Getting Our Priorities Right: What Does Justice Require That We Do?

  • Mark R. Reiff


Having decided that technological unemployment is possible, the next thing we must do is determine how pressing a problem technological unemployment currently is or might become so we can decide how much risk to take in trying to eliminate it. For it might be the case that while technological innovation has mostly focused on labor-saving innovation for years, “the era of computers replacing human labour was largely over [by 2004],” and therefore “attention in the past decade has focused not on labour-saving innovation, but rather on a succession of entertainment and communication devices that do the same things as we could do before, but now in smaller and more convenient packages … These innovations were enthusiastically adopted, but they provided new opportunities for consumption on the job and in leisure hours rather than a continuation of the historical tradition of replacing human labour with machines.” If this is indeed the case, continued technological innovation may not pose as great a threat of increasing unemployment rates in the future as it did in the past, but as unemployment rates remain unacceptably high, this still leaves us with the problem of what to do about the technological unemployment we already have. And this is especially true if a significant amount of the technological unemployment we are currently experiencing becomes structural (if it is not structural already), for it will then become extremely hard to get rid of even after the business cycle rebounds. We accordingly still need to do something about the legacy of labor-saving technological innovation even if it is no longer the future threat it once was.


Government Regulation Government Spending Unemployment Insurance Full Employment Internal Revenue Service 
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