster is a leading architect of the movement to build an inclusive and resilient economy that works for all. President and co-founder of Economic Security Project and Aspen Institute Fellow, her work and writing has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, TIME, Business Insider, CNN, and The Guardian. Natalie speaks regularly on economic security, the future of work, and the new political economy. An unstoppable builder, Natalie previously founded the sharing economy community Peers, co-founded Rebuild the Dream with Van Jones, and served as digital director for President Obama’s Organizing for America, a leading partner in winning transformative health care reform. A daughter of a preacher from Kansas, Natalie draws on the values of community, dignity, and optimism to build a better America. She lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and two kids. “The Guarantee” is her first book.

Maureen ConwayMaureen Conway (Moderator)

Executive Director of the Economic Opportunities Program.
A Vice President of  the Aspen Institute

Maureen Conway serves as executive director of the Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program (EOP). EOP works to expand individuals’ opportunities to connect to quality work, start businesses, and build economic stability that provides the freedom to pursue opportunity. Maureen founded EOP’s Workforce Strategies Initiative and has headed up workforce research at the Aspen Institute since 1999. Maureen also curates a public discussion series at the Aspen Institute, Opportunity in America, which brings together voices from business, labor, policy, human services, media, academia, and others to discuss the challenges experienced by many in today’s labor markets and new ideas for addressing these challenges. In addition, Maureen oversees EOP’s leadership development programs, which connect innovators, both within communities and from across the country, to peers working to help low- and moderate-income Americans access opportunity.

Maureen is the author of numerous publications including research reports, case studies, and policy briefs, including co-editing, together with Robert P. Giloth, the book Connecting People to Work: Workforce Intermediaries and Sector Strategies, a collection that brings perspectives from philanthropy, policy, research, and practice together. A featured speaker at national and regional conferences, she is a nationally recognized expert in workforce issues and has been quoted in a variety of news media including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and National Public Radio and her writing has appeared in Fast Company, Politico, Quartz, CNN.com, and other outlets.

Opportunity in America

Opportunity in America, an event series hosted by the Economic Opportunities Program, considers the changing landscape of economic opportunity in the US and implications for individuals, families, and communities across the country. The series highlights the ways in which issues of race, gender, and place exacerbate our economic divides, and ideas and innovations with potential to address these challenges and broaden access to quality opportunity.

Learn More

The Economic Opportunities Program advances strategies, policies, and ideas to help low- and moderate-income people thrive in a changing economy. Follow us on social media and join our mailing list to stay up-to-date on publications, blog posts, events, and other announcements.