Category: Uncategorized

  • American Dream(s)

    A play in three acts

    By Steven Hill

    A mixed racial family struggles to accept their transitioning son and brother. When he goes missing, the Armstrongs are torn by conflict. A mysterious envelope arrives during a snowy Christmas, unlocking secrets that send the family hurtling toward a bitter clash in which identity — as well as life itself — is at stake: can we be who we want to be?…

  • If it seems too good to be true…it probably is

    By Steven Hill,  Hans Böckler Stiftung, July 6, 2022

    Why it’s important to separate worker reality from corporate media hype, which often tries to decree what is best for workers – despite being wrong again and again and again.

    There is an old saying: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”…

  • The center is not holding – here’s why, and how to fix it

    By Steven Hill, DemocracySOS, June 28, 2022

    Recent Supreme Court rulings are the latest examples of a future under “minority rule”

    Over the last few months, we have slowly awoken to a troubling new world. The unfamiliar America that is emerging has become post-Roe, post-gun control, post-safe schools, post-Supreme Court impartiality, post-majoritarian and possibly post-fair elections (we shall see in November and in 2024).…

  • Why electoral systems matter: a thought experiment

    By Steven Hill, DemocracySOS, June 24, 2022

    What’s this? The same votes cast through different electoral systems can elect completely different representatives?

    Imagine a mythical city in the heartland, which is seeking a better method to ensure that all of its residents in their “multi-everything” city feel like they have adequate political representation and a vested interest in participating in a healthy society.…

  • Why no gun control? Because of the failure of winner-take-all elections

    By Steven Hill, DemocracySOS, May 26, 2022

    “Swing voter-ocracy” is contributing to this tragedy for America’s children

    FairVote’s Rob Richie and I first wrote about the role of swing voters blocking popular gun control legislation in the 1990s. The problem remains true today.

    We have seen this movie too many times.…

  • Helping gig workers help themselves

    By Steven Hill,  Hans Böckler Stiftung, April 11, 2022

    From new technologies to new organizing methods, tools and training for gig workers: Support is starting to emerge. Will it help? Will organized labor in the US pitch in?

    Gig workers emerged from an economy flattened by the contraction of 2008-9, which saw massive layoffs and a growing reserve labor pool.…

  • Workers of the world…QUIT?

    By Steven Hill,  Hans Böckler Stiftung, December 9, 2021

    US workers are leaving their jobs in record numbers. Are they newly empowered? Or just taking a break from reality?

    US workers of all ages and occupations have been voluntarily quitting their jobs in record numbers. In April 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded a giant surge in the number of people who left their jobs, with just under 4 million workers quitting voluntarily.…

  • A Facelift for Facebook

    By Steven Hill, Project Syndicate, October 8, 2021

    The free market has never been a free-for-all, yet tech companies have long operated with few constraints on their business models. Perhaps the latest Facebook scandal will finally provide the impetus governments need to take effective action – beginning with the implementation of digital operating permits.

  • The Digital Wild West Needs a Sheriff

    By Steven Hill, American Purpose, October 6, 2021

    Licenses and permits are standard fare in the brick-and-mortar world. Why not for internet companies?

    Since the birth of the Big Tech media platforms fifteen years ago, democracies around the world have been the subjects of an unfolding experiment based on this question: Can a nation’s crucial news and information infrastructure depend on digital technologies that facilitate (a) a global free-speech zone of (b) unlimited audience size with (c) non-human, algorithmic curation of massive volumes of disinformation that (d) can be spread with unprecedented ease?…

  • Will US labor unions stand by Uber drivers and gig workers?

    By Steven Hill,  Hans Böckler Stiftung, August 23, 2021

    Following the labor movement’s defeat by Uber over gig drivers in California’s Proposition 22, key unions appear ready to imitate a weak version of Germany’s sectoral bargaining as a desperate compromise.

    In September 2019, California passed a law, known as AB 5, that gave gig workers and other types of freelancers/solo self-employed workers the legal standing of employees.…

  • The Rise of the Distributariat

    By Steven Hill, Project Syndicate, July 16, 2021

    The shift to remote work during the pandemic has brought both disturbing developments, like the increased use of surveillance technology, and promising ones, like the de-linking of employment from geographic location. But without new rules of the road, workers overall will be worse off than they were before COVID-19.

  • The Perils of “Minority Rule”

    By Steven Hill, Common Dreams, July 16, 2021

    Minority rule has metastasized like a cancer and is now pervasive throughout the US political system.

