How Can Municipal Government Promote Economic Democracy?

New York, NY… it’s a city with close to a $100 billion budget every year and a deputy mayor with some pretty creative plans for how to spend it. What can one city do? And what is it going to take to create a non-racist democracy? J. Phillip Thompson, NYC Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives, discusses how we can promote economic democracy.


Welcome back to the show J. Phillip Thompson, New York City’s Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. Prior to joining the de Blasio administration, Thompson was an Associate Professor of Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of Double Trouble: Black Mayors, Black Communities and the Struggle for Deep Democracy. He previously served in the Dinkins Administration as the Deputy General Manager for Operations and Development, and before that, served in the Manhattan Borough President’s Office.

“Last year, about 1% of New York’s population earned over 40% of all income for every worker, for every family in the city.”

“We should not confuse what happens with Wall Street with how the economy is doing over all.” — J. Phillip Thompson

From Laura:

Former mayor Michael Bloomberg once famously said it’d be a godsend if he could lure every billionaire in the world to New York. That spoke volumes about his approach to city development. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s approach has been very different, at least at the level of rhetoric. The city’s annual budget is larger than that of every state except California and New York. This year, the metro area is expected to bring in $92.2 billion in revenue and de Blasio has pledged to use that to promote economic democracy and close the gap between the rich and poor. How’s he doing? What are the challenges? What can cities reasonably do?