By Alan Murray and John Kell
May 26, 2017

Good morning.

It’s commencement season, and leaders of various stripes are trotting out their idealism to fresh-faced graduates. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, a Harvard dropout, yesterday suggested in his Harvard commencement address that the U.S. should explore a “universal basic income” as part of a new social contract.

The universal basic income—which would give a stipend of, say, $1,000 a month to every adult—has become something of a thing in Silicon Valley these days, with Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Y Combinator head Sam Altman, among others, offering it as a way to address the elimination of jobs by technology. It came up several times in our discussions at the Fortune Global Forum in Rome last December. But interestingly, it was Pope Francis’ emissary to the conference, Cardinal Peter Turkson, who turned attention back to the fundamental importance of work. In an interview with Charlie Rose, the cardinal said we need to “recognize what work does to the human person.” It’s an “opportunity for one to exercise his own creativity, put to work his own talent, and his God-endowed riches. That’s probably also the only way that any human person, created in the image of God, resembles God, in producing things out of his own creativity and endowment.” You can watch the interview here.

While Silicon Valley often takes the long view, more sober experts say it’s premature to worry about the elimination of work by technology. But it’s not at all premature to worry about the inadequacy of our current efforts to educate and train people whose jobs are in danger of elimination for new jobs that are being created. In Chicago earlier this week at the Great Place to Work conference, I spoke with AT&T Chairman Randall Stephenson about the enormous effort his company has made to reeducate thousands of employees to handle software-defined networking, which you can read about here. That’s the kind of effort that needs to replicated many times over, and is a better focus for the idealism of today’s graduates.

Have a great weekend. More news below.

Alan Murray


You May Like