This conference was held three months into the coronavirus pandemic lockdown in the UK. Most participants were living within government-imposed lockdowns in their respective countries. Instead of a three-day conference held at Ditchley Park, participants from the UK, France, Germany, Canada, the US and Singapore took part in Ditchley’s first full four-day virtual conference from their homes and offices.
The conference was part of Ditchley’s Virtual Programme, ongoing since April, and was a key event before the Annual Lecture and launch of the Ditchley Summer Project. The pandemic has accelerated the pace of change, creating opportunities for governments and citizens to respond to urgent challenges. To that end, the upcoming Ditchley Summer Project will aim to connect thousands of outstanding individuals who have participated in Ditchley over the last two decades.
The theme of economic insecurity, connected to the renewal of democracies, will be an important thread throughout these Ditchley Summer Project discussions.
Context and why this was important
We defined economic insecurity as a lack of a stable income or confidence in maintaining an adequate standard of living. Alongside increasing economic inequality and a concentration of wealth in fewer hands, there has also been an increase in the numbers of a people that live with, and experience, economic insecurity. Without job security or a steady income, a growing proportion of workers are at greater risk to temporary shocks to their finances or simply live with financial uncertainty.
The coronavirus crisis has led to an unprecedented government-led reduction in economic activity across the world, in order to contain the pandemic and save lives. Much more than a shock, the long-term economic damage is likely to entrench pre-existing trends to intensify economic insecurity. With business failures and increased unemployment, many more people, regions and even countries may face increased economic insecurity. The UK’s economy, dependent on globalised supply chains and service and tourism sectors, is predicted, amongst OECD countries, to be particularly at risk.
This conference brought together analysis of the longer-term drivers of economic insecurity with discussion of the ways economic insecurity has been extended and exacerbated by the pandemic. The current health and economic crisis is happening just one decade after the financial crisis, which created economic insecurity for many. Further crises related to climate change and even geopolitical instability may follow, at a time when the digital revolution is forcing further economic transition, creating new opportunities for wealth creation but also the risk of deeper economic insecurity. This conference discussed the implications for global economic cooperation and what citizens can expect from national governments in terms of the provision of safety nets and in enabling economies to deliver more security.
It became clear in the discussion that the balance between economic security and competitiveness in a global context was also a balance between the rights of citizens in developing countries to make economic gains from the globalised economy and the rights of citizens in western economies to forms of economic security. The challenge is to find ways to share both prosperity and economic security and to define the implications for the globalised economy. The pandemic was seen as an opportunity to re-think the course of economic insecurity – to understand the future of work, the role of technology and to match with modern forms of welfare; rebuild the power of community, civil society and localism; define stakeholder capitalism; and finally, deliver on retraining and lifelong learning and to define the goals of global cooperation, steering towards mechanisms that will deliver them.
New economic insecurity is real and will shape political landscapes across the globe. In such a moment, politics is up for grabs. Many actors are working to define the contested moments for change that are now upon us. The bold economic support that was offered in responses to the pandemic could prefigure equally bold international financial engineering to recover debt and rebalance the transfers of wealth between the generations.
There was consensus in the conference that the agenda is substantial, with opportunities for both radical change and for more targeted goals around tax or care reform and enforcing basic standards and rights. The coronavirus pandemic was said to pose a supreme test – the most significant in the post-war period – for liberal democracies.
Chaired by Dame Sara Thornton, the UK’s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, the conference brought together campaigners for social security; senior journalists from the UK and the US; directors of leading charitable foundations with a long history of engagement in health, poverty and outcomes for children; post-graduate researchers, academics and research directors in global economics from the US, UK and Canada; entrepreneurs and operators in the platform economy and in the more established private sector; expertise in skills and training; leadership from think tanks in the UK and Singapore concerned with new economic thinking; expertise in banking from Europe; those with multilateral interests in social protection; and UK politicians.
Analysis – what is economic insecurity?
Economic insecurity is most obviously related to forms of employment (temporary, part-time, piece rates, self-employed, outsourced, zero hours contracts) that offer more flexibility in some instances but less long-term security than regulated waged or salaried jobs supported by pension rights and social insurances have done in the past. It is a form of employment that is often linked to technology platforms, deregulated labour and short-term contracts but is also part of a picture of the general uncertainty of work as a foundation to plan for life.
