You know all about red states and blue states. But an even sharper divide emerged from last week’s election: urban vs. rural. Republicans control Washington and most state houses today, outside of a handful of places like California and New York. But Democrats hold city hall in 17 out of 20 of the nation’s most populous cities.
As NewCo has been saying ever since it held its first festival five years ago, cities are also where we are inventing a new, more principled economy together. In Quartz, Fordham professor Benjamin Barber makes the case that cities are where Americans opposed to Trump administration policies will band together and have the greatest impact — whether it’s in protecting immigrants from Trump deportation squads, promoting cleaner energy and climate-friendly policies, preserving reproductive rights, or championing diversity and inclusion in business and government.
Organization and activism at the city level is not a radical-left operation. It’s led by mainstream moderates like Mike Bloomberg, and it invokes federalist principles of local freedom that U.S. conservatives have typically embraced.
Barber suggests that, long-term, the major political parties might realign along an urban/rural axis. Whether that happens or not, it’s important to remind ourselves of what Barber says: “The majority of Americans live in cities, the majority of Americans voted against Trump, and the majority of wealth is generated in cities.”
Much of What We Know About Infrastructure Is Wrong
The U.S.’s roads and bridges are not falling apart. Our infrastructure stacks up pretty well against the rest of the world. These and other insights can be found in a useful infographic roundup from the New York Times’ Dealbook. Both parties have agreed that the U.S. should spend more in this area, so let’s spend smart.
More gleanings: Spending on infrastructure does boost long-term growth, but with diminishing returns — that is, when you build a new road system (or an internet) you get a burst of growth up front but the positive effects trail off. We probably do need to raise more money to pay for basic maintenance of our transport systems, because we’ve kept the gas tax steady for decades and failed to keep up with inflation.
Walmart to Workers: Don’t Download that App
OUR Walmart, a labor group, is distributing an app to the retailer’s workers that lets them network and answers questions about workplace rules using IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence system (The Wall Street Journal). Walmart management isn’t happy with that, and is telling its employees that the app is a scam designed to steal their personal information.
Walmart, the U.S.’s largest employer, has a long history of resisting unionization efforts. It also knows that the smartphone screen is the arena for the next wave of labor battles. But preventing workers from donwloading an app may prove harder than stopping them from voting to unionize.
War is Hell For Business
Too much of the language we use in our daily business lives is taken from the military realm, writes Bloomberg Beta’s Roy Bahat (NewCo Shift). That sometimes makes us feel like heroes, but mostly, it’s destructive: It gives businesses an excuse for collateral damage to the environment or employees well-being — if it’s a war you’re in, all’s fair, right?
The first remedy here is to notice when you’re unconsciously adopting the business-is-war cliche. The second remedy is to replace it with something better. Bahat suggests a long list of metaphors for business that could change how we think. What about business as science? Or art? Or a game?
Hidden-Gem Companies From NewCo’s Upcoming Bay Area Fest
Ginger.io builds an app for people coping with depression and anxiety. Exygy is a digital agency that builds software for purpose-driven organizations. Imperfect Produce finds eaters for the 50 percent of fresh produce that Americans throw away because it’s “ugly.”