What We Owe Each Other


Childcare, education, nursing for the sick, support for the elderly and those who cannot provide for themselves – every one of us will need some or all of these things over the course of our lives. How we ensure their provision – ‘the social contract’ – is what shapes our societies and defines our politics. Shafik argues that our current period of political turbulence stems from outdated social contracts, which have failed to accommodate massive changes in demography, work and the expectations of women. They are also woefully ill-equipped to tackle the major challenges of the 21st century: pandemic, ageing populations, the impact of technology and the climate crisis.


One of the world’s most influential economists sets out the basis for a new social contract fit for the 21st century

This landmark study by Minouche Shafik, Director of the LSE, draws on evidence from across the globe to show that the social contract – how we pool risks, share resources and balance individual and collective responsibility – shapes not just our wealth and opportunities but the very fabric of our lives. And yet societies everywhere are failing to adapt to the global upheavals of technology, demography and climate, leading to a breakdown in mutual trust the world over.

Brilliantly lucid and accessible, What We Owe Each Other draws on a wealth of evidence and learning to outline the basic principles that every society must adopt to meet these challenges. Reshaping the social contract will have profound implications for gender equality, education, healthcare provision, the role of business and the future of work. This book will equip every reader to understand and play their part in this urgent and necessary transformation.

Additional information

Weight0.315 kg
Dimensions23.4 × 15.3 × 1.9 cm










Export ed


320.011 (edition:23)


College – higher education / Code: F