- July 14, 2020
On July 14, 2020, Aspen Germany hosted the first event of its series on “Tech and the Worker: Overcoming the Conundrums of the Great Decoupling.” The event focused on lessons from past industrial revolutions and featured presentations from Robert C. Allen, Global Distinguished Professor of Economic History at New York University in Abu Dhabi and Senior Research Fellow at Nuffield College in Oxford; Carl Benedikt Frey, Oxford Martin Citi Fellow and Director of the Programme on the Future of Work at Oxford Martin School; and Jürgen Kocka, Professor Emeritus of Social History and the Free University of Berlin and former President of the Social Science Research Center Berlin. The event explored parallels to past industrial revolutions, all of which have had three large effects: breakneck progress in productivity, social upheaval, and massive concentrations of wealth (and political power). The speakers considered the mid-18th and late 19th century industrial revolutions, in addition to the immediate post-Cold War economic boom. Questions that were explored the participants include: how can lessons from the past help us understand the current technological revolution? What are the historical conditions, policy successes, failures, insights, and myths from the past that will help equip policymakers for the deep digital age?
This workshop was off-the-record and took place in English. It is hosted in partnership with Microsoft and is part of the workshop series entitled “Tech and the Worker: Overcoming the Conundrums of the Great Decoupling,” which consists of the following sessions: 1) Lessons from Past Industrial Revolutions; 2) Rethinking the Social Contract; 3) Automation and the Education Cycle; and 4) Opening Up the Policy Maker’s Toolbox. These discussions ultimately aim to answer the questions: How can Europe, the U.S. and other industrial powers thrive in the face of the great decoupling? How can public policy efforts work to preserve and deepen the dignity of work and meaningful economic participation in the deep digital age?