Societal issues: What does this mean?
Major trends that have consequences
The world is becoming increasingly interconnected, digitalized and fast-paced – in other words, more complex. Society is changing, worldwide and in individual countries. Climate change, globalization, pandemic and digitalization are having a tangible impact. To avoid taking inefficient or even counterproductive measures, it is helpful to think about these issues from an interdisciplinary perspective.
The above-mentioned fundamental changes, and others, are giving rise to new economic centers and new occupations, as well as new kinds of potential. These trends threaten to undermine equality of opportunity and widen social divides. They are affecting how we live and work together, the economy and the political sphere – indeed, all of society.
If a society is to function smoothly, a careful, multi-thematic approach to social issues is essential. We need solutions allowing us to take better advantage of existing potential and create an egalitarian society.
Radical changes within society
Every society is constantly undergoing a process of internal change. Particularly in high-income countries like Switzerland, the population is rapidly aging. For the first time, four generations are living together at the same time. This is profoundly affecting our healthcare and old-age pension systems. In addition, a massive shortage of skilled workers is on the horizon. Family structures and models are in flux. There are more and more single parents, and in more families both parents are employed. This raises questions about a work-family balance and child care, the distribution of work between women and men, the labor market participation of women, and finally taxes and retirement. Issues of gender equality continue to be complex and controversial.
All of these challenges affect numerous stakeholders in the political, business, civil-society and scientific sectors – multinational corporations as well as small and medium-sized enterprises, and ultimately all of society.
An interdisciplinary approach helps us to better understand the complex nature of societal issues. Otherwise, the measures we take may be inefficient, counterproductive or even discriminatory.