Participants spent some time working through definitions of economic insecurity. Many agreed that economic insecurity is experienced and felt, not just by those in low pay but by an ever-growing proportion of people who worry about their ability to recover from a financial hit, a loss or reduction in income. Economic insecurity (although related) is distinct from issues of inequality or poverty. It is a moving and evolving target: it reflects generational expectations and confidence, for example, of safety nets provided by the state, confidence in a social contract that says work will deliver a basic standard of living and confidence in choices to save and plan pensions. In-work poverty, long-hours at work, disproportionately high costs of housing and childcare, a hostile process to obtain state benefits, limited scope to save and unregulated exploitation of labour, heighten insecurity. The ‘gig economy’ is often associated with survival characteristics: adaptability and resilience to cope with freedom, uncertainty, sometimes intense demand but also insecurity.
Widespread economic insecurity points to structural causes. Western economies were said to be over-reliant on consumer debt. Current models of deregulated globalisation have incentivised insecurity with people encouraged to live at the margins of what they can afford. Cheap consumer choice is king. The prevalence of modern slavery hidden within (the supply chains of) modern economies suggests a continuum between exploitative employment and slavery. The ILO estimates suggest that 40 million people worldwide are victims of modern slavery.
Economic insecurity exists, it was argued, not by accident but by design; countries can decide as a matter of policy the levels of security and the social policies they want. Insecurity was said to be the result of the current model of globalisation, public policy and the impacts of technology.
Insecure forms of work, the gig economy and the digital market, were said to bring positives such as greater autonomy, flexibility and potential for an increase in participation in the labour market through work that allows for people with caring roles, and freedom from a tyranny of fixed working times and places. For some, the gig economy prefigures the way work is changing. Categories of workers and types of work may be less clear cut in future than they have been in the past. The longer-term trends towards greater and more extensive insecurity are a feature of modern labour markets. But the forces of globalisation, technology and rigours of competition are not the only drivers.
The role of public policy in monetary, fiscal, employment and social policy interacts to shape economic security. The challenge is not just to build safety nets for these new patterns of work but to determine the level of economic security societies want and how to deliver it. The pandemic raises the prospect of far greater economic insecurity, but the responses by governments have also given us glimpses as to how insecurity might be managed differently.
June 2020 and the lockdowns around the world are beginning to give way to a gradual economic re-opening. Expectations of a global recession are widespread. It seems inevitable that such a recession will intensify certain kinds economic insecurity and create new ones. But the trajectory of the pandemic and its impacts are still unfolding amid much uncertainty. The conference framed a discussion of how the crisis has affected our understanding of economic insecurity – its causes, new dangers and the measures and actions we could press for from the international community, governments, corporations and citizens. We explored four scenarios:
A Passing storm – the pandemic is well managed by national governments and improved national coordination. Before too long previous drivers reassert themselves and the world goes back to somewhere close to where it was before.
Public and private partnership – the move to stakeholder capitalism is accelerated by partnership between government and corporations and a rebalancing of capital and labour. The economy gradually recovers but to a level that delivers greater economic security for global populations and in ways that address other global crises such as climate change.
East-West tensions grow – Asian countries manage the crisis better than the West and re-emerge first into the economy as global leaders. The pandemic is severe and prolonged in the West. Tension over blame for the pandemic increases. Trade wars continue and supply chains shift.
Each nation for itself – nationalism and isolation increase, and the pandemic is poorly managed and recurrent. Multilateralism falters. The global economy continues to shrink, and globalisation is in retreat.
Effects of pandemic on economic insecurity
Social divides: It was clear to all that the pandemic and the lockdown response had exposed the fragility of modern just-in-time economies with their brittle and extenuated supply chains. It was also clear that a light had been shone on some of our values and expectations, such as ubiquitous consumer choice. Our perceptions of present and future risks have been heightened: the pandemic has increased awareness of the hazards of modern life.
The victims of economic insecurity have always been there – hiding in plain sight. They have just become less easy to ignore. They are the ‘frontline’ workers on whom everyone now depends: the carers, nurses, delivery drivers, bus drivers, refuse collectors, postal workers and shop workers. Again, it is now plain that those who experience economic insecurity are also those, in this current crisis, facing most risk. The divide between professionals – able to stay at home, socially distance and work, keeping jobs and salaries – and those exposed to greater risks, has been laid bare.
