Sharing a common platform at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the prime ministers of Italy and Spain criticised the current trajectory of globalisation as a process that widens income inequality and is in the service of elite corporations, not the masses of people who labour to contribute to their wealth.

“Open global markets, free movement of capital, and technological revolution did generate a large pay-off as promised, but just for the few,” noted the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on January 23.

Echoing this view, Spain’s Socialist Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, agreed that the growing wealth gap in Europe and other parts of the world is detrimental to overall social cohesion.

Conte underscored that social contracts have been “violated”, saying a deep wedge divides countries into  groups of people who “have and do not have the power to shape the destiny of their nation.”

In reference to the term “radical,” which often accompanies the description of his government, Conte noted that radicalism lies in its determination, “to bring the power back where it was meant to be in the first place, to our constitution.”

Echoing the Italian view of a type of globalisation that fuels inequality, Sánchez called for urgent change. “We must change now that we have some degree of freedom to do so and we must do this mindful of the fact that the economy is not self-serving, but serves the people.”

Sánchez, whose Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party is one of the most hard-left currently in power in Europe, made clear that he does not share the view that globalisation presents a challenge to national identity. He argued that the real challenge ahead is the future of social cohesion and urged for a broader debate on minimum guaranteed universal incomes at a time of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning.