Economy

Upward mobility is a challenge for the world amid tech revolution, says Mike Milken

Key Points
  • Upward mobility is becoming a global challenge that may be related to the technological revolution, according to Mike Milken, chairman of the Milken Institute.
  • The boom in technology has created enormous fortunes, but also created uncertainty about the future of jobs, he said.
  • "I feel we have to re-instill this belief that everyone has a chance. Not that you're going to succeed, but everyone has the chance," he added.
Michael Milken attends Prostate Cancer Foundation's Dinner At Daniel on November 19, 2019 at Daniel in New York City.
Paul Bruinooge | Patrick McMullan | Getty Images

Upward mobility is becoming a global challenge that may be related to the technological revolution, according to the chairman of the Milken Institute.

Speaking to CNBC's "Capital Connection" at the think tank's Middle East and Africa Summit in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, Mike Milken said there are different levels of social mobility depending on where a person is born, and this varies even within the United States.

"If I'm born in Salt Lake City in the lowest social economic (level), I have a much better chance to rise in my lifetime to the highest than I do in other cities," he said.

Social mobility refers to how easy or difficult it is for someone to rise to a higher social or economic position.

"This is a challenge, not just for the United States, but for the world," he added.

Milken then described how the technology revolution led to uncertainty in the world.

"Every single one of the most valuable companies in the world today believed in faster computers, lower cost of data, " he said. "With that, enormous fortunes have been created."

However, people are also becoming worried about the future of jobs as technology changes every industry, he said, citing the sectors such as the media, manufacturing, transportation and energy.

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When asked to weigh in on the Democratic presidential candidates, Milken said it's "early."

"We need to see how this plays out during the year as to what the issues are," he said. "The issues of upward mobility, the issues or rich and poor are with us."

"I feel we have to re-instill this belief that everyone has a chance. Not that you're going to succeed, but everyone has the chance," he added.

"That is one of the things we're focused on here," he said. "How can we create financial systems, financial securities, financial markets that give people more upward mobility."