The health and care workers who are insecure (for example migrant workers subject to the NHS surcharge, now scrapped) or without recourse to public funds, are those upon whom society depends. The shift on-line left households without digital connectivity reliant on mobile phones, limiting the ability of families to work or study. The higher death rates amongst black and ethnic minority ‘frontline’ workers revealed a racial dimension to insecurity.
Sectoral divides: Many businesses have been able to shift on-line and most technology companies were there already. The service and hospitality sectors of the economy, already insecure (short-term, seasonal), have been hit especially hard. And economic insecurity has hit new groups of people now unable to work or whose incomes are newly reduced. The economic impact of lockdown is not yet fully visible: once the Chancellor’s support schemes are tapered off, it is likely that companies will shed costs and staff and may default on government bounce-back loans.
The economic support provided by the government may not then be, for many companies and industry sectors, a bridge to post-Covid recovery as intended. Previous company commitments to reducing slavery within supply chains are being deprioritised. Despite (or because of) the gig economy, the UK has avoided mass unemployment, but it is, some argued, now a risk.
Multilateralism and globalisation: Responses to the pandemic have seen a turn towards the nation-state as the most effective operational level of governance, the level that manages health care systems, financial bail outs and public communications. This turn has revealed new uncertainties about the reliance on multilateral institutions to coordinate and contribute to response and recovery. A global recession could reinforce aspects of nationalism and protectionism, and precipitate division into economic blocs or even, for some, a decoupling of the world’s superpowers.
Globalisation is blamed, by some, for economic insecurity in western countries. The recent period of wage stagnation has been the longest in 150 years. This, and a drop in the economic value of defined pensions, has fuelled insecurity. The justified fear of a decline in living standards and downward social mobility has driven anti-globalisation sentiment. Threats now loom for white collar workers. And with debt overhangs, governments face difficult decisions over which sectors of the economy to support and which to let go.
A technological obviation of low-skilled jobs supported by public policy has incentivised a globalisation that is seen to have disproportionately benefited elites. As we have seen, these inequalities have been reinforced by the pandemic. Elites have kept their jobs and salaries and can maintain social distancing. These outcomes could deepen the pre-existing anger seen in Western liberal democracies. Those in the lower half of the skills distribution have seen the wage-return-to-human-capital stagnate, while those at the higher end have seen much greater rewards.
And yet, the experience of globalisation in emerging economies has been very different. For example, despite inequalities, India has seen an increase in all wage levels. There was said to be greater economic optimism in the developing world. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic was predicted to be more structural in the West than in the East and global South (although India is witnessing very high levels of infection and death).
There is, it was argued, a clash between ‘rights’ of economic development in emerging economies (many of which provide little or no social protection) and the ‘rights’ of economic support for those in the West whose incomes have declined. The solution will be to somehow balance these rights.
The power of the nation-state:Participants noted that the radical measures taken by the UK government to support the economy with ‘whatever it takes’, has shown publics that previous dismissals of ‘magic money trees’ were political choices. The realisation that the heft of the state is actually the only game in town in times of crisis, may raise public expectations. If the homeless can be taken off the street and workers furloughed, then new forms of safety nets are within reach. The survival of the fittest in a gig economy, with consumer choice as king, is not the only story. Consumer rights to buy, whatever, whenever at cheapest possible price can be balanced by rights for better working conditions, more democracy in workplaces and greater economic security for workers throughout global supply chains.
A reservoir of kindness: The pandemic has also shown a greater potential for social solidarity – a propensity for people to care for each other without falling back on financial transactions. Social solidarity takes features of the sharing economy, the gift economy and non-market-based social relations. Pre-pandemic, we tended to rely on each other only via the market. In coping with the crisis, people are helping each other in all sorts of inventive, non-financial ways. This response has shown a latent reservoir of kindness, a social solidarity that may prefigure the kinds of societal changes people want.
Democratic futures: Within the context of globalisation and the digital revolution, it was said that governments are required to shape well-functioning markets and channel resources to manage new economic insecurities, as well as prepare for future crises. Security relies on much more than government assistance: cash in the pocket is not enough. People need to engage, trade and exchange. The current inflection point was described as huge: will common vulnerabilities force worldwide cooperation? Will benefits from automation accrue to all? Will the primary insecurities we face in future be from climate and nature rather than from each other? Or will trust in authority breakdown further; will there be more division between East and West, increasing insecurity and ever more inequality?
