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Public attitudes towards redistribution and the next social contract

  • Date(s)
    17 May 2013
  • Time
    11.30 - 13.00
  • Location
Public attitudes towards redistribution and the next social contract

Policy Network will be hosting a debate on public attitudes towards redistribution and the next social contract on 17 May in Westminster, central London.

Bruce Stokes,
director of the Global Economic Program at the Pew Research Global Attitudes Project, Washington, DC and author of recent global attitudes studies on Public Attitudes Toward the Next Social Contract, Pervasive Gloom About the World Economy and European Unity on the Rocks.

Mary Riddell, columnist for the Daily Telegraph
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA)

Public attitudes towards government spending, debt and redistribution have hardened in the context of the financial crisis. Welfare and social policy must be increasingly advanced in an economically insecure climate in which people, worried about clinging on to what they have, become more resistant to measures that redistribute resources to others, both vertically to other groups within the income distribution, and horizontally to other generational cohorts.

Understanding the drivers of such public attitudes is a vital step for progressive politicians in framing a new social contract and welfare state settlement in the post-financial crisis world. This event will investigate the values and policy differences which inform public views on the social safety net across Europe and the US, moving on to debate political frameworks for building the next social contract.

Questions for debate

  • Are new majorities emerging for redistribution, state intervention, a defence of core welfare entitlements in the post-2008 crisis environment?
  • Are voters becoming more or less individualistic, or communitarian? Is there evidence of widening intergenerational divides on public policy and social security?
  • How can progressives frame debates on redistribution, welfare and new social contracts in a volatile political climate?

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