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The Next 
Safety Net

Social Policy for a Digital Age

Factory of the future: a coffee shop in Detroit, September 2013. Andrew Burton / Getty images

As advanced economies become more automated and digitized, almost all workers will be affected, but some more than others. Those who have what the economists Maarten Goos and Alan Manning call “lovely jobs” will do fine, creating and managing robots and various digital applications and adding lots of value in service sectors such as finance. Those who have what Goos and Manning call “lousy jobs,” however—in sectors such as manufacturing, retail, delivery, or routine office work—will fare less well, facing low pay, short contracts, precarious employment, and outright job loss. Economic inequality across society as a whole is likely to grow, along with demands for increased state expenditures on social services of various kinds—just as the resources to cover such expenditures are dropping because of lower tax contributions from a smaller work force.

These trends will create a crisis for modern welfare states, the finances of which

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