Let the reader know why you chose this particular essay. Does this essay discuss an issue that is facing you currently? Next, discuss whether or not your essay is peer-reviewed. How do you know? State the claim of the essay. Then, discuss how the author proves this claim. Is the author using the Toulmin method? Use complete sentences, give citations to back up your points, and create a final works cited citation for this essay. After completing the first section, consider the following. During week five, you are creating an argument using the Toulmin model. Have you used this style of argumentation before in your studies or career (either verbally or in past writing assignments/projects)? Will you use it in the future? Why or why not? Check out this amusing (ok, corny) video rap on the Toulmin in a nutshell:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Hu5MyF8GLc MLA formatMinimum 200 words
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The Next Safety Net
Colin, Nicolas; Palier, Bruno . Foreign Affairs ; New York Vol. 94, Iss. 4, (Jul/Aug 2015): 29-33.
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ABSTRACT
As advanced economies become more automated and digitized, almost all workers will be affected, but some
more than others. Economic inequality across society as a whole is likely to grow, along with demands for
increased state expenditures on social services of various kinds — just as the resources to cover such expenditures
are dropping because of lower tax contributions from a smaller work force. These trends will create a crisis for
modern welfare states, the finances of which will increasingly become unsustainable. But making the situation
even worse will be the changing nature of employment. Twentieth-century social insurance systems were set up to
address the risks met by people who worked in mass industrialized economies — ones in which there were
generally plenty of jobs available for all kinds of workers. Social insurance was aimed at guaranteeing income
security for those with stable jobs.
FULL TEXT
Headnote
Social Policy for a Digital Age
As advanced economies become more automated and digitized, almost all workers will be affected, but some
more than others. Those who have what the economists Maarten Goos and Alan Manning call “lovely jobs” will do
fine, creating and managing robots and various digital applications and adding lots of value in service sectors such
as finance. Those who have what Goos and Manning call “lousy jobs,” however-in sectors such as manufacturing,
retail, delivery, or routine office work-will fare less well, facing low pay, short contracts, precarious employment,
and outright job loss. Economic inequality across society as a whole is likely to grow, along with demands for
increased state expenditures on social services of various kinds-just as the resources to cover such expenditures
are dropping because of lower tax contributions from a smaller work force.
These trends will create a crisis for modern welfare states, the finances of which will increasingly become
unsustainable. But making the situation even worse will be the changing nature of employment. Twentieth-century
social insurance systems were set up to address the risks met by people who worked in mass industrialized
economies-ones in which there were generally plenty of jobs available for all kinds of workers. The basic
assumption behind them was that almost all adults would be steadily employed, earning wages and paying taxes,
and the government would step in to help take care of the unemployable- the young, the old, the sick and disabled,
and so forth. Social insurance-provided by the state in Europe and by the market in the United States-was aimed at
guaranteeing income security for those with stable jobs.
In twenty-first-century digital economies, however, employment is becoming less routine, less steady, and
generally less well remunerated. Social policy will therefore have to cover the needs of not just those outside the
labor market but even many inside it. Just as technological development is restructuring the economy, in other
words, so the welfare state will need to be restructured as well, to adapt itself to the conditions of the day.
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THE WORKING LIFE
The future of social policy will depend on how digitization changes the economy and employment. In the shift from
the industrial to the digital economy, many jobs and activities are being destroyed, but new wealth is also being
created. Robots are replacing humans in many situations, but new technologies and business models are
generating a vast array of new goods, services, and applications, as well as the jobs necessary to create and
operate them.
Technology doesn’t only allow old things to be done better and cheaper; it also opens up new potential business
models and the means to satisfy previously unidentified needs. Those who can intuit and develop such models
and satisfy such needs-entrepreneurs- are the kings of this new world, putting their talents to use in listening to
customers, identifying their unmet desires, and creating businesses to serve them. In such efforts, digital
technology is a means to an end, making businesses more scalable and customizable and increasing the return on
invested capital. Software and robots don’t do all the work in such operations; humans continue to play a crucial
role. But the nature of the human work involved often changes. Stable, longterm employment in routinized jobs is
often no longer necessary; formal and informal collaboration on temporary projects is more the norm.
