At South by Southwest, the Aspen Institute convened a roundtable discussion on the future of work with Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, as part of the Aspen Initiative on the Future of Work, a year-long, bipartisan effort to identify concrete ways to strengthen the social contract in the midst of sweeping disruption to the workplace and workforce. This discussion helped to inform the Future of Work Initiative’s thinking on two challenges: first, what does the next social contract look like, given the rapidly growing on-demand economy; and second, how best to inspire a 21st-century capitalism for a 21st-century workforce by enabling and incentivizing employers to reduce inequality, help workers get ahead, and facilitate access to training, benefits, and protections to secure their futures. Natalie Foster, Aspen Institute Fellow, lead the conversation with Senator Warner.
The roundtable consisted of elected officials, entrepreneurs, corporate executives, investors, and advocates alike. The conversation focused on three main questions:
- What will work look like in the 21st century, and what challenges and opportunities do the sweeping changes of this era present to workers?
- What will business look like in the 21st century, and what challenges stand in the way of businesses considering long-term interests of both workers and business?
- What is the role of the government in the future of work? How can government policy encourage innovation, entrepreneurship, and shared prosperity?