Is this pandemic an inflection point? Is it a moment in which to change course and create more economic security? Can we reconcile economic and social value? Such challenges will inevitably be contested. Where will the leadership for a greater good come from?
Is there public demand and political will for change and what preparation is necessary? There was nervousness that the pressure to restart the economy will simply override aims to improve the quality of working lives. Yet, expectations are high. Government packages to prompt an economic recovery could help set in train fairer employment practices, incentivise environmental priorities for new infrastructure in ways that resonate with post-World War II ambitions for reconstruction.
This conference began to sketch out an agenda -
Rebalance value and rewards: The split between the work that society values (essential jobs, low paid) and what society rewards (professional salaries), was pointed out repeatedly. Will more attention now be paid to the position of marginal workers, the working poor and levels of household income? Can teachers, nurses, care workers and other frontline workers be paid more? Will the care sector finally be reformed?
Reduce the cost of living: A policy focus on minimum wage has distracted from ‘wage progression’. Years spent existing on minimum wage without progression adds to insecurity. Raising national living wage in the UK has not reduced in-work poverty, according to some participants. The cost of living is a factor of economic insecurity, particularly housing and childcare costs. There is a bigger picture in which to set measures to reduce insecurity.
Post 18 education and lifelong learning: Reskilling is needed (and within a generation) to prepare for the continued technologically driven changes in the labour market. Governments and companies have impetus to address the skills mismatch that pre-existed the pandemic and that may become even more acute. Significant numbers of apprentices have been furloughed and may be made redundant over coming months. Reskilling is at a turning point. There is an opportunity to redesign training and life-long learning and in ways that include people’s lived experience. (Adults learn in ways that are different from 18-year olds.) The Skills Future scheme in Singapore will direct additional resource to those economic sectors affected by Covid-19. Demand for new pathways for learning and training is growing and the case for a new approach to lifelong learning is irresistible, according to a number of participants.
Changes in tax and insurance: The gaming of the international regulation of tax systems by major corporations was a pressing concern at this conference. The industry that has grown to support tax evasion and avoidance was described as a glaring problem. Will aspirations to reward frontline workers be matched by a greater willingness amongst the population to pay more tax? Can tax systems and new ways of pooling risk be invented? The pyramid model of pensions was described as broken – innovation in insurance systems will be needed. Some companies will come out of the crisis in a better position than others.
Public private partnerships: Expectations of the relationship between government and business are changing. Reforming poor business practices and retraining require leadership. Partnerships can drive productivity gains through better use of technology, increasing standards and creating access to jobs. Governments have at their disposal various tools they can apply when engaging with business. For example, subsidies to support innovation, training and R&D and, it was suggested, more could be done to price the externalities that benefit business. Expectations can be attached to public investment. Local partnerships between local government and businesses were said to create effective alignments of local interests with the use of buildings, land, rent, rates and employment practices by key public institutions to benefit local economies.
Preparedness and problem solving: There is much to learn from past crises. The HIV epidemic, terrible as it was, was thought to have some outcomes that were deemed positive: a transformation in public attitudes towards the gay community and better leadership within this community. In contrast, the 2008 financial crash did not lead to positive change. Failures to hold bailed-out businesses to account, poor auditing and low accountability allowed for public wealth extraction. These lessons should inform the lessons learned from this pandemic for future preparedness and a replenishing of problem-solving capabilities of the nation state and civil society.
The future of multilateralism was central to this discussion. Questioned by some in relation to weakened legitimacy and perceived failures in the global response to the coronavirus, it was defended by others as fundamentally necessary to visions of a global science (upon which vaccines and medicine depend) and to longer-term goals to regulate globalisation in order to exclude child labour and slavery from economic systems.
A crucial division was over how to achieve a worldwide exclusion of exploitative labour from global economic systems. For some, international regulation of labour can only be achieved via global cooperation. International labour laws set by multilateral institutions would provide social protection. For others, these objectives of multilateralism might be achieved in other ways. Multilateralism had lost some legitimacy and required more modest renewal for example via bilateral collaborations or a sharing of principles between like-minded nations. This kind of collaboration would, it was argued, provide the basis for the application of tariffs to make up prices of goods from national economies that use exploited labour. Such collaboration might also be the basis for countries to align on shifting the source of tax to balance wage equilibrium.
