The future of the left since 1884

Shaping the futurescape: Analysis paper

Notes on the near future


  • Shaping the futurescape
  • By Andrew Harrop
  • Published 5 October 2017
  • Topics

In spring 2017, the Fabian Society convened a day-long summit, ‘Future Left’, to consider the challenges the left will face in the 2020s. This analysis paper summarises the key evidence and insights presented during that discussion, mapping the economic, social, technological and cultural terrain of the near future. It does not discuss in any detail how the left should respond – that is the debate that needs to happen next.

The paper explores future trends and possibilities in four key domains:

 1. Political economy

  • Structural imbalances
  • Brexit
  • Innovation
  • The labour market
  • Geographic inequality

2. Social and demographic change

  • Ethnic and age diversity
  • Social heterogeneity
  • Fiscal pressures
  • Disability
  • Caring
  • 50-year working lives

3. Technology change

  • Innovation
  • Disruption
  • Labour market risks
  • Scale and monopolies
  • Visibility and personalisation
  • Security and ethics

4. Culture, identity and politics

  • Uncertainty and diversity
  • Politics and insecurity
    • Resilient liberalism
    • Community
    • National identity
    • Class
    • The future of collectivism
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Andrew Harrop

Andrew Harrop is general secretary of the Fabian Society.


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