"Technological transformation first reduced the income of the populations for decades, although societies became wealthier in the long term."

Engels’ Pause


Tue, Jun 13th, 2017 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

The birth of the Industrial Revolution did not yield immediate wealth. If anything, it caused several decades of turmoil, much like digitalisation and globalisation are doing to jobs today. Historians call this Engels’ Pause, a moment in time when advanced technological changes greatly reduce incomes. Noting that "mainstream policies in Western societies are based on the operating models of the industrial age," this article on SITRI argues in favour for new policies for the digital era, and how "digitalisation opens new opportunities for everyone to produce value and make a living."

Economies all over the world are in the midst of many great changes and uncertainty.

Most importantly, digitalisation, globalisation and an ageing population will break the traditional connection between growth, productivity and well-being in an unforeseen manner. Political leaders all over the world struggle to grow the economy, increase exports and create new jobs. A higher employment rate in paid employment is a generally accepted goal. In 2017, politics is still founded on the idea that increasing labour in the market results in growth.

In this paper we argue differently. Digitalisation, globalisation and ageing seem to be breaking the connection between growth and well-being.

This article was triggered by the contemporary experiences of the authors. We were tired of hearing economists talk about how necessary growth and productivity are for well-being. We don’t believe in this story any more.



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