Wolfers challenges us to reimagine the social contract

November 30, 2022

Justin Wolfers, professor of public policy and economics, recently sat down with the International Monetary Fund, arguing that the time is now to reimagine institutions that foster social cohesion.

"The COVID moment has been and still is an extraordinary moment. The first phase of it through 2020 and 2021 was a moment that forced a degree of reinvention that none of us ever imagined. I suddenly learned that I could work from home," he said. "Just an extraordinary moment of reinvention by necessity. Then we find ourselves, hopefully with COVID risks tailing off and who knows how and when and where things end, still at a moment of extraordinary reinvention where there are many people who haven't been into the office in a long time. It's not just about the shift away from work to home."

Wolfers continued, pointing out that we face both a challenge and are granted an opportunity in reinventing the social contract.

"We face, I think in many respects, a very similar moment, which then means normally there are so many things that we think of as deeply embedded, but there are so many cards on the table," Wolfers said about the post-pandemic world. "There are so many open windows, there's so many opportunities for reinvention. This is the moment for change. Whether it's social, economic, or political, the door's never been wider open for those changes."