    After a strong start with his ambitious Covid relief bill and vaccination rollout, President Joe Biden’s momentum has slowed considerably. Like President Barack Obama before him, he has now hit the buzzsaw of…Republican minority rule.…

  • The ‘Uber Economy’ Needs Guardrails

    By Steven Hill, American Compass, June 3, 2021

    Part of the “Lost in the Super Market” panel discussion

    Wingham Rowan wants to “remake the modern [labor] market,” while Neil Chilson wants “freedom from [labor] market frictions.” Yet neither seems to understand these markets from the perspective of the many freelancers and so-called “independent” contractors whom they purport to advocate for.…

  • On RCV, NYC’s BOE is MIA

    By Steven Hill, NY Daily News, June 3, 2021

    The Board of Elections is taking way too long to tabulate ranked-choice voting results

    Election officials in New York City are unnecessarily withholding crucial election results from the public regarding the races for mayor, comptroller, City Council and other offices. Specifically, they have refused to run the ranked-choice voting (RCV) tally for the 800,000 ballots that, as of this past Friday, were in their possession.…

  • World Wide Weapon

    by Steven Hill, American Purpose, May 10, 2021

    Review of Breaking the Social Media Prism: How to Make Our Platforms Less Polarizing
    by Chris Bail (Princeton University Press, 240 pp., $24.95)

    An author writing a political nonfiction book has to try to see into the future. From finished manuscript to bookstore delivery can easily take two years.…

  • How to avoid a recall meltdown and improve California elections

    by Steven Hill and Larry Diamond, CalMatters, May 4, 2021

    It’s game on for the recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom. The gubernatorial recall in 2003 that struck California like an earthquake seems like ancient history, so here is a quick recap in a bid to help California do it better than the last time.…

  • Reining in Facebook and Google: A Common Transatlantic Project

    By Steven Hill and Stephan Richter, The Globalist, April 7, 2021

    Big Tech media present a serious challenge for Western democracies. Tackling them is a worthy mission for the Biden Administration and the EU to work on jointly.

    In recent weeks, two remarkable developments took place affecting Big Tech media.…

  • The Real Battle Between Big Tech and the Free Press Is Just Beginning

    By Steven Hill, Zocalo Public Square, April 1, 2021

    From Australia to Maryland, the news industry is in a fight for Its life against Facebook and Google

    From Australia to Maryland, the free press is waging a battle for survival against Facebook and Google. Besides being gushing firehoses of COVID disinformation and QAnon conspiracies, Google and Facebook have been dangerously undermining the financial stability of media outlets all over the world.…

  • Europe’s Digital Fix Is Already Broken

    by Steven Hill, Project Syndicate, March 25, 2021

    After unveiling two new digital regulations to much fanfare last year, the European Commission already needs to go back to the drawing board. Big Tech’s latest scandals have made clear that the only workable governance model for the digital economy is one that treats the leading platforms as utilities.

  • Big Tech vs the Free Press

    By Steven Hill, International Politics and Society, March 18, 2021

    Beyond censorship, Big Tech’s capture of digital ad revenue poses a major threat to the free press. But it could now face a united transatlantic front

    At the end of February 2021, two remarkable developments took place. First, Facebook and Google were trying to bully Australia over a new law requiring the Big Tech platforms to share digital advertising revenues with Australian media companies.…

  • What will happen to worker and union power under Biden?

    By Steven Hill, Social Europe, Feb 15, 2021

    Joe Biden was the most pro-labour presidential nominee in years. But he’s fighting a pandemic and faces the antiquated US political system. 

    During his campaign for the presidency of the United States, Joe Biden told union leaders he was ‘a union guy’ and pledged to be the ‘strongest labor president’ ever.…

  • The EU is about to make Facebook even worse

    By Steven Hill, International Politics and Society, Feb 12, 2021

    Big Tech media platforms are dangerous. But the EU’s proposed competition laws won’t fix it — and could make it worse

    The European Union has earned a reputation as the world’s foremost regulator of Big Tech companies. Its latest salvo is the recently proposed Digital Services Act (DSA) and Digital Markets Act (DMA).…

  • How we can tame the wild west of Big Tech media?

    By Steven Hill, Mercury News, Jan 27, 2021

    Why do so many people, including both former President Donald Trump and new President Joe Biden, keep talking about getting rid of an obscure law called Section 230?

    The short answer is that Section 230, part of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, is the legal underpinning for one of the largest and most consequential experiments in American history.…

  • Should President Biden Revoke Section 230?

    by Steven Hill, American Compass, Jan 27, 2021

    The recent attack on the US Capitol reveals the danger of digital media platforms. Here’s what we must do to repair our new media infrastructure.

    The beautiful dream of an open and free internet, serving as a global agora of unlimited free speech to provide for more democratic participation, has crashed and burned one more time.…

  • Big Tech media and the EU’s weak reed of ‘competition’

    by Steven Hill, Social Europe, January 26, 2021

    The attack on the US Capitol revealed the dangers of Big Tech media platforms—but envisaged EU competition laws won’t fix them.

    The European Commission has earned a reputation as the world’s foremost regulator of Big Tech companies. Led by the commissioner responsible for ‘a Europe fit for the digital age’, Margrethe Vestager, its latest salvo was launched on December 15th, with proposals for a Digital Services Act (DSA) and a Digital Markets Act (DMA).…