Democratising the Knowledge Economy: A Workshop with Roberto Mangabeira Unger

Hosted by the Department of Government

32L.B.07, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, United Kingdom

In his recent work, Roberto Mangabeira Unger, (leading philosopher and Brazilian Minister of Strategic Affairs under Presidents Lula and Dilma Roussef) explores how the contemporary knowledge economy has been ‘confined’ to small parts of the population, and to a minority of firms and places. This confinement he argues, helps to explain the interlocked crises of our time: stagnant productivity, rising inequality and political alienation. The emergence of an alternative will require not simply new forms of regulation and redistribution, but rather a thorough, democratising reconstruction of the institutions of the economy.

Over the past year, Unger has been working with Nesta to convene a set of discussions about concrete options for this democratisation. Their joint report, Democratising the Knowledge Economy, (to be published in March 2019) presents a set of policy proposals for the new forms of industrial policy, ownership, education and skills policy, social security, and democratic governance that could drive this transformation. The report will coincide with the release of a new book by Unger, published by Verso.

This workshop, organised by the LSE and Nesta, will bring Unger together with leading thinkers of the Left to explore what these ideas might mean in the present UK conjuncture. In particular, it will consider how they might contribute to the bold thinking emerging in and around the Labour Party on institutional transformation and economic alternatives.

Chair: Jonathan Hopkin

Commentators: Martin O'Neill
                             Lea Ypi