Work-based safety nets

Hello everyone,

From the book Thank You for Being Late by Thomas Friedman.

In sum, in an age of extreme weather, extreme globalization, ex-tremely rapid change in the job market, extreme income gaps, extreme population explosions in Africa that are destabilizing Europe, extreme deficits, extremely low interest rates, and extremely unfunded pension liabilities, we need to get extremely innovative in our politics. We need a dynamic, hybrid politics that is unafraid to combine ideas from across the traditional political spectrum and also to go above and beyond it. I am talking about a politics that can strengthen work-based safety nets, to catch those for whom this world is becoming too fast. I am also talking about a politics that can unleash accelerated entrepreneurship, innovation, and growth to sustain those needed safety nets. And I am talking about a politics able to stimulate more of the social technologies we need to keep up with all the changes in our physical technologies spurred by the age of accelerations. Finally, I am talking about a politics that understands that in today’s world the big political divide “is not left versus right but open versus closed,” as the pollster Craig Charney puts it, and that therefore chooses open—openness to trade, immigration, and global flows, as opposed to closing them off.

What does work-based mean in this case? Safety nets (some kind of benefits from the government) for people who work? Or is work itself (and the fact of ensuring/providing work) a safety net?

Thank you.


I think it could be more clear, but the way I understand it is safety net type benefits that one’s employer offers, like health insurance, unemployment insurance, workers compensation, life insurance, retirement benefits and so on. To me this is odd, because I think benefits that are tied to your job is a big problem here in the US, because it is in a way “putting all your eggs into one basket”. When you run into trouble, often the first thing you lose is your job, and there goes the “safety net” with it. Through a strange series of events, health insurance in the US has become inexorably tied with one’s job and breaking this connection is vital but very very difficult because it is so entrenched.