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Why the Candidates Need to Tout a Digital Economy

The U.S. could be poised to emerge as a leader in a new global digital economy. But Zoe Baird, President of the Markle Foundation, believes that the presidential candidates must do more to articulate a vision of what a tech and data-driven economy will look like. While automation eliminates jobs and even entire sectors of the economy, there are opportunities to harness tech innovation to create sustainable new jobs. By exporting services and expertise rather than outsourcing labor, argues Baird, the U.S. can build new markets. Describing data as “the raw material for growth,” she suggests that data industries can utilize the infrastructure of the Internet in the same way the industrial revolution used railroads, highways, and telephone lines. And by leveraging the networking power of social media, micro-entrepreneurship can flourish, with innovative companies like Etsy, Kickstarter, and Quirky blazing a new trail towards a social-powered commercial ecosystem.

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