(In)equality in the Digital Society

London, 17th November 2016: The emerging Digital Society, fuelled by technological innovation, automation and digitisation, poses uniquely new opportunities but also challenges that affect both the organisation of welfare states and societies as such. It’s in this context the FES London and the wider FES Network in Germany and across the world are organizing a series of events and publications to discuss the key topics of our Digital Future. In partnership with the New Economics Foundation, the FES London organized a workshop in London to focus on two aspects of this debate, looking for policy solutions to make the digital transformation as inclusive as possible. Daniel Buhr, Professor for Policy Analysis, presented a comparative research on seven European welfare states exploring the effects of digitisation on innovation policy, the health sector and the labour markets in the respective countries drawing conclusions on how to shape these effects and possible future developments. These include, promoting society’s capacity to innovate, devising a policy for a social Europe and creating an active state that promotes education, skills and science. Stephen Devlin, Economist at NEF, and Annie Quick, Wellbeing and Inequality Lead at NEF, took the UK as an example of the welfare states examined above, exploring how technological developments can increase or decrease inequality and wellbeing in society - asking: how can we move towards a model of digitisation that promotes a fairer economy? Rather than focusing only on the paradigm of growth they suggested asking what the economy can do for us.

A digital transformation that can serve as a common good and works for everybody can only be achieved if there is common engagement and an active debate. FES London will continue to facilitate exchange between different stake-holders in this debate and maintain the coalition of already built networks.

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