In a matter of weeks, Covid-19 spurred seismic shifts in how we work, learn and transact, and it helped usher in a new era that is smarter and fairer.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/randalllan ... 74e73b71c1
"Capitalism, the greatest engine for prosperity and innovation ever created, was already under strain before the coronavirus pandemic. Despite a decade of impressive economic growth and job creation, a plurality of Americans still reported feeling as though the system was rigged, that hard work and playing by the rules no longer ensured success. “It is scary when you had the lowest unemployment, the lowest African American unemployment, the lowest Hispanic unemployment, the lowest women’s unemployment,” says Michael Milken, who has sat in the middle of several of these cycles, “and that’s how people felt.”
Those feelings have only accelerated this spring, particularly among the young. At the end of February, during the last week of the pre-Covid era, Forbes surveyed 1,000 American adults under age 30 about capitalism and socialism. Half approved of the former; 43% regarded the latter positively. Ten weeks, 80,000 deaths and 20 million unemployment claims later, we repeated the exercise, and those already dismal results had flipped: 47% now approve of socialism, 46% of capitalism. You can see those changing sentiments playing out in public, as ideas such as universal basic income, rent amnesties and job guarantees move rapidly from the fringe to the mainstream.
Amid the chaos and the disorienting paradigm shifts, though, something profound is also happening: The Invisible Hand is operating on itself with dispatch.
As one of the patron saints of capitalism, Joseph Schumpeter, could tell you, the creation of a new system requires the destruction of the old. So count Milton Friedman’s legacy as another coronavirus casualty. It was already on life support; even the fusty Business Roundtable declared last summer that Friedman’s shareholder-first dogma no longer held sway over its members. The funeral rites can now be witnessed at any grocery store or aboard any UPS truck, where the low-paid heroes previously termed “unskilled workers” are now known, with respect, as essential. Pity the CEO who argues for paying them as little as possible in order to protect the quarterly dividend."
"Not every barrier has an altruistic billionaire willing to ram through it, though, which helps explain why so many, especially Millennials and those in Gen Z, have soured on capitalism’s 21st-century variant. If the current system doesn’t offer them equal opportunity to succeed, promises of more equal outcomes will carry the day. For younger generations to experience America as the land of opportunity, the root inequalities need to be ripped out—now.
That starts with the education system. Getting into college once offered a ticket out, a near-sure path to the upper middle class. Compare today’s debt-laden and rightfully cynical college graduates with the returning heroes of the Greatest Generation, America’s most upwardly mobile, largely courtesy of the G.I. Bill. Service-for-college proposals suddenly abound anew, most notably in Michigan, where Governor Gretchen Whitmer has put forward a “Futures for Front-Liners” initiative that will provide a tuition-free path to a college degree or technical certificate for those who performed essential services during the pandemic.
Even without government intervention, the Invisible Hand is doing its own work. For this entire century, colleges, serving a customer base that could tap endless wells of guaranteed loans, had little incentive to mind costs. With virtual education immediately made universal, the genie is out of the bottle. “A lot of issues can be changed here,” Milken observes. “Do you really need $50,000 a year to get a quality experience?”"