Does the future of work undermine the democracy of the future? #FESTechTalk

FES Tech Talk • 7 September 2022

FES Tech Talk is an initiative by the FES Competence Centre on the Future of Work and aims to explain current, often complex, topics relating to digitalisation and the Future of Work. The third episode is on 7 September 2022 and in cooperation with FES Democracy of the Future. The Tech Talk is dedicated to the question "Does the future of work undermine the democracy of the future?

Most policy and business experts agree that digital transformation will have a far-reaching impact on the global workforce. McKinsey predicts that in about 60 percent of occupations, at least one-third of the constituent activities could be automated, implying substantial workplace transformations and changes for all workers.

The ongoing digital transformation might also have political consequences as any disruptive change provides a fertile ground for populist ideas to flourish. Economic research suggests that technological change and globalisation transform the labour market resulting in economic insecurities such as rising unemployment and increasing inequalities. In combination with the rolling back of labour market protection policies, economic insecurities manifest themselves in dissatisfaction with the political system and feeds the populist backlash. Therefore, we need to ask, in what ways is digitalisation threatening democracy? And how can the future of work and digitalisation shape the democracy of the future for the better?

With our Tech-Talk we would like – together with MEP Gabriele Bischoff (S&D Group), Bettina Kohlrausch (Institute of Economic and Social Research, WSI) and Tim Vlandas (University of Oxford) – to seek for solutions and ask what needs to be done on the European level to prevent an undermining of democracy through digitalisation.

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