Kevin Rudd: Globalization and Automation Require a 'New Social Contract'

The backlash against globalization resulting from economic insecurity, as exemplified by the U.K.'s decision to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump in the United States, calls for a new “social contract,” says Asia Society Policy Institute President Kevin Rudd.

Speaking Tuesday afternoon in an address broadcast on Facebook Live, Rudd said that if globalization is to be sustained, countries must find a way to mitigate the fallout in regions and populations whose jobs, wages, and living standards suffer as a result. “This is the core question of whether you can have economic globalization, but tempered by a genuine social contract that takes out the sharpest edges in the lives of human beings,” he said.

Rudd also noted that while globalization is often gets cited for creating economic insecurity, much of the problem stems from advances in information technology and automation, which are rapidly reducing demand for human workers. “This trend will continue,” he said. “This is a profound phenomenon occurring across Western economies, and very soon Eastern economies, including China.”

“That is fueling so much of the political sentiment being raged against mainstream political parties around the world,” he added. “Until we bring a new social contract, regionally and globally where necessary, the forces of polarization to the far left and far right are likely to continue.”

In the above video, Rudd discusses globalization, trade, and U.S. relations with China, Russia, and the United Nations under Donald Trump.

About the Author

Profile picture for user Eric Fish

Eric Fish was a Content Producer at Asia Society New York and is author of the book China's Millennials: The Want Generation.