It’s been an enormous triumph for me to have a job that I like, that gave me a sense of expression, a sense of place, a sense of being a part of things. And that’s what I want for my kids and what I want for everybody’s kids. Without those things, life becomes a lot more abstract, a lot more difficult, and a lot more dangerous and unsatisfying – less hopeful.
People deserve the right to work, and when you rob someone of that right, you’re robbing them of an enormous part of their life. The entrepreneurial vision has taken our country a long way, but it’s done so on the backs of a lot of working people who’ve gotten stiffed in the end. So at some point – and we may be reaching that point – that vision may have run its course. When the manufacturing jobs disappear, is the new economy going to produce enough jobs for the people who need work out there? I don’t know. And I think it’s the responsibility not just of the government, but all of us, to make sure no one is left out.
So I think there’s got to be some rebalancing of the fundamental forces that move American society and the American economy. I wouldn’t presume to know what the answer is. There are many complicated issues, but, hey, there are many people of good will. There are some ports in the storm. But there aren’t enough right now. —As told to Anthony DeCurtis
This story is from the May 28, 1998 issue of Rolling Stone.