SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit

SPRU hosts first Christopher Freeman Annual Lecture

SPRU hosted the inaugural Christopher Freeman Annual Lecture on 4 May 2017 to celebrate the legacy of its founder Professor Chris Freeman. The event, co-organised with the Christopher Freeman Trust, was attended by friends and alumni of SPRU, alongside current faculty and students. The lecture – on ‘Work for all or Mass Unemployment Revisited’ – was given by Professor Luc Soete, and opened by University of Sussex Vice-Chancellor Professor Adam Tickell.

Professor Soete, who is a BMEc alumnus and the Chair of the SPRU Advisory Group, dedicated his talk to the impact of technology on employment – a debate that was started at SPRU in the 1970s by Chris Freeman. Revisiting the seminal text ‘Work for All or Mass Unemployment: Computerised Technical Change in the 21st Century’, Professor Soete emphasized that the debate is as relevant today as it was in its author’s time. In his talk, he focused on the decline of productivity and the benefits of unconditional basic income to the individual, looking at how it could cause a shift in labour market participation through the redistribution of gains from technical change to all.

This lecture is the first initiative organised as part of the collaboration between the Christopher Freeman Trust and SPRU.