WNNY: Chris Hughes A Facebook Co-Founder Rethinks How to Solve Economic Inequality

Chris Hughes considers himself lucky—too lucky. Chris was born into a modest family in North Carolina before getting a scholarship to Harvard University, where he was the freshman roommate to a guy named Mark Zuckerberg. That led to him becoming one of the co-founders of Facebook, core to the startup in the early days, including being the spokesperson for the company. That alone made him a very lucky man, and a very, very wealthy one—too wealthy. Chris now thinks that no one like him should be worth millions of dollars when so many other people in America can barely make ends meet. And if we think it’s bad now, Chris worries that the increasing prevalence of automation might only make things worse. He believes income inequality has become one of the biggest challenges of our time and has dedicated himself to rethinking the fundamentals of our economy. As co-founder of the Economic Security Project, Chris champions the economic policy innovation of Universal Basic Income, or UBI. He also just came out with a book, Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn, that explains UBI and his personal evolution into becoming a believer.

This What’s Now: New York was one of the first events following the book’s publication. Chris anchored  a conversation that went deep into the ideas of the book with those gathered. Chris has a wide range of experiences that were also woven into the conversation. He left Facebook to become one of the core team members of Obama’s legendary digital team in Chicago during the 2008 election, which changed political campaigns forever. He then bought the New Republic magazine and tried to remake it into a digital media company and help transform the media world, with, he admits, less than stellar results. The conversation ranged from his thoughts on the backlash against Facebook and tech platforms, to the chaos in media around fake news, to how the economy could get fundamentally rebalanced and American politics could be renewed.