Robert McChesney (’86, ’89) to speak about technology, economy, and democracy

Robert McChesney, professor, speech communication.

Robert McChesney, professor, speech communication.

Communication alumnus and Alumni Hall of Fame member Robert McChesney (M.A., 1986; Ph.D. 1989) will be back at his alma mater to deliver a talk on March 8.

WHEN: Tuesday, March 8 at 3:30 p.m.

SYNOPSIS: Technology, Economy, and Democracy in the Coming Crisis

The consequences of the technological revolution are about to hit hard: unemployment will spike as new technologies replace labor in the manufacturing, service, and professional sectors of an economy that is already struggling. The end of work as we know it will hit at the worst moment imaginable: as capitalism fosters permanent stagnation, when the labor market is in decrepit shape, with declining wages, expanding poverty, and scorching inequality. Only the dramatic democratization of our economy can address the existential challenges we now face. Yet the US political process is so dominated by billionaires and corporate special interests, by corruption and monopoly, that it stymies not just democracy but progress.

The great challenge of these times is to ensure that the tremendous benefits of technological progress are employed to serve the whole of humanity, rather than to enrich the wealthy few. The United States needs a new economy in which revolutionary technologies are applied to effectively address environmental and social problems and used to rejuvenate and extend democratic institutions. Based on intense reporting, rich historical analysis, and deep understanding of the technological and social changes that are unfolding, they propose a bold strategy for democratizing our digital destiny—before it’s too late—and unleashing the real power of the Internet, and of humanity.

BIO: Robert McChesney is the Gutgsell Endowed Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author or editor of 23 books and his work has been translated into 31 languages