Books by Steven Hill:
Die Start-up-Illusion: Wie die Internet-Ökonomie unseren Sozialstaat ruiniert (Droemer Knaur, May 2017, in German) (English translation: “The start-up illusion: How the Internet economy is ruining our welfare”)
Few winners, many losers: that’s the truth about the impact of the Internet economy. The digital future promises to consumers and workers more freedom and independence, but what does it mean for employees when algorithms replace workers and start-ups employ their employees on a project by project basis, with no job security or safety net? The Internet economy creates precarious working conditions, notes the renowned economic journalist Steven Hill in his provocative new book. Young and well-trained, the “digital day laborers” know neither regular working hours nor protection against dismissal, vacations or holidays. Temporary work, short-term contracts and freelancing are the basis for the proposed future. Social justice is at stake in this time of extreme globalization. Uber, Airbnb and many other “disruptive” platform capitalism companies show where the journey is going. Hill describes how the impact of the Internet economy is slowly changing our society. The social market economy, wage partnership and a high level of social security have made Germany strong — but now those achievements are threatened.
In this book Hill makes policy recommendations for German business and political leaders that, if enacted, would harness the positive aspects of the digital economy without so many of the downsides. Hill proposes a portable and universal safety net for all German workers — an idea he has pioneered in the US – as well as other ideas like profit-sharing, platform cooperativism, a CERN for artificial intelligence development, and a new business model (“Rocket Mittelstand”) based on a hybrid that combines the engineering prowess of the small and medium enterprise sector (the Mittelstand) with the digital brilliance of startups like Rocket Internet.
Expand Social Security Now: How to Ensure Americans Get the Retirement They Deserve (Beacon Press, September 2016)
Why Social Security is not only sustainable but should be substantially expanded
Social Security is bankrupting us. It’s outdated. It’s a Ponzi scheme. It’s stealing from young people. These are some of the biggest myths and lies about one of the most successful programs in our nation’s history. Three-quarters of Americans depend heavily on Social Security in their elderly years and nearly half would be living in poverty without it. But as important and popular as it is, Social Security has become a political football. A well-financed campaign—supported by conservatives, special interest groups, and even leading Democrats—has lobbied for cuts and significant “entitlement reform,” falsely proclaiming that Social Security is going broke. Policy expert Steven Hill argues that Social Security should not only be defended, it should be substantially expanded. Here he proposes how we can double the monthly benefit and how to pay for it by closing many of the tax loopholes and deductions that disproportionately favor the wealthy few.
Raw Deal: How the “Uber Economy” and Runaway Capitalism Are Screwing American Workers (St. Martin’s Press, October 2015)
“What’s going to happen to my job?”
That’s what an increasing number of anxious Americans are asking themselves.
The US workforce, which has been one of the most productive and wealthiest in the world, is undergoing an alarming transformation. Increasing numbers of workers find themselves on shaky ground, turned into freelancers, temps and contractors. Even many full-time and professional jobs are experiencing this precarious shift. Within a decade, a near-majority of the 145 million employed Americans will be impacted. Add to that the steamroller of automation, robots and artificial intelligence already replacing millions of workers and projected to “obsolesce” millions more, and the jobs picture starts looking grim.
Now a weird yet historic mash-up of Silicon Valley technology and Wall Street greed is thrusting upon us the latest economic fraud: the so-called “sharing economy,” with companies like Uber, Airbnb and TaskRabbit allegedly “liberating workers” to become “independent” and “their own CEOs,” hiring themselves out for ever-smaller jobs and wages while the companies profit.
But this “share the crumbs” economy is just the tip of a looming iceberg that the middle class is drifting toward. Raw Deal: How the “Uber Economy” and Runaway Capitalism Are Screwing American Workers,by veteran journalist Steven Hill, is an exposé that challenges conventional thinking, and the hype celebrating this new economy, by showing why the vision of the “techno sapien” leaders and their Ayn Rand libertarianism is a dead end.
In Raw Deal, Steven Hill proposes pragmatic policy solutions to transform the US economy and its safety net and social contract, launching a new kind of deal to restore power back into the hands of American workers.
10 Steps To Repair American Democracy: A More Perfect Union, 2012 Election edition (Paradigm Press, 2012)
As author Steven Hill shows, America’s recent economic collapse was preceded by a longstanding political collapse. The antiquated US political system finds itself plagued by partisan polarization, a rigidly divided Congress, superficial debate, and paralysis in the face of new global challenges. Even before the economic crisis, the US was beset by choiceless elections, out-of-control campaign spending, a filibuster-gone-wild U.S. Senate, mindless media, even a partisan Supreme Court. Americans are growing increasingly frustrated and tuned out, as the middle collapses and the partisans take over. Just in time for the 2012 elections, 10 Steps to Repair American Democracy: A More Perfect Union confronts the minefield built into our political system. In a brand new edition, political critic Steven Hill renews his 10-step program to repair American democracy.
Europe’s Promise: Why the European Way is the Best Hope in an Insecure Age (University of California Press, 2010)
A quiet revolution has been occurring in post-World War II Europe. A world power has emerged across the Atlantic that is recrafting the rules for how a modern society should provide economic security, environmental sustainability, and global stability. For a decade Steven Hill traveled widely to understand this uniquely European way of life. In Europe’s Promise, he explains Europe’s bold new vision.
10 Steps To Repair American Democracy (PoliPoint Press, 2006, 1st edtion)
Choiceless elections. Poor representation. Suspicious voting equipment. Superficial political debate. American democracy is suffering through its worst crisis in generations, and most Americans don’t know what to do about it. Here, finally, is the plan – 10 steps to repair American democracy. In his inspiring blueprint for renewing America, Hill makes a stirring call for reform. Drawing upon the author’s 20 years of democracy advocacy and scholarship, 10 Steps to Repair American Democracy proposes ten specific reforms to reinvigorate our republic.
Fixing Elections: The Failure of America’s Winner Take All Politics (Routledge Press, 2003)
Steven Hill argues our geographic-based, winner-take-all electoral system is at the root of many of our worst political problems. Entire regions of the country are becoming polarized one-party fiefdoms, as the political landscape fragments into “Red and Blue America.” In the face of cynicism about politics and our leaders, Fixing Elections is a refreshing blueprint to resurrect our Founders’ democratic vision. It will change the way you think about American politics.
Reflecting All of Us/Whose Vote Counts (Beacon Press, 2001, co-authored with Rob Richie)
Robert Richie and Steven Hill argue that we need a new way of electing our representatives to combat low voter turnout, poor representation, negative campaigning and political polarization. Many people blame the impact of money for these ills, but Richie and Hill make the case that the problem is deeper — it’s our winner-take-all elections. They argue for a change to a system already in use in many parts of the world, including some places in the U.S.: it’s called proportional representation.