Student To Pelosi: Young People Do Not Believe In Capitalism, Can We Fight Against “Right-Wing Economics?”
TREVOR HILL, NYU STUDENT: I was originally slated to give a pretty soft question, but given the dire circumstances – I’m so sorry Mr. [Jake] Tapper – given the dire circumstances our country is in, I wonder if you’d indulge me in a little bit more of a serious question about the future of the Democratic Party. What I’ve seen on NYU’s campus and what I’ve seen in polls all over – I mean, CNN even, a Harvard University poll last May showed that people between the ages of 18 and 29, not just Democrats, not just leftists, 51 percent of people between 18 and 29 no longer support the system of capitalism. Now, that’s not me asking you to make a radical statement about capitalism, but I’m just telling you that my experience is that the younger generation is moving left on economic issues and I’ve been so excited to see how Democrats have moved left on social issues. We do think that capitalism is not necessarily meeting the needs with the income inequality that we have in our country. About 40 years ago, a little bit more now, no less a person in terms of capitalism than the chairman of the Standard Oil of New Jersey said – he talked about stakeholder capitalism, capitalism that said when we make decisions as managements and CEOs of the country, we take into consideration our shareholders, our management, our workers, our customers, and the community at large.
Around 20 years ago, it started to turn into – maybe 15, 20 years ago, it started to turn into shareholder capitalism, where we’re strictly talking about the quarterly report. So a CEO would make much more money by keeping pay low, even though productivity is rising, the worker is not getting any more pay, and the CEO is getting a big pay because he’s kept costs lows by depriving workers of their share of the productivity that they created. Disparity between the CEO and the worker in the shareholder capitalism is more like 350 to 400 to 1. The more money you put in the pocket of the worker for the productivity he or she has produced, the more money they will spend, consume with confidence, inject into the economy and grow the economy. So what you talked about and what you’ve talked about, the same thing, the stagnation of wages and the financial instability that families are feeling, tied with seeing priorities that are not necessarily ones that they have as – well, they care about it, but it’s not a job and being able to have a home and send your children to school and have a dignified retirement, or what we want for all Americans, and capitalism should serve that purpose.
It’s a safety net for capitalism, because they can go through their cycles, and when they don’t need as many employees, they – we have unemployment insurance or all kinds of benefits as a safety net that enable them to go through cycles. I don’t think we have to change from capitalism.
In the ultimately his carpenter’s past two decades, he’s training proved useful. Helped restore sight to One day in epidemiology hundreds of thousands of class, Green heard a lecture individuals in countries by SPH alumnus Larry like India, Nepal, Egypt, Brilliant, chair of the Seva Tibet, El Salvador, TanFoundation, a nonprofit organzania, and Kenya, and he’s ization dedicated to finding now working to restore hearskillful means of relieving David Green ing to similar numbers of peosuffering worldwide. Next on the agenda, Green hopes promptly volunteered for the foundation to find new ways to make antiretroviral and after graduation joined its staff. Dugs available to AIDS patients-espeThrough Seva, he became involved in cially children-who can’t otherwise global efforts to make cataract surgery afford treatment. Available at low cost to patients in India Green, who lives in Berkeley, Caliand Nepal.
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH Thanks in part to his carpentry skills, Green figured out how to lower the cost of manufacturing the lenses so that Seva could help establish Aurolab, a nonprofit manufacturer of medical products in India. Aurolab produces products such as intraocular lenses and pharmaceuticals at prices that are affordable to the economies of developing countries-without infringing on intellectual property rights. Aurolab’s customers, who are for the most part programs serving the poor, are then able to offer medical products at graduated prices to people in need. The poorest recipients pay nothing, those who can afford the products pay part of the cost, and the rich pay well above cost. Through his own nonprofit, the Berkeley-based Project Impact, which he founded in 2000, Green has used the same formula to make high-tech hearing aids available at low cost to people throughout the world.
Project Impact is dedicated to making medical technology and health care services accessible to everyone, especially to those living mostly in developing countries. More importantly the award will allow Green to further his efforts to improve lives around the world.