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Joshin Raghubar: Shifting sands of techno-capitalism show need for a new social contract

Robots and Humans

Increasing decoupling of economic growth and labour absorption is creating insecurity and widening inequality

We are in a period of human and planetary transition. The techno-capitalist-driven decoupling of economic growth and labour absorption is accelerating, creating insecurity, widening inequality and despair.

The planet’s ecological system, which supports all life, is racing faster towards a tipping point of collapse. Species extinction is accelerating, coral reefs are bleaching, temperatures are rising and extreme weather patterns are more common.

We are at the mercy of complex and fragile economic, political, social and ecological systems with increasing volatility. The centre may not hold.

The social contract is the implicit “agreement” between the state, business and us, the people. We give up some individual rights to do as we please to gain other rights and societal benefits in welfare (economic wellbeing); liberty (freedom and security) and virtue (morality or values).

In the time of feudalism, the right of human usefulness, or the capacity to be productive, was directly tied to the land. As the transition to industrial techno-capitalism took place, this basic right became tied to the right to work or the right to a stable job. This resulted in various formulations of the modern social contract.

A precept of this social contract is that economic growth and associated paid work binds together the interests of the state, the people and private capital. The planet exists only to serve economic growth.

In this arrangement, governments are meant to create the environment for economic growth and job creation; business invests, innovates and continues to hire people; and people work, raise their families and pay their taxes. The state intervenes where necessary to maintain growth, with everyone else being satisfied with playing their part.

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Source: Business Day.
08 JUNE 2017 – 05:55 AM JOSHIN RAGHUBAR (Class IV: Kalipha)

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