The past few years have seen the adoption of a regulatory push from the EU when it comes to digital markets, digital services and data. It reconfirmed Europe as the global rule-setter in the digital world. After the GDPR, we now have the Digital Services and Digital Markets Acts and the Data Governance and Data Act in place that could have a Brussels effect far beyond the EU’s borders. Whether this new regulatory framework is enough to change the dynamics of the digital economy remains to be seen. Past experiences should make us weary and realistic about the effectiveness of rules to stop the trend where the power of Big Tech firms seems to grow exponentially over time. Since the release of Chat GPT 3.5 in the autumn of 2022, the realisation has become mainstream that AI and the 4th industrial revolution are gathering momentum fast.

The narrative is that the wave of innovation of this industrial revolution will eventually benefit everyone. And yet, history shows that unregulated capitalism creates significant inequality, and benefits never spread automatically. We see that today, with inequality rising across the board, while a few big tech firms have amassed enormous power and wealth. This inequality is not just the result of the spread of digital technology but also closely wound up with the liberalisation of capital, globalisation, deregulation, and the decline of organised labour. Europe is searching for its model for the digital age, where there is space for non-commercial activities and public services and solid industrial relations are supported.

After the upheaval and technological change of the first industrial revolution, social democrats arose to provide refuge from market forces and exploitation by creating a range of new institutions (trade unions, voting rights, mass public education and healthcare, public libraries, etc.). A similar task awaits now as the institutions of the industrial era continue to disintegrate. In theory, digital technology can enhance forms of social coordination not based on commercial motives and competition (better public services, a more responsive democracy, social innovation), but this requires collective action. Europe is the continent where this innovation of the institutions of the digital age has the potential to originate, but it will need a progressive and strategic approach.

Find all publications on Digital & Industrial Policy
Publications
24/01/2024

Progressive Yearbook 2024

Looking back to look ahead
23/01/2024

Algorithms by and for the workers

Digital Programme: Algorithms at the workplace
18/01/2024

Employment terms of platform workers

Digital Programme: Algorithms at the workplace
04/10/2023

A progressive politics of work for the age of unpeace

What Labour can learn from the European centre-left
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Events
Past
16/02/2024
Sofia, Bulgaria

The cost of personal transition

Forum for Progressive left solutions
24/01/2024
FEPS HQ

Progressive Yearbook launch

23/01/2024
Helsinki, Finland

Algorithms in the Workplace

Breakfast roundtable
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Progressive Post
30/11/2023

Towards Sovereign AI: Europe´s greatest challenge?

05/07/2023

The EU’s dangerous proposal for stopping online child sexual abuse material

15/06/2023

Future-proofing AI: regulation for innovation, human rights and societal progress

15/06/2023

Regulating AI: workers’ intellect versus Big Tech oligarchs

04/05/2023

Future of work: between global, digital, local and green

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News
13/03/2023

Digital programme: Algorithms at the workplace

FEPS, together with Nordic partners, launched a Digital Programme on algorithmic management and workers' rights
Find all in the media on Digital & Industrial Policy
In the media

»Der er tale om en markant udvikling«: Det vrimler med Wolt-bude

by Politiken 19/01/2024
'"This is a significant development": Wolt workers are everywhere' Politiken's article about the Digital Programme's first policy study: 'Employment terms of platform workers'

A szociális unió imperatívusza

by Új Egyenlőség 09/09/2023
'The imperative of Social Union'. Article about FEPS book 'Europe’s Social Integration: Welfare Models and Economic Transformations' by László Andor.

AI, platforms and (human) workers’ rights

by Social Europe 07/07/2023
In Social Europe' article, Gerard Rinse Oosterwijk, FEPS Policy Analyst on Digital, talks about the efforts to regulate AI undertaken by the EU and highlights the importance to grasp this opportunity to set the rules for a human-centric approach

Rapid grocery worker conditions are worsening, states report

by The Grocer 30/05/2023
The findings of our FEPS study on the quick-commerce sector and the conditions of rider workers were picked up by the UK-website 'The Grocer’.

Quick commerce – not turning a fast buck

by Social Europe 15/05/2023
Article on Social Europe by the authors of 'Back to the Dark Ages?' FEPS Policy Study about the quick-commerce workers' rights.
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Audiovisual

‘Algorithms in the Workplace’ Flickr album

‘Platform work and employment terms’ Flickr album

Shaping Europe’s digital model Flickr album

‘Transforming capitalism in the Age of AI’ Flickr album

“We need to empower, not weaken, workers and their representatives.” Commissioner Nicolas Schmit

#134 FEPS Talks ‘Green Data: on the interplay of the twin transitions of digitalisation and climate’

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Network and Team

Gerard Rinse OOSTERWIJK

Policy Analyst on Digital

Luis SÁEZ JIMÉNEZ

Project Officer

Euléane OMEZ

Project Management Coordinator