070 Robots, Automats and Politics: The Consequences of the Digital Revolution for the Future of Welfare and Democracy

Wednesday, July 12, 2017: 2:00 PM-3:45 PM
Anatomy - Large LT (University of Glasgow)
In recent years, the automatization of work processes has rekindled fears about the future or even the end of work. In some accounts, the digital revolution will trigger a huge increase in productivity, contributing to economic wealth and new employment prospects. Critics hold that it will destrocy millions of jobs without creating a sufficient supply of new types of employment. Hence, the future implications for inequality are unclear. 

These debates focus much more on the economic and technological dimensions of the digital revolution than on its consequences for democracy and the welfare state. Digitalization also changes the way citizens interact with policy-makers, potentially empowering the formerly disenfranchised or, to the contrary, exacerbating pre-existing representative biases. Furthermore, if digitalization indeed leads to new levels of mass unemployment, traditional welfare state policies will have to be radically reformed. 

The roundtable will focus on these political consequences for the welfare state and the future of democracy, bringing together leading scholars in comparative political economy and welfare state research to discuss these and similar questions: What are the most likely effects of the digital revolution for labor markets? How do people perceive these effects? How do societal actors such as trade unions or political parties react to it? Can we expect the rise of new social movements in reaction to this? And what will be the likely outcome for welfare state policies and electoral politics? Will traditional welfare state policies be able to deal with these challenges?

Marius R. Busemeyer , Paul Marx and Achim Kemmerling
David Rueda , Anton Hemerijck , Werner Eichhorst and Aina Gallego
See more of: Session Proposals