The ideal of global collaboration was underpinned by a fundamental argument that companies are in competition with each other but that nations are not. This was countered by an analysis that says that countries are now competing. Globalisation, it was argued, was an idea ahead of its time and one that has been set back by the emergence of Chinese state-owned enterprises which raise the prospect of national competition. Such competition, it was argued, could be corrected by tariffs to protect industries and companies. International relations in future must, it was suggested, manage competition as well as collaboration.
The hope that the recovery from the pandemic might be an inflection point for fundamentally altering the course of economic insecurity was said to be fraught with risks, such as:
- The barriers presented by incrementalism and inertia within existing systems;
- The reassertion of the disproportionate power of vested interests;
- The risks of unemployment reducing confidence to make change;
- The effects of variable insecurities caused by different national and sectoral exits;
- Transitions not being well managed and economic insecurity increasing in particular areas and regions;
- The default of top-down solutions smothering bottom-up change;
- The heightening of international tension being used to divert economic resources into military spending;
- The retreat from global supply chains leading to less consumer choice and increased disappointment.
Finally, and most critically, it was said that any moves towards an uncoupling of the economies of the US and China will have negative implications for the rest of the world.
The action and planning needed now, according to participants, should re-frame and define new expectations: what does stakeholder capitalism mean? Can the limits for business protection, government safety nets and individual responsibility be newly defined? A distinction between short-term measures by the state to ‘put their arms around everyone’ could give way to longer-term transition to leadership from local government, businesses and communities.
Is there sufficient will to increase basic standards and enforcement, and to invest in shielding families from insecurity? Is there a rationale for governments not to prop up failing businesses that only survive through poor and exploitative practices, but rather to create space and incentives for new businesses to emerge, using all the levers of procurement, regulation and enforcement, and the setting of new norms? Can the government define bailout agendas and set out requirements for what is wanted in return and will these be monitored, audited and accounted for? Can government facilitate a national plan for education and retraining, incentivising businesses and education providers to innovate and match skills and demand?
Different national experiences of pandemic management will provide lessons. All countries entered the crisis in the same way but are exiting it differently. There is scope for international collaboration to understand determinants of recovery and to consider options for financial engineering for debt recovery and to remedy intergenerational transfers of debt/wealth. The use of technology to drive up productivity and address transitional challenges will be important. Can nations share their strategies for the adoption of artificial intelligence?
For some, there is now a convincing case for a basic universal income conceived in terms of modern welfare. It was said that the response to the pandemic has created a singular opportunity to learn from all the national experiments currently underway in different schemes of national support and to determine the models for modern welfare that work.
The global pandemic has laid bare the unpreparedness of states, and the weaknesses within systems and sectors. This was a recurring point throughout the conference. (As, when the tide goes out, we can see the litter on the beach, and we can see who has been ‘skinny dipping’.) Economic insecurity is a consequence of political choices, but there is not one designer; trends in globalisation, technology, public policy and responses to recent crises are combined in modern economic insecurity.
The demand for greater economic security existed before the pandemic in the political language calling for addressing the needs of the ‘just about managing’, ‘the left behind’ and ‘the many not the few’. The good corporation agenda signalled private sector interest in rethinking the responsibility of corporations and the environmental, social and governance agenda.
In some ways, the future, post-crisis, is being prefigured in the ways we are currently coping with working from home; greater use of technology; the reduction in travel and the combining of work and caring (at home). We have seen an assertion of social value and social solidarity. There is much greater appreciation for essential but low-paid work. The state has stepped in to provide protection to businesses and workers.
The collective sacrifice in conforming to the requirement to lockdown has been impressive. There may be greater willingness to ‘live with less’ or pay more tax. The environmental gains from lockdown were obvious to many. In concert with the support given by local government to local initiatives, is there now an opportunity for more power to be devolved?
Will this moment be the inflection point many crave?
This Note reflects the Director’s personal impressions of the conference. No participant is in any way committed to its content or expression.
CHAIR: Dame Sara Thornton DBE QPM
Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner (2019-). Formerly: Chair, The National Police Chiefs' Council (2015-19); Chief Constable, Thames Valley Police (2007-15); Vice President, Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) (2011-15); Vice Chair, ACPO Terrorism and Allied Matters for the South East of England and Director, Police National Assessment Centre (2010-15); Chair, Intelligence Portfolio, ACPO (2003-07); Assistant Chief Constable Specialist Operations, then Deputy Chief Constable and Acting Chief Constable, Thames Valley Police (2000-07); Metropolitan Police Service (1986-2000); Security Service (1984-86).
