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Home News The digital transition: A progressive agenda

The digital transition: A progressive agenda

15 December 2015
The digital transition:  A progressive agenda

We are on a journey of fundamental change in the way modern economies produce and distribute goods as well as services. Digital innovations raise the hope of new jobs, faster growth and productivity. Yet, technological disruption also seriously challenges the centre left’s traditional toolkit on labour, economic and social rights. In the third of our series on progressive governance in a ‘high-risk, high-opportunity’ era, Policy Network this week focuses on how progressives can harness the digital transition for the benefit of all.

Paul Hofheinz, of the Lisbon Council, argues that progressives should stop looking at the present negatively and project themselves into the future by harnessing the economic, social and policy opportunities opened up by the digital. This includes building a credible “progressive policy on data”, and offering a “comprehensive social compact” to address the risks associated with the transition.

Karen Kornbluh, of the Council on Foreign Relations, elaborates on the idea of a progressive reform strategy for the digital age, pointing out that the main challenge is not technology itself but the failure of policies. At the core of this reform programme should be a new “social insurance system” and smart regulations facilitating the “delivery of social services”.

Finally, Florian Ranft, of Policy Network, explores the implications of the digital economy on inequality. There are legitimate concerns that new technologies lead to a greater concentration of wealth by the ‘owner of robots’ and negatively affect career security. New safety nets for those most affected by disruption, and alternative models of ownership and taxation, are policy areas that progressives need to turn to as a matter of priority.


Progressives must re-embrace a long and powerful tradition of being the first to see the future
Digital technology is unleashing new growth and opportunity for some, but will only strengthen our societies if we reform our industrial age social policies
If the centre left can craft a vision for the digital economy that mitigates social downsides and manages inequality, it may restore its economic credibility

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