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Think 20 Solutions – How to Make Digitalization Work for the Many




Digitalization is one of the drivers of global change – both good and bad. More automation and efficiency promise more economic growth and social welfare. But digitalization will bring with it huge, short-term transition costs, testing social cohesion as machines replace ever more workers and erode whole regions’ traditional strengths. The G20 must build national and global frameworks to ensure digitalization safely serves all – not just some – of mankind.

Members of the Think 20 community (T20) have come up with many excellent proposals to address the challenges for G20 countries. Below we are presenting some of these ideas. All Policy Briefs can be found here

The G20 should collaborate on employment and education policies for the digital age.

Digitalization creates new jobs in places different to those where analog jobs are lost. The G20 must help workers move to regions in which new jobs are being created. Loosening occupational licensing requirements and awarding workers with “relocation vouchers” would boost job-reallocation. The G20 should share best-practice examples, and develop workers’ skills by creating digital training platforms accessible nationally or internationally. To ensure quality, G20 countries should agree standards with which to measure digital literacy. This would help policy makers allocate resources when looking to balance companies’ demand for and workers’ supply of particular skills. A G20 commission would regularly publish a country report card measuring public access to the Internet – with figures broken down by gender. Gender norms still hinder women’s participation in the digital revolution. G20 countries must take this into account when designing education and training policies.

Frey, Carl Benedikt, “The Future of Jobs and Growth: Making the Digital Revolution Work for the Many,” T20 Policy Brief, March 18, 2017 (

Chetty, Krish, Nozibele Gcora, Jaya Josie, Wenwei Li, Qigui Liu, Ben Shenglin, “Bridging the Digital Divide: Measuring Digital Literacy,” T20 Policy Brief, April 6, 2017 (

Snower, Dennis, “The Dangerous Decoupling,” T20 Vision Brief, May 11, 2017 ( )

Aneja, Urvashi, Krish Chetty, Nozibele Gcora, Jaya Josie, Vidisha Mishra, “Bridging the Digital Divide: Skills For The New Age,” T20 Policy Brief, March 25, 2017 (


The G20 should work together to make the Internet more secure.

Digital innovation is threatened by lack of cross-border cooperation to ensure strong infrastructure. G20 countries have to work together on Internet security and establish norms to deal with cyber threats. They need to improve network safety by demanding Internet service providers (ISPs) – weak points, used for so-called DDoS-attacks – improve service. ISPs should give swift warning of new malware infections. The G20 should agree on certification standards for third-party software vendors, and, in particular, look at options to improve cyber defenses at power plants. The Internet of Things (IoT) is being built on function, not security. The G20 has to end this vulnerability by requiring IoT-devices to be patchable with security updates – vendors or ISPs should offer these as long as the devices are in use. Governments should push the Internet Society’s Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS), and supply-chain transparency by agreeing a “Bill of Materials” for IoT-devices that lists parts, software, and their origin.

Carin, Barry, ”G20 Safeguards Vulnerabilities of Digital Economy, with Financial Sector Focus,” T20 Policy Brief, April 5, 2017 ( )

Twomey, Paul, “Addressing Market Failures to Improve the Health of the Digital Infrastructure,” T20 Policy Brief, March 22, 2017 (

The G20 should adopt measures to safeguard the financial system from cyber attacks.

The financial sector is the spine of the global economy and a driver of the digital economy, making it doubly important for the G20 to ensure its safety. Countries should commit to protecting financial institutions’ data by pledging not to launch cyber attacks, to support countries attacked, and to improve digital infrastructure. The G20 should report on progress toward preventing the malicious use of information communications technology (ICT).

Maurer, Tim and Steven Nyikos, “Toward A Global Norm Against Manipulating the Integrity of Financial Data,” T20 Policy Brief, April 5, 2017 (To


G20 countries should embrace blockchain technology and rethink competition policy.


In the face of public skepticism, blockchain technology can strengthen the globalized economy by ensuring it benefits not just an elite few. The G20 should support private and public innovations in blockchain – a digital ledger that publicly records transactions – and agree on their regulation. Decentralized, transparent, real-time, blockchain is different from traditional, centralized intermediaries trusted by governments. G20 countries should commit to new ways of global governance by identifying regulatory regimes that can be improved by blockchain – say, the Basel agreements on financial stability. The G20 should establish a regulatory “sandbox” to test blockchain – like financial services for “underbanked” regions – and ask central banks to analyze possible applications. In parallel, the G20 should cooperate to end the unprecedented power of one or a few companies in digital markets in many countries. National authorities should form a World Competition Network to enforce competition law against companies using cross-border business to restrict competition.

Maupin, Julie, “The G20 Countries Should Engage with Blockchain Technologies to Build an Inclusive, Transparent, and Accountable Digital Economy for All,” T20 Policy Brief, April 6, 2017 ( )

Marin, Dalia, “Time to Rethink Competition Policy in the Digital Age,” T20 Policy Brief, May 3, 2017 ( )



Media Contact:

Guido Warlimont
Kiel Institute for the World Economy
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Tanja Vogel
German Development Institute /
Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
T +49 228 94 927-264
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