Ms Sarah Doyle
Director of Policy and Research, Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Toronto; Board of Directors and Chair, Integration Task Force, The Neighbourhood Group and St. Stephen's Community House. Formerly: Senior Manager, Centre for Impact Investing, MaRS Discovery District; Policy Analyst, Privy Council Office; Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Dr Andrew Sharpe
Executive Director, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, Ottawa; founder and Editor, International Productivity Monitor; co‑developer (with Lars Osberg), composite Index of Economic Well‑being; consultant to the World Bank on labour market issues; Executive Director, International Association for Research on Income and Wealth. Formerly: Head of Research, Canadian Labour Market and Productivity Centre; Chief, Business Sector Analysis, Department of Finance.
Mr John Stackhouse
Senior Vice President, Office of the CEO, Royal Bank of Canada; Senior Fellow, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto; Senior Fellow, C.D. Howe Institute, Toronto; Board of Trustees, Queen's University, ON. Formerly: Editor-in-Chief, The Globe and Mail (2009-14); Business Editor, The Globe and Mail (2004-09). Member of the Advisory Committee, The Canadian Ditchley Foundation.
Ms Valérie Schmitt
Deputy Director, Social Protection Department (2017‑) and Chief, Social Policy, Governance and Standards Branch, Social Protection Department (2014‑), International Labor Organization, Geneva. Formerly: various roles, International Labor Office (2003‑10); consultant in social protection, Jalma, France (1998‑2003).
Dr Martin Heipertz
Sherpa‑designate to the CEO, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) (German state‑owned development bank, at the forefront of German national effort to stem the economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis) (Summer 2020‑). Formerly: Head, European Policy Division, Federal Ministry of Finance, Berlin (2014‑20); Adviser to European Peoples' Party lead candidate, Jean‑Claude Juncker (2014); Private Secretary to State Secretary, Dr Thomas Steffen, Federal Ministry of Finance, Berlin
(2012‑14); Deputy Private Secretary to Federal Minister of Finance, Dr Wolfgang Schäuble, German Federal Ministry of Finance, Berlin (2010‑11); Senior Officer, Board of Directors, European Investment Bank, Luxembourg (2009‑10); Member of Policy Planning Staff, European Affairs Unit, Federal Ministry of Defence (2008‑09); Deputy Head of Economic and Fiscal Affairs Division, International Civilian Office in Kosovo (2008); Economist, European Affairs and Fiscal Policy, European Central Bank, Frankfurt (2004‑08).
Mr Garrett Cassidy FRSA
Co‑Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Trezeo, London (2016‑); Fellow, Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (2019‑); Managing Director, Abarta Consulting, Dublin (2014‑). Formerly: Managing Director, Circle, Dublin (2014‑15); Programme Director, among other roles, Bank of Ireland (2006‑12); Programme Manager, Bank of Ireland Global Markets (2002‑06).
Ms Aileen Brown Cuevas
MBA Candidate, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford (2019‑20). Formerly: Director of Macroeconomic Research (2017‑19), Deputy Director of Investor Relations and Financial Market Analysis (2015‑17), Ministry of Finance, Mexico; Advisor, Banamex Citigroup, Mexico City (2015); Research Assistant, Central Bank of Mexico (2014); Project Leader and Government Relations, Crece México (microlending financial institution), Mexico City (2013‑14).
Mr Poon King Wang
Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD): Director, Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities; head, Smart Cities Lab; head, Future Digital Economies and Digital Societies initiative; Senior Director of Strategic Planning; World Economic Forum's Expert Network on Cities and Urbanization; Board member, Live with AI; lead author, "Living Digital 2040: Future of Work, Education, and Healthcare". Formerly: Economic Development Board; Agency for Science, Technology and Research; Competition Commission of Singapore; head of business analytics at one of Singapore's largest banks.
Dr Kim Nilsson
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Pivigo, London; named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2018, and one of the Top 50 Most Influential Women in IT in the UK; Advisory board member, Corndel. Formerly: Hubble Astronomer, Munich; Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg.
