Weekend News & Commentary — June 24-25, 2017

Published June 25th, 2017 -  - 06.25.1714


In the wake of CEO Travis Kalanick’s resignation last week, Uber is pleading with its employees to stay on with the company.  According to the Wall Street Journal, some Uber employees are considering leaving the company after the tumultuous last few months; others who are more hopeful that the company can restore its damaged reputation or fearful that they will lose their stock options with the company will choose to stay.  Meanwhile, the Journal reports, some of Uber’s drivers are feeling optimistic about the company in the wake of Kalanick’s departure, especially given the adoption of more driver-friendly policies immediately following his resignation.  The Uber Board met for the first time on Thursday to discuss the search for Kalanick’s replacement.

New York Mayor Bill De Blasio and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray introduced a resolution at the Conference of US Mayors on Friday in support of airline workers.  The resolution “urges all airlines to hire responsible union contractors and ensure that contracted airport workers are paid a living wage with benefits and the freedom to form a union.”  The resolution further urges Cities to become involved as advocates for “airports to be engines of prosperity that provide family-sustaining jobs and boost the economy in our communities.”

An op-ed published in the New York Times yesterday envisions a future in which Artificial Intelligence brings about a “wide-scale decimation of jobs” with no ready replacement and, as a consequence an enormous concentration of wealth for those who are able to capitalize on the technology.  According to Kai-Fu Lee, the article’s author, the challenges are imminent.  Such a development will necessitate a social welfare system which adopts substantial wealth transfer policies—ideally, Lee argues, in the form of a universal basic income.

A recent report from Sweden’s Institute for Evaluation of Labor Market and Education Policy shows that employers systematically filter out older job applicants—even applicants as young as forty.  To perform the study, researchers sent out 6,000 fictitious job applications to employers who posted job openings.   Researchers found that the chances of a fictitious employee being contacted began to decrease as the employee reaches forty years old, and almost no one close to retirement age was contacted.

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