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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Social issues created by a network/digital transformation of society are coming to the forefront of political relations. Given such conditions, we are witnessing a large-scale renewal of social-professional structure, an escalation of social competition, an increase in social inequality, and a decline in the status of middle-class citizens. In the long run, the technological revolution might lead to a decrease in living standards for a significant part of the population of developed nations. Transformation of employment effectively undermines the current model for social policy, which has traditionally been built around creating new jobs and decreasing unemployment as the main objective of public administration. Since the turn of the century, the former balanced mechanism for developing social policy has been upset, and the equilibrium and stable social model is gradually deteriorating. The current model of a welfare state and social-political relations based on consolidated interests is at risk. All around the world modern advanced society relies on it and cannot adequately evolve without it. And one of the main objectives for a government would be making sure that social activity doesn’t lag behind the occurring changes. However, the current social policy model in a number of countries, including Russia, does not fully correspond with the process of rearrangement, since, given the conditions of a network society, social policy’s target groups tend to change. Forecasts of development within the social-labor realm are unfavorable for large groups of workers, who will have to deal with further polarization in terms of social standing and income, unless the government and society implement a set of effective measures. We are in need of alternative policy, based on coordinating the activities of the main participants of social-political relations. This will require a new political approach, aimed at providing a dynamic social balance, an increase in prosperity, and a decrease in poverty and inequality. Policy based on wider support, a broader resource base and increased opportunity for accomplishing relevant tasks seems to bear the most promise. Meanwhile the government needs to consolidate efforts, while performing an intermediary role in the respective system for making political decisions. Such a political network might result in increased social efficiency.
network society, digitalization, social policy, welfare state, social and political relations, management, employment, welfare, inequality
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