Second Call for Academic Articles for a Special Issue of “Ethics and Social Welfare”

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SECOND CALL FOR ACADEMIC PAPERS: Ethics and Social Welfare  Special Issue on

Technology-driven unemployment:

dilemmas for ethics and social welfare

Guest editors:  Antonio Marturano (University of Rome, Tor Vergata, Italy)     and                                   Jana Vizmuller-Zocco (York University, Canada)

Rationale: In Praise for Idleness (1935), Bertrand Russell claimed that “We have the technology and infrastructure to greatly reduce the forced workload of the average human, and that should be our goal—to liberate people from excessive work so that they can freely pursue the things that bring them intrinsic joy and happiness.” Russell’s optimistic vision regarding the role of technology advocates for work reduction which would increase human welfare and liberate people to be able to devote their time to culture and leisure. His optimism does not seem to be justified in light of recent economic and technological developments which lead to serious unemployment rather than cheerful work reduction. The loss of jobs due to technological innovations is starting to reach crisis proportions as many scholars (such as David F. Noble, Progress Without People: New Technology, Unemployment, and the Message of Resistance, Between the Lines, 1995) and popular press warn (for ex., Eduardo Porter, “Jobs Threatened by Machines: A Once ‘Stupid’ Concern Gains Respect”, The New York Times, June 7, 2016).   There are indeed many voices which decry the unemployment situation exasperated by the replacement of humans