Description: Dr. Chris Benner (University of California, Santa Cruz) delivered a guest talk on 18th August. The title of the talk was: Knowledge Matters: Equity, Growth and and the Future of Work in the Information Economy
Abstract: In the last several years, much has been written about growing economic challenges, increasing income inequality, and political polarization in the United States. Drawing on his most recent book (co-authored with Manuel Pastor), Dr. Benner argues that lessons for addressing these national challenges are emerging from a new set of realities in America’s metropolitan regions: first, that inequity is, in fact, bad for economic growth; second, that bringing together the concerns of equity and growth requires concerted local action; and, third, that the fundamental building block for doing this is the creation of diverse and dynamic epistemic (or knowledge) communities, which help to overcome political polarization and help regions address the challenges of economic restructuring and social divides. Dr. Benner concluded with an examination of how these trends play out in Silicon Valley and in debates about the future of work in the information economy.
About the speaker: Chris Benner is a Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the Executive Director of the Everett Program. His research focuses on the relationships between technological change, regional development, and structures of economic opportunity, focusing on regional labor markets and the transformation of work and employment patterns. Benner’s work has also included providing research assistance to a range of organizations promoting equity and expanded opportunity, including the Coalition on Regional Equity (Sacramento), Working Partnerships USA (San Jose), the California Labor Federation, and the Congress of South African Trade Unions among others. He received his Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.