Trinidad & Tobago/UK/USA
Mr Damien Smith FRSA
Deputy Director of Research (Economics), Economic and Social Research Council (2020‑). Formerly: Senior Policy Advisor, Future of Work, Department for Work and Pensions (2015‑20); Senior Policy Advisor, Deputy Prime Minister's Office (2014‑15); Senior Policy Advisor, Cities Policy Unit, Cabinet Office (2011‑14); Economic Advisor (Recession Response), Department for Work and Pensions (2009‑11); Economic Advisor (Disability and Work), Department for Work and Pensions (2008‑09).
Mr Lionel Barber
Financial Times: Editor (2005‑20). Formerly: Managing Editor, United States (2002‑05); European Editor (2000‑02); News Editor (1998‑2000); Brussels Bureau Chief (1992‑98); Washington Correspondent (1986‑92).
Ms Helen Barnard
Acting Director, Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2020‑). Formerly: Deputy Director of Policy and Partnerships (2018‑20); Head of Analysis (2016‑20).
Jo Bibby PhD
Director of Health, Health Foundation. Formerly: Head of NHS Performance; 'Pursuing Perfection' initiative, NHS Modernisation Agency; Director, Calderdale and Kirklees Integrated Service Strategy; Non‑executive Director, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust (2013‑17).
Professor Colin Crouch FBA
Emeritus Professor (former Chair, 2005‑11), International Centre for Governance and Public Management, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick; External Scientific Member, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne.
Ms Anna Feuchtwang
Chief Executive, National Children's Bureau (2014‑); Chair, End Poverty Coalition; member, UK Trauma Council; Commissioner, Fawcett Commission on Gender Stereotyping in Early Childhood; member, Nominations Committee, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health; co‑Chair, Lambeth Early Action Partnership Board. Formerly: Chief Executive, EveryChild (2004‑14); Chair, British Overseas NGOs for Development (BOND); Head of Communications, Oxfam (1993‑99); Chair and Trustee, ActionAid UK (2001‑04); Public Affairs and Communications Director, London Government (2001‑04).
Dr Paul G.K. Little FRSE
Principal and Chief Executive, City of Glasgow College; Ambassador for World Skills UK for Scotland; Council member, Scottish Funding Council; member, International Advisory Council, Asia Scotland Institute; Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Formerly: Principal and Chief Executive, Central College Glasgow; Acting Director and Chief Executive, Southern Regional College, Northern Ireland; Principal and Chief Executive, Queen's Award‑winning Armagh College of Further and Higher Education; Principal, Limavady College.
The Rt Hon the Lord Mandelson
Life Peer, House of Lords; Chairman, Global Counsel LLP, London; Chair, board of trustees, Design Museum (2017‑); Chancellor, Manchester Metropolitan University (2016‑). Formerly: First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Lord President of the Council (2009‑10); Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (2008‑09); Commissioner for Trade, European Commission, Brussels (2004‑08); Member of Parliament (Labour) for Hartlepool (1992‑2004); Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1999‑2001); Secretary of State for Trade & Industry (1998); Minister without Portfolio, Cabinet Office (1997‑98). A Member of the Council of Management and a Governor of The Ditchley Foundation.
Ms Helen McCarthy
Head of Policy, Consumer Finance Association (2014‑). Formerly: Senior Policy Officer, Citizen's Advice (2012‑13); Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, Bank of America (2011‑12); Director of Public Affairs, Prudential UK and Europe (2008‑10); Head of Insurance, HM Treasury (2000‑03); Policy Advisor, Department of Social Security (1993‑2000).
Ms Anna Morrison CBE
Director & founder, Amazing Apprenticeships, Youth Employment Group (YEG) Covid‑19; Member, Association of Education & Learning Providers (AELP); member and programme lead, Good to Great, Skills Advisory Board; member, Global Apprenticeship Network; member, Non‑Executive Director, Sporting Futures.
Mrs Frances Northrop
Associate Fellow, New Economics Foundation; Director, Totnes Community Development Society.
Mr Matthew Taylor CBE FAcSS
Chief Executive, Royal Society of Arts (2006‑). Formerly: Chair, Review of Modern Employment (Taylor Review report, 'Good Work', published in 2017); Chief Adviser on Political Strategy to Prime Minister Tony Blair; Director, Institute for Public Policy Research (1999‑2003); County Councillor; Assistant General Secretary (1997‑98), Director of Policy and member of the election strategy team in 1997 general election, The Labour Party.