A clear distinction between job and home life erodes, moreover, as work becomes ad hoc and can be done
anywhere, even as the so-called sharing economy marketizes a range of direct peer-to-peer transactions outside
standard corporate channels. People who can no longer find stable wage jobs look for ways to make ends meet
with gigs offered on the huge platforms of the on-demand economy. As those platforms expand, everybody can
sell things (on eBay), rent out a spare room (on Airbnb), perform a task (on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk), or share a
ride (on BlaBlaCar).
So why the need for a new social policy? Why not just rely on entrepreneurial activity to redeploy the work force
based on the new activities? Partly because various legal and regulatory barriers stand in the way of this brave
new world, barriers erected precisely to avoid a situation in which all of life becomes subject to market operationsbut also because there are plentiful dangers lurking, as well as opportunities. Innovation is the coin of the digital
realm, for example, and innovation is routinely accompanied by failure. The dynamism of the digital economy is
matched by its volatility. Few start-ups find a viable business model, let alone a sustained market. New companies
emerge out of nowhere but often crash as quickly as they have soared. The entrepreneurs at the head of such
operations may reap rich rewards during their brief time in the sun, but the same might not be true for their
employees lower down on the food chain, who absorb much of the same risk and churn without partaking of the
outsize benefits. So in the digital economy, a few lucky individuals will find significant or sustained income and
security, while many more unlucky ones will see their employers go bankrupt and have to seek new ways to make
ends meet. Many current social benefits, finally-such as pensions- are organized around the old economy, so
people transitioning to the new one end up sacrificing a lot.
Unless social policy evolves, therefore, automation and digitization will aggravate inequality and leave many
workers worse off than before. With proper innovations, however, new kinds of social policy can reduce inequality,
protect workers, and even promote job creation. The digital work force can be enabled and empowered, firms can
benefit from a more productive work force, and government can prove its relevance and effectiveness.
THE SEARCH FOR SECURITY
Some of the challenges future social policy will need to address are traditional, such as health care, old-age
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pension, and senior care. Others will have a new twist. Affordable housing, for example, is likely to become an
increasing concern, as the digitization of the economy concentrates economic activities in major cities,
aggravating the scarcity of real estate there. As the economist Enrico Moretti suggests in The New Geography of
Jobs, the real estate market in Silicon Valley offers a glimpse of how difficult it will become for most people to find
decent housing close to the dense innovation clusters where new jobs will be located.
The greatest challenge, however, will be dealing with mass intermittent employment, as most of the work force will
have to switch jobs relatively often and face temporary unemployment in between. For many today, the concept of
intermittent work carries with it a sense of dread or shame, but that is only because it is approached with
attitudinal baggage from the old economy. In the twenty-first century, stable, long-term employment with a single
employer will no longer be the norm, and unemployment or underemployment will no longer be a rare and
exceptional situation. Intermittence will increasingly prevail, with individuals serving as wage earners, freelancers,
entrepreneurs, and jobless at different stages of their working lives.
With twentieth-century social policies, such a career pattern would be a disaster, because many benefits would be
tied to certain kinds of jobs, and workers without those jobs might fall through the gaps in the social safety net.
The task of twenty-firstcentury social policy is to make a virtue of necessity, finding ways to enable workers to
have rich, full, and successful lives even as their careers undergo great volatility.
One commonly touted alternative approach to social policy is government provision of a universal, unconditional
basic income to all citizens. The idea, promoted, for instance, by the political economist Philippe Van Parijs, is to
pay each citizen a basic income that would guarantee access to basic necessary goods. This would guarantee
freedom for all, the argument runs, giving people the option of choosing the jobs and lives they truly wanted. Such
an approach would be both extremely expensive and insufficient, however. It would ensure that everyone had
some money in their pockets at the beginning of each month, but it wouldn’t ensure that they would choose or
even be able to afford decent health care or housing. Simply adding money to the demand side of the market
would not necessarily produce more or better results on the supply side. So while some form of increased
assistance may well be a necessary part of the puzzle, a guaranteed basic income does not amount to
comprehensive or effective social policy reform.
