Social acceleration and social investment

  • Kees van KersbergenEmail author
  • Barbara Vis


The starting point for our contribution on the (alleged) crisis of the European social model is David Weisstanner and Klaus Armingeon’s (2018) study on the cross-national variation in wage premiums to discuss the temporal dimension of social investment policy – futureoriented policy par excellence. Our guiding propositions are that: (1) “social acceleration”, that is, the accelerating pace of change, particularly but not exclusively in technology, tends to complicate and ultimately undermine the assumptions of social investment policy; (2) the result will be increasingly higher inequality. Social investment policies are future-oriented social policies, investing in human capital in the short term to yield a social return in the middle or long term (e.g., early childhood education). Social acceleration causes the temporal outlook of social investment politics to become more short-term. Simultaneously, it contracts the long-term governing capacity, making it increasingly difficult to determine precisely in what kind of skills to invest now, in order to maximize the chance of social return in the future.


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Aarhus UniversitetAarhusDenmark
  2. 2.Universiteit UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands

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