Ms Anna Thomas
Founding Director, The Institute for the Future of Work. Formerly: barrister, Devereux Chambers, specialising in employment law; Counsel to the Equality and Human Rights Commission; Head of Policy, Future of Work Commission.
The Rt Hon the Baroness Young of Hornsey OBE
Life Peer (Crossbench), House of Lords (2004‑); co‑Chair, All Party Parliamentary Group on Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion, and All‑Party Parliamentary Group on Sport, Modern Slavery and Human Rights; Chancellor, University of Nottingham; co‑Chair, Foundation for Future London; Honorary Professor, Rights Lab, University of Nottingham; Patron, Anti‑Slavery International.
UNITED KINGDOM/UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Lady Judge CBE
Chairman, Systemized Nomenclature of Medicine (SNOMED International); Chairman, Astana Financial Services Authority (AFSA); Chairman, CIFAS (UK fraud protection agency); Deputy Chairman, TEPCO Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee. Formerly: Chairman, United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority; Chairman, UK Pension Protection Fund (2011‑16); Director: Magna International, Statoil ASA, NV Bekaert SA; Executive Director, Samuel Montagu & Co. Ltd; Director, News International; Commissioner, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. An Honorary Governor and a Member of the Programme Committee and Business Committee, The Ditchley Foundation.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Ms Nancy Altman JD
President, Social Security Works; Chair, Strengthen Social Security coalition; member, Social Security Advisory Board (appointed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi) (2017‑2023); Chair, Board of Directors, Pension Rights Center; author, 'The Battle for Social Security: From FDR's Vision to Bush's Gamble' (John Wiley & Sons, 2005), amongst others.
Professor Kate Bronfenbrenner
Senior Lecturer, Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
Professor Theodore R Marmor
Professor Emeritus of Management, Yale School of Management; Corresponding Fellow, Political Studies, The British Academy; consultant for: States of Kentucky, Delaware, Texas, Illinois and Vermont; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Congressional Committee on Ways and Means; Urban Institute and President's Commission on Income Maintenance; International Advisory Board, The London School of Economics (LSE Health); co‑author, 'America's Misunderstood Welfare State' (also published as 'Social Insurance: America's Neglected Institution and Contested Future'). Formerly: Founding Board Member, National Academy of Social Insurance. A Member of the Board of Directors, The American Ditchley Foundation.
Mr Steven Pearlstein
The Washington Post (1988‑): Business and economics columnist; Robinson Professor of Political and International Affairs, George Mason University; author, 'Can American Capitalism Survive? Why Greed Is Not Good, Opportunity Is Not Equal and Fairness Won't Make Us Poor' (2018); Pulitzer Prize winner, 2008. Formerly: Washington Post: Canadian correspondent, economic correspondent, defence industry reporter, deputy business editor.
Professor Karthik Ramanna
Professor of Business and Public Policy and Director, Master of Public Policy Programme, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford; member, International Advisory Board, California Management Review; member, Panel of Economic Advisors, IPPR Commission on Economic Justice; author, 'Political Standards' (University of Chicago Press, 2015); co‑editor, 'Accounting, Economics & Law' journal. Formerly: faculty, Harvard Business School; Henry B. Arthur Fellow in ethics, Marvin Bower Fellow; visiting fellow, Kennedy School of Government; awarded Case Centre's Outstanding Case‑Writer prize (2017 and 2019) and now leads a case‑writing institute at Blavatnik School.
Mr David R. Riemer
Senior Fellow, Community Advocates Public Policy Institute, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; co‑Founder, The New Hope Project; author, 'Putting Government in Its Place: The Case for a New Deal 3.0' (HenschelHAUS, 2019). Formerly: Director, Wisconsin Health Project (2004‑07); Budget Director, State of Wisconsin (2002‑03); Director of Administration, City of Milwaukee (1996‑2002 and 1988‑93); Chief of Staff to Mayor John Norquist (1993‑96). A member of the Advisory Council, The American Ditchley Foundation.
Ms Laila Ujayli
MSt Film Aesthetics candidate, University of Oxford; 2019 Rhodes Scholar. Formerly: member, Foreign Policy Generation and Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellow, Win Without War (worked on reimagining U.S. security spending to invest in the tools necessary to confront today’s and tomorrow's major challenges).