Advancing a People-First Economy

Appendix B: About the Commission on Reimagining Our Economy

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Commission on Reimagining Our Economy

Economic uncertainty is a disruptive force in American life. Too many families are unable to achieve the life they want despite their best efforts, too many communities have not benefited fully from national economic growth, and too many Americans believe the economy does not work for people like them. In a 2021 Pew Research Center survey, 66 percent felt that the nation’s economy needs major reforms, while just 6 percent felt it should remain unchanged. Coupled with the current challenges facing American democracy, these trends contribute to the growing distrust of political and economic institutions. While it often seems that the nation cannot agree on much, there is widespread agreement that changes are needed to bolster opportunity and to allow more Americans to share in the nation’s prosperity.

The specific policies needed to reform the economy, and the values that should inform those policies, are subject to intense disagreement. With this challenge in mind, the Academy launched the Commission on Reimagining Our Economy (CORE) in October 2021. The goal of the Commission is to rethink the principles, metrics, narratives, and policies that shape the nation’s political economy. While policymakers and journalists often track how the economy is doing, the Commission seeks to direct a focus onto how Americans are doing, elevating the human stakes of our economic and political systems.

The interdisciplinary and crosspartisan Commission comprises scholars, journalists, artists, and leaders from the faith, labor, business, and philanthropic communities. A premise of the Commission’s work is that questions of political economy are inextricable from conversations about democracy. Individual well-being is not simply a matter of dollars and cents. Other factors need to be accounted for, particularly the degree to which people feel that their voice is valued. The widespread belief that the economy does not give everyone a fair chance threatens the nation’s social fabric and its constitutional democracy.

To that end, the Commission builds on Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century. That report acknowledges that economic conditions influence public faith in government, political participation, and civic engagement. While Our Common Purpose does not offer recommendations specifically targeted at economic issues, Advancing a People-First Economy faces these issues head on.

Through listening sessions, data collection, and a commitment to crosspartisan work, the Commission has developed bold, achievable recommendations that rethink the values that should drive the economy and advance practices and policies that would enable opportunity, mobility, and security for all.

Commission Chairs

Katherine J. Cramer
University of Wisconsin–Madison

Ann M. Fudge
Young & Rubicam Brands

Nicholas B. Lemann
Columbia Journalism School


Commission Members

K. Daron Acemoglu
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Elizabeth S. Anderson
University of Michigan

Cornell William Brooks
Harvard Kennedy School

Whitney Kimball Coe
Center for Rural Strategies

Jane Delgado
National Alliance for Hispanic Health

James M. Fallows
Our Towns Civic Foundation

Helene D. Gayle
Spelman College

Jacob S. Hacker
Yale University

Tom Hanks
Actor and Filmmaker

Mary Kay Henry
Service Employees International Union

Kelly Lytle Hernández
University of California, Los Angeles

Megan Minoka Hill
Ash Center, Harvard Kennedy School

Reid G. Hoffman
Greylock Partners

Serene Jones
Union Theological Seminary

Julius Krein
American Affairs

Goodwin H. Liu
Supreme Court of California

Maya MacGuineas
Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

James M. Manyika

Katherine S. Newman
University of California

Viet Thanh Nguyen
University of Southern California

David W. Oxtoby
American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Sarah Ruger
Stand Together

Ruth Simmons
Prairie View A&M University

Matthew J. Slaughter
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

Anna Deavere Smith
New York University Tisch School of the Arts

Joseph E. Stiglitz
Columbia University

Michael R. Strain
American Enterprise Institute

Mark Neil Trahant
Indian Country Today

Kenneth L. Wallach
Central National Gottesman, Inc.


Funders of the Commission on Reimagining Our Economy

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

The C&P Buttenwieser Foundation

Omidyar Network

David M. Rubenstein

Patti Saris

Academy Staff who helped prepare Advancing a People-First Economy

Phyllis S. Bendell
Editor in Chief

Key Bird
Assistant Editor

Jonathan D. Cohen
Joan and Irwin Jacobs Senior Program Officer for American Institutions, Society, and the Public Good

Kelsey Ensign
Louis W. Cabot Fellow

Alison Franklin
Chief Communications Officer

Katherine Gagen
Program Associate for American Institutions, Society, and the Public Good

Eduardo Gonzalez
Program Officer for Civil Justice

Darshan Goux
Program Director for American Institutions, Society, and the Public Good

Victor Lopez
Program Associate for American Institutions, Society, and the Public Good

Tania Munz
Chief Program Officer

Scott Raymond
Creative Director

Peter Robinson
Morton L. Mandel Director of Strategic Implementation

Betsy Super
Program Director for American Institutions, Society, and the Public Good

Peter Walton
Associate Editor

Elizabeth Youngling
Carl & Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Fellow