The Fluid Society

The Digital Challenge for Europe

This third book on “the fluid society” takes a closer look at the governance challenges for the digitalizating world. In the first book, published exclusively in Dutch in 2017, “de vloeibare samenleving”, observations and analyses were made about the digitalizating world. In this book, both in the Dutch  and English version, the key observations and analyses regarding humanity’s phase transition to a digital world have been taken up again.

This book mainly focusses however in more detail on the governance challenges of shaping the digitalizating world. Those challenges are enormous. Not only must the negative aspects of the increasingly digital world be curbed as quickly as possible. Such as cybercrime, increasing power of tech giants, threatening technology conflicts, in addition to technological challenges such as how to deal with robotics, artificial intelligence, and many other innovations.

At least as important is to use the positive possibilities that digitalization offers much better than is currently the case. To ensure that democracy is strengthened rather than weakened and that wealth, knowledge, good education and care are better distributed, as well as to solve migration issues in a positive way. In addition, there is an urgent need to arrive at digital forms of governance with regard to the major problems the world is currently struggling with, and which can no longer be solved within a national framework, such as climate problems, sustainability, biodiversity, energy transition, prevention of pandemics, etc.

For all these challenges, radically new forms of governance must be developed, both at the national level and at the international level. At the national level, a reorganisation of policy areas will have to take place, whereby subjects with a more international character are positioned in new international forms of cooperation. A layered sovereignty structure, as it were, is emerging from the national, to the European, to the global level.

This book focuses on the European challenges with regard to new forms of governance for the digital world and the required new relationships with the member states. Because Europe is currently a unique example of a reasonably successful form of multilateral cooperation between countries, it could play a pioneering role in shaping new forms of governance for the digitalizating world.