World Affairs

A New and Improved Social Contract

March 15, 2022  • Aspen Ideas to Go

The industrial revolution and consequent terrible labor conditions sparked a wave of revolutions in Europe, and then a string of laws and protections for workers. As author and innovation expert Alec Ross describes it, we “rewrote the social contract.” But, Ross says, we may be due for another rewrite, as we transition from an industrial economy to one based on information and knowledge. He writes in his book, “The Raging 2020s: Companies, Countries, People – And the Fight For Our Future,” that some corporations have as much power as nations, government regulation is out of date, and workers have lost staggering amounts of wealth and agency. In this talk from the Society of Fellows at the Aspen Institute, Stephanie Mehta, editor in chief of Fast Company magazine, interviews Ross, a board partner at the venture capital firm Amplo and former innovation advisor for the State Department, about what went wrong and how we get back to equilibrium.

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