“Work, social protection and the middle classes: What future in the digital age?”, Bruno Palier (Sciences Po, France)

PALIER, Bruno. Work, social protection and the middle classes: What future in the digital age? International  Social Security  Review. September 2019, vol 72, n° 3, p. 113-133. 

The digitalization of the economy can be interpreted as an industrial revolution, a series of technological innovations associated with new practices and new business models. As for previous industrial revolutions, a phase involving the destruction of existing systems and structures is driving a profound transformation of the world of work and the development of new sectors of activity and new jobs, including changes in the labour market and in the types of jobs created. This puts into question the position of the middle classes, and presents new challenges for social protection. This article seeks to understand the impacts of digital technology on the economy and employment, including the phenomena of labour market polarization. It describes the new forms of employment and work and analyses the social risks and the likely ramifications for the middle classes in the digital age. In turn, new possibilities for social protection in the digital age are discussed. The article concludes that there is a need to re‐evaluate jobs that involve the provision of personal and care services, including to support social investment, to strengthen the future prospects of the weakened middle classes.

Find the full publication here.