On Monday, the NYT’s Daily podcast dropped an episode entitled “Was the 401(k) a mistake?” In it, the journalists conclude their analysis with what they call a basic question: Is retirement a privilege or a right?

The question we SHOULD be asking is much bigger: How do we maintain (and even accelerate) our innovative, growthful economy, without leaving behind those whose skills and job opportunities haven’t kept up?

Over the past half century, those with skills relevant to technological and economic innovation have catapulted ahead in wealth generation and financial well-being, while those who don’t have been left behind. This is true for both 401(k) ownership and the economy overall.

Technological and economic innovation have brought enormous benefits to our country at large: a rising stock market, increased tax base, global influence, and life-saving innovations. This kind of growth and progress is not inevitable, and something we would all be lucky to have continue for generations to come.

Yet we need a better solution for those whose skills grow out-of-date in a fast-moving, innovative economy - particularly in an age of AI. More than ever, I’m concerned that innovation - and its resulting wealth generation - are likely to accrue to the privileged, and further drive a wedge in our economy and social structure.

Letting current levels of inequality and polarization persist - and potentially worsen - is not a sustainable option. Other countries provide ample case studies around more comprehensive social safety nets, reskilling, and human capital management.

Frankly, this is one of the many reasons I am proud of Duckbill, where we are building a product meant to someday serve all people across the income spectrum, and creating jobs for people without traditional exposure to high tech, to interact with AI in cutting edge ways.

Duckbill can’t do it alone, but we are proud to be doing a small part in building the economy we all deserve. After all, solving this issue is essential for the sustained success of our country and the well-being of all Americans.

Want life-optimizing tips and early access to new features?

See you in your inbox. We won't spam, promise!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.