Saving Work/Saving Liberalism? A Democratic Liberal Approach

Decent work and wages play a central role in guaranteeing the dignity and economic self-sufficiency of individuals in a liberal democratic order, yet are under increasing threat in an age of globalization and automation. This threat to work and wages is also a threat to liberal democracy itself. As global public lawyers, we therefore urgently need new ways to respond to this threat. In this paper, we propose a range of “democratic liberal” ideas or proposals: place-based policies, a generous earned income tax credit, incentives for wage-earner equity, universal basic benefits for all workers and a jobs guarantee. This is also in contrast to calls for a UBI. Finally, we argue that saving work requires more than just saving work as it existed in the 1950’s. It means saving work in a form that is sufficiently flexible to create true gender-based inclusion and equality, and work-life balance for all. We also consider the kind of politics likely to lead to such policies.