This research program analyzes the fracture of our social contract from a historical and philosophical perspective with the aim of finding real world solutions to the challenge we face today. It does so by addressing three fundamental questions:
I. Conceptual Clarity: Setting the Perimeter of Inquiry
It is important to update our definition and knowledge of the social contract. By looking at theoretical definitions and at their real-world manifestation this part of our research seeks to define our object of inquiry and provide a methodology for the study of the latest iteration of our social contract. How has this contract evolved over time? What are its fundamental components today? How can one delineate its borders and its weakest points?
II. Fracture and Conflict
It is also important to understand how previous iterations of our social contract were challenged, the causes of those processes and their consequences. The closest and most relevant historical case is that of the industrial revolutions, the socio-economic changes they brought, and the need that they generated to build a new social consensus that would include a new economic class: the proletariat. This section of the research project will seek to produce a set of conclusions about past instances of social contract fracture and the dynamics they unleashed. It will also look at the solutions that were found to govern change and re-introduce sustainability into societal transformation.
III. A New Social Contract
Ultimately the research project will move into the realm of policy oriented work and to providing in depth analysis of the current questioning of our social structures as well as to suggesting solutions to this challenge. Which collectives have been most negatively affected by processes of social technological transformation? How have they expressed their discontent? What have been their main areas of contention? How can one address the true underlying inequities of the system? What are the economic and the political measures that need to be taken to provide the system with renewed sustainability? This section of the research project will analyze in depth three key points of the contract that are being questioned, and study the viability and economic, social and political implications of some of the alternatives suggested around the world. Those points are: