• B-2, GF, Nizamuddin East, New Delhi 110 013


Conference: Future of Work, Future of Social Security

Four major changes have shaken the way work and welfare is organized in last few decades. These changes are: technological progress[1], demographic change, globalisation and value changes[2].  Across the world there is a renewed search to reconfigure the institutions to respond to these changes. The challenges experienced in the Global North and South are different. On the one hand, artificial intelligence, robotics etc provide an opportunity for advanced industrial countries to build on the knowledge and technological base they already have created. On the other hand, these new challenges may give an opportunity for emerging economies to leapfrog towards new developments through these technologies. In both contexts of advanced industrial economies and emerging economies, the impact on human emancipation, and potential for the state to facilitate citizens to achieve meaning and happiness seems to be changing significantly. This requires deliberations involving academia, industrialists and representatives of the state.

It was Hannah Arendt[3] who made the classical distinction between work and labour. Work was defined as a creative area where human being realized his/her potential, while labour was defined as necessity to meet needs of biological existence. We are interested to understand the four drivers mentioned above – technology, demography, globalization and value changes – shaping work and labour in the future. A key change that is evident connecting all the four drivers is automation. Technology facilitates automation. Demographic changes demand automation as the availability of skilled labour for the emerging technology is extremely skewed. Globalisation has the potential to move production processes with seamless borders considering the demographic profile of region and ability to handle the emerging technologies. Finally, automation is also factor susceptible to value changes in society such as work-life integration, more women entering into labour market and so on. In other words, redesigning labour market institutions (minimum wage, health and safety at work place, continued skilling of working population, protection of employment) seems to be inevitable to respond to these challenges.

The convening universities of this conference are interested to understand how social security arrangements could be resilient to these changes in the world of work. Social security system, based on employee-employer relationship, is experiencing seismic changes as the worker status is being challenged through technology-based work, platform economy and many other forms of non-standard contractual works. Multi-employer works are posing challenges to traditional tax system that financed social security in traditional life-cycle challenges. Indian economy has over 90% of labour force in the informal economy. Many workers in agriculture sector has moved to the new platform based work such as food delivery workers, cab aggregators etc. On the other hand, in Nordic countries, the existing institutional arrangements of social security are grappling with new challenges, particularly dealing with migrants in inclusive manner.

About the Event

The event is organised with an aim to develop a larger research project. The event is organised by a consortium including Oslo Metropolitan University, University of Helsinki, South Denmark University and Institute of Public Policy, National Law School of India University, Bangalore. The event is supported by Nordic Centre in India and the event will be held in Delhi during 1-2 March 2023 at India International Centre, New Delhi. Apart from the paper presentations, panel discussions with industrial partners, and networking dinner are also planned as part of two day event. 

If you would like to attend this event, please email to: FoWConference@nordiccentreindia.com

[1] Rodrik, D. (2016), “Premature deindustrialisation”, Journal of Economic Growth, Vol. 21/1, pp. 1-33.

[2]OECD (2016b), New Forms of Work in the Digital Economy, Technical Report prepared for the 2016 Ministerial Meeting on the Digital Economy, OECD Publishing, Paris.

[3]The Human Condition (1958) Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Download PDF