The globalisation of capital, technology, trade, transportation, culture and even disease have meant our 300 year old understanding of how we govern ourselves is being challenged like never before and our response, at all levels, has not been imaginative.

The pace of globalisation has meant opportunity has not been available or accessible to everyone. Nor was enough focus and effort made to encourage that to happen. Rising gross domestic product (GDP) figures have masked the lack of opportunity that exists for many people. Globalisation is responsible for some of that but it is not all bad. Like any idea, and piece of software, it is in need of a desperate reboot.

The global genie is out of the bottle and banks are investing in their own ‘off-shore’ crypto currencies (watch those tax revenues melt before our eyes) while parts of the UK remain, by stark contrast, very poor and feel to many of those who live there without hope.

Instead of the populist rhetoric that frames our current debates, globalism demands a unified global response. But jumping to a supra-national level does nothing to help citizens with that sense of being disconnected from elites. We must start at home for now. We also know that making people richer through redistribution simply won’t move the needle far enough; the most stubborn challenges need renewed social mobility, innovation and other creative interventions to make social progress achievable by even the lowest resourced people and, ultimately, countries.

If our purpose is, wherever possible, to afford individuals the opportunity to try to create their own meaning in life, we should acknowledge that this come with moral  and contractual restraints for all of us. We need to reconnect everyone through opportunity and responsibility. Technology, the very thing that has enabled the divide to grow so rapidly, offers the opportunity to unite more of us. Technology, rather than being a tool to institutionalise the current wealth manipulators, needs to find its better purpose. If we give everyone access to these tools we will see sharper progress.

The reality is that if everyone is to benefit from the opportunities of a global economy we all have to have the opportunities to participate. Yet fibre optic broadband remains a myth across vast parts of the country. Imagine how we might alleviate some of the housing pressures in our cities if it were actually possible to work from all homes.

Our misplaced faith in markets to sort out issues like this means we are missing a trick. Markets do not lead, they follow and politicians need to remember that. Vision is rarely short-term. Focus, resources and efficiency are what markets can bring. Nationalising the roll out of high speed, high performance connectivity for all will invite swathes of currently disenfranchised people to engage in the global opportunities from which they currently feel excluded. If we spread the opportunity then we can at least offer some people social mobility and a way forward. Infrastructure of this nature is as vital as house-building but it receives even less commitment.

It is not a panacea but it is the first step. Difficult questions will persist. Having given everyone the means to participate and benefit politically and economically from the opportunities of technology, what are we prepared to do about those who remain stubbornly unable or unwilling to engage? Until we know the exact size and impact of that cohort, we cannot really make any sensible decision. But to worry about this before we can know and scope the problem is pointless. First things first. Let’s give everyone a fighting chance.

Matt Smith is Managing Director at Future Housing