Another possible approach is government provision not of incomes but of jobs. Public job creation was a major
feature of the New Deal in the United States and similar programs elsewhere, and even today, there are some
cases in which it makes sense for public authorities to at least finance the cost of collectively useful jobs-for
example, in childcare, eldercare, education, and basic skills training. But governments have neither the means nor
the agility to supplant most entrepreneurial activity in the private sector, inventing and deploying new business
models that can trigger significant job creation in the digital economy.
Instead of attempting to replace or compete with entrepreneurs, governments should try to support and help themby eliminating the legal barriers that often stand in the way of creating and growing the businesses that can
provide jobs. In many places today, for example, existing fleets of taxis and taxi drivers cannot be replaced by
masses of occasional, on-demand drivers working for companies such as Uber or Lyft because of government
regulations that artificially limit the supply of transportation services. Modifying or abolishing such regulations
could lead to a virtuous circle in which the availability of more drivers would create greater demand for more
personalized or affordable services. And a similar process could take place in the health-care sector as well. In an
increasingly digitized economy, many routine health-care tasks that under current law require doctors could in fact
be accomplished by nurses supported by software and other technology. Regulatory reform could thus
simultaneously lower costs, increase employment, and improve health-care outcomes.
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The best approach to reforming social policy would be to build on the notion of “flexicurity,” which has long been a
popular model in the Nordic countries (especially Denmark) and the Netherlands. The essence of flexicurityshorthand for “flexible security”-is separating the provision of benefits from jobs. If the government can guarantee
citizens access to health care, housing, education and training, and the like on a universal basis without regard to
their employment status, the argument runs, people won’t be so terrified of switching jobs or losing a job. This, in
turn, would allow the government to deregulate labor markets, leaving decisions about hiring and firing of
employees to be made by firms themselves, according to economic logic. The result is greater efficiency,
dynamism, and productivity, all built around workers’ needs rather than on their backs.
Twentieth-century welfare states emerged from the trauma of the Great Depression, when it became clear that
cushioning mass publics from some of the harsher blows of unfettered markets was necessary to ensure
capitalism’s efficiency and its broader democratic legitimacy. Flexicurity approaches take matters a step further,
embodying a more social democratic notion that states and markets can and should work together to achieve a
greater public good that marries a healthy economy with a healthy society. In this view, government social policy
doesn’t just compensate for occasional market failures; it also works alongside markets to help sustain a flexible,
well-trained, highly productive work force. By assuming public responsibility for the mitigation of certain basic
kinds of risk-by dealing with health care, say, not at the level of an individual or a company but rather at the level of
society as a whole-such an activist approach actually fosters a more fluid and entrepreneurial economy, with all
the benefits that flow from that. In the end, therefore, the best recipe for social policy in a fast-paced, highly
competitive digital economy may ironically be one that involves more state activism than digital entrepreneurs
themselves usually favor-but activism that is more sensitive to and supportive of market mechanisms than
statists have often been in the past.
AuthorAffiliation
NICOLAS COLIN, a former senior civil servant in the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance, is Co-Founder
and Partner of TheFamily, an investment firm based in London and Paris.
BRUNO PALIER is CNRS Research Director at the Center for European Studies and Co-Director of the Laboratory
for Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Public Policies at Sciences Po.
DETAILS
Subject:
Social policy; Inequality; Employment; Social security
Location:
Europe United States–US
Classification:
9175: Western Europe; 9190: United States; 1200: Social policy; 1110: Economic
conditions &forecasts
Publication title:
Foreign Affairs; New York
Volume:
94
Issue:
4
Pages:
29-33
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Number of pages:
5
Publication year:
2015
Publication date:
Jul/Aug 2015
Publisher:
Council on Foreign Relations NY
Place of publication:
New York
Country of publication:
United Kingdom, New York
Publication subject:
Political Science–International Relations
ISSN:
00157120
CODEN:
FRNAA3
Source type:
Magazines
Language of publication:
English
Document type:
Feature
Document feature:
Photographs
ProQuest document ID:
1691576728
Document URL:
https://search.proquest.com/docview/1691576728?accountid=8289
Copyright:
Copyright Council on Foreign Relations NY Jul/Aug 2015
Last updated:
2017-11-22
Database:
ProQuest Central
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