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Social progress in the 21st Century

Social progress in the 21st Century

The Amsterdam Process

12 July 2011


Major new publication on how Europe's centre-left parties can return as forces of social and economic progress

A decade into the new century, Europe is beset by a striking mood of social pessimism. The post-war baby boomer generation harbours real fears about the future, as it looks like life will not be as good for their children as it was for them.

Such anxiety presents a particularly de-habilitating political problem for social democracy for whom the promise of social progress has always been a powerful electoral rallying call, with education, aspiration and social mobility occupying centre-stage.

But in the minds of many across Europe, this contract no longer holds. Rather, a populist scepticism toward established politics, the aftermath of the near collapse of the financial capitalist system, and a centre-right which seeks to capitalise on the successes of the social democratic legacy while playing the card of ‘economic competence’ now sets the boundaries of debate.

Coming back as the parties of social and economic progress requires new ideas and political narratives for our times, but it first requires solid building blocks on which to situate a 21st century vision of social progress. It is here that this volume contributes with papers on social investment and the European welfare state; the workplace and labour market; and social protection and intergenerational inequality.


This substantial new publication by Policy Network, the Wiardi Beckman Stichting and the Foundation for Progressive European Studies (FEPS) brings together 15 of the most eminent thinkers in the field to provide new direction on these issues. It marks a joint contribution to the Amsterdam Process and Next Left research programmes on the future of European social democracy.

Olaf Cramme, Policy Network, Rene Cuperus, Wiardi Beckman Stichting & Ernst Stetter, FEPS

Politics, social cohesion and re-energising citizenship

Anti-politics, social progress and re-energising citizenship
Gerry Stoker, University of Southampton

Making progress a meaningful concept                        
Alfred Gusenbauer, FEPS

European social models and the challenge of social cohesion
Patrick Diamond, Policy Network

Social investment

Social investment is in jeopardy
Anton Hemerijck, VU University Amsterdam

Priorities for a social investment welfare state
Bruno Palier, Sciencies Po Paris

The politics of progress and an EU Social Investment Pact
Frank Vandenbroucke, member of the Belgian Senate

Economic competence and the social investment state
Anke Hassel, Hertie School of Governance & LSE

The labour market and workplace

Changes in the world of work
Alan Manning, LSE

Delivering on valid labour market policies
Werner Eichhorst, Institute for the Study of Labour (IZA), Bonn

Hidden depression in the workplace
Frans Becker & Pim Paulusma, Wiardi Beckman Stichting

The workplace and industrial democracy in the post-crisis age
Hannah Jameson, Involvement and Participation Association (IPA)

Intergenerational inequality

Allying generations and modernising social protection
Karen Anderson, Radboud University Nijmegen

The 21st century pension dilemma
David Natali, European Social Observatory, Brussels

Generational justice and social trust in an ageing society
Anna Hedborg, Swedish Social Democrat’s Social Inquiry Committee

Generational equity and the smoke screen of National Accounts
Thomas Lindh, Institute for Futures Studies, Stockholm

Tags: social investment , European welfare state , workplace , labour market , social protection , intergenerational inequality , pension reform , social progress , social democracy Karen Anderson , Frans Becker , Patrick Diamond , Werner Eichhorst , Anke Hassel , Anna Hedborg , Anton Hemerijck , Hannah Jameson , Thomas Lindh , Alan Manning , David Natali , Bruno Palier , Pim Paulusma , Gerry Stoker , Frank Vandenbroucke

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