WIP Ida Rademacher

‘A more deeply shared prosperity’

A conversation with Ida Rademacher, Aspen Institute vice president and The Aspen Partnership for an Inclusive Economy co-chair

In this episode of Work in Progress, Ida Rademacher, vice president at the Aspen Institute, joins me from the Global Inclusive Growth Summit in Washington, DC, hosted by the Aspen Institute and The MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth.

Leaders from business, government, philanthropy, and nonprofits gathered at the Summit to discuss an important issue: How do we ensure that everyone has equal access to the opportunities created by economic growth, and how do we make sure that that growth is done responsibly?

To quote the organizers: “It has never been more important to understand how constantly shifting demographics, circumstances, and technologies affect the growth, security, and prosperity of communities all over the world.”

Rademacher and I touch on many of the same topics discussed at the summit: education, access to capital, jobs creation, and economic mobility and their roles in creating a more equitable society, one that becomes more inclusive in the face of massive growth. Here is some of what she tells me.

The Definition of Inclusive Growth

“When I think about inclusive growth, I think about more deeply shared prosperity. What does it look like when people are included? They have voice, they have agency, they have dignity, they have freedom. The places where I get really specific there are around how does a level of financial security enable that choice and dignity and freedom. That really becomes the bedrock for mobility.”


“(Education) is one of the fundamental building blocks. It’s the equivalent of a public utility. When you think about what it takes to be a full participant in society and democracy, that is the fundamental role of education. What’s the level of shared knowledge to navigate the systems in your life? The basics of education, the principles of education stay the same.”

Career Pathways

“Our career pathways work is very substantive. The work we do is very much around thinking about how do you create the right incentives and peer groups within institutions so that you can accelerate learning and so that everybody can be focusing on the outcomes in terms of how are you equipping students today, no matter if they’re K through 12 or in higher education, with the, both the hard skills and the soft skills to navigate a changing labor market.”

Good Jobs

“The quality of job isn’t just the wage and a very thoughtfully informed bundle of benefits, it’s people’s schedules. Somebody’s limitations for being able to pursue night school or the changing demographic of who is a college student, it’s just, it’s radically different. But they might not be able to take classes because they work shift work or they’re trying to juggle two jobs or they can’t figure out the different ways to do that.”

Financial Security

“People are dealing with huge amounts of financial shocks in their lives, lots of income volatility. I often say it’s really hard for somebody to swing a baseball bat when they’re standing in a canoe. The ability to even have a more forward-looking time horizon about the choices you’re making comes from having some part of your day-to-day life feel manageable, feel understandable.”

What Inclusive Growth Looks Like

“When more people can be producers, not just consumers in the economy, economy grows faster, it grows more sustainably, and it’s in service of the broader ideals of a society. When you think about shared prosperity, if it doesn’t show up on a household balance sheet at the end of the day, if the changes we’re trying to make, if the ways that we’re trying to make the economy work for more people doesn’t show up in actual improvements in household net worth and the ability to manage your everyday life, then we’re not there yet.”

This is just some of what Rademacher tells me in the podcast, which you can listen to here or wherever you get your podcasts.

If you missed the Summit, you can watch it online here: Global Inclusive Growth Summit

Episode 268: Ida Rademacher, VP, Aspen Institute; Co-Chair, The Aspen Partnership for an Inclusive Economy
Host & Executive Producer: Ramona Schindelheim, Editor-in-Chief, WorkingNation
Producer: Larry Buhl
Executive Producers: Joan Lynch and Melissa Panzer
Theme Music: Composed by Lee Rosevere and licensed under CC by 4.0
Download the transcript for this podcast here.
You can check out all the other podcasts at this link: Work in Progress podcasts

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