A Progressive Politics of Work for the Age of Unpeace

What Labour can learn from the European centre-left

In today’s turbulent world, the concept of security takes on new dimensions, transcending global complexities to touch the lives of individuals everywhere. Who better to shape this narrative into political action than social democrats?

Security at work is not synonymous with stagnation; it’s about revitalising support for workers in a dynamic world. Centre-left governments are reinvigorating institutions and empowering workers and businesses to find common ground. Across Europe, social democrats are forging transformative agendas, best exemplified by Britain’s ‘securonomics’ championed by Rachel Reeves.

While discussions on the future of work often centre on technology, this study argues that work is fundamentally political. Political forces shape the contours of its future, particularly in a world grappling with a global pandemic and geopolitical shifts.

The ‘age of unpeace’ is marked by global interconnection, hostile competition, and the ever-present threat of confrontation. Social democrats in Europe and the UK must respond to this challenge. Through consultations with trade unions, experts, and social democratic representatives, a progressive politics of work is taking shape, addressing the complexities of continental war, geopolitical competition, climate crisis, deglobalisation, and increased state intervention.

This study offers recommendations for the British Labour Party and social democratic movements around Europe. It guides not only how the centre-left discusses work but also how it governs work in the future.