Signing off from the AMA now. Thanks for the questions, they were great! Don't miss Fixing the Future, now avail digitally "On Demand."

The economy apparently created more jobs than expected last month, but real wages have been stagnant for decades. Who has a better idea to fix the economy? After it's release in theaters, our documentary film "Fixing the Future" is just now coming to iTunes, Amazon streaming, cable TV video on demand, etc. Instead of looking for new ideas for the economy on Wall Street or in Washington, I go to Main Streets across America. I find some great people and some cool ideas. Time Banking was a hit with audiences. Coops are more pervasive than you think. Local Living Economies are fascinating. I wanted to know if these can add up to real, structural change.

Comments: 162 • Responses: 10  • Date: 

EdrawdSnowden17 karma

How importnat are Bitcoins for the future economy?

dbrancaccio1-1 karma

In the film we look at local currencies, such as Baltimore B-notes. Bitcoin is anything but local, but fascinating. The thing is, financial regulators are now swooping in to scrutinize Bitcoin. We'll see if they can survive. Thanks for the question.

Salacious-15 karma

What new occupations do you think will be created that don't exist at all today?

dbrancaccio114 karma

I did a series for radio called "Robots Ate My Job," in which credible economists worry that technology is taking jobs formally done by college graduates. Many jobs, even fancy, high-level ones, that have a rote, repetitive component, can be done by technology instead. I'd want to be creating the technology for a living.

Pesqueeb12 karma

Hi David, First, love Market Place Morning, and thanks for doing this AMA.

What do you think the root causes of income inequality are, should it be fixed, and can it be fixed?

dbrancaccio113 karma

Thanks for listening. As you know we focus a lot on these issues of income inequality on our show. Globalization has been a large factor. The decline of labor unions is another. There's been some fascinating work documenting how risk in recent decades has shifted from private sector businesses and government onto working families. If you have the time, check out our Fixing the Future doc. It explores many different ways to think about issues such as inequality by strengthening local economies.

cwlynd6 karma

Are you aware of the work of Mark Jacobson at Stanford? He reports that NY State can offer 100% renewable energy using only Wind, Water, and Solar power sources by 2030. He is working with colleagues now in California and plans to analyze the potential for renewable energy in all 50 states.

dbrancaccio17 karma

Fascinating, as Spock would say. There is also some compelling thinking about all the jobs that would be created if we simply worked to insure that every building in big cities such as New York were made more efficient using using basic, as opposed to exotic upgrades.

thedawnrazor3 karma

How much do you think the exodus of young people from small towns has hurt the health of local economies? These days there doesn't seem to be much incentive for young people to live in small, especially rural, towns.

dbrancaccio19 karma

It's a huge issue. I myself left Central Maine, a state that has traditionally suffered terrible "brain drains" (not that my brain was worth much to the state...!) A cultural shift may be in order. If young people go off to "seek their fortune" and define fortune as a high salary, people leave. If young people learn to appreciate the social capital that can be found in local community, they might be more inclined to stick around. But the economy in local communities needs to be nurtured so there are jobs. As our documentary demonstrates in places like Cleveland and Baltimore.

Marc41201 karma

Would you be in support of a MASSIVE return of manufacturing jobs to the US from overseas if it meant having to lower wages slightly? Theoretical question.

dbrancaccio15 karma

Well, we already have lower wages in the US. That's been the trend for several decades. Can we match cheaper labor in emerging markets? No. But we have a cool example of a biz in Washington state that that thought it could save money by sending work to lower wage Asia. But the CEO decided to acquire some new tech that allowed his firm to manufacture industrial pizza ovens here in the US. He did this because he realized that keep jobs local had an added advantage: it helped the town (Bellingham, WA) thrive. And the CEO lives in that town.

hidden3d1 karma

  1. In your opinion, could labor regulations help to improve local and then global economy? I mean things like minimum wage, mandatory paid vacations and maximum weekly work time...

  2. Can you see hidden 3D objects in Magic Eye pictures?

dbrancaccio13 karma

There some very interesting thinking about what policy needs to change to help local economies. When you get a chance, take a look at the Bank of North Dakota, what some see as a kind of mini-Federal Reserve that helps channel capital to local entrepreneurs (among other things) instead of routing the money to any old place. Other states are looking at that model. As for question 2: Yes, I can see 3D objects in magic eye pictures, by I am slow. My son is a 3D genius (he does 3D for a living) and is radically faster!

GallbladderGone1 karma

What are your thoughts on Peak Oil?

dbrancaccio17 karma

I don't know when it runs out but shale oil and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) have changed the medium term conversation. I'll be watching to see how much this country continues to invest in clear alternatives as we move forward.

kpatlong1 karma

Will technology add or cut jobs in the long-term?

dbrancaccio10 karma

In the long run, I have to believe it creates jobs, the good ones. Just visit an engineering school such as Carnegie Mellon. The students in the robotics lab are not lying awake at night worrying about employment (or so they told me.) However, experts tell me that technology is moving ahead much faster now and it is a period of great disruption that will cost jobs. Remember the industrial revolution: it destroyed something like 98 percent of agricultural jobs. The question is, net, is it a creator? And what policies do we need to be a part of the it?

clairebant0 karma

I've watched the documentary and loved it. But I'm wondering, has there been any progress or new ideas since the documentary?

dbrancaccio11 karma

It turns out we were documenting what many see as a national movement. Ideas such as the ones we follow in the film are happening across the country. Perhaps the movement needs a name for it, the way the environmental movement grabbed the "Green" moniker. Does this mean that Wall Street is going away or that elected officials in Washington DC have suddenly cast aside their penchant for gridlock? You be the judge. But I am seeing enduring cases of a parallel economy growing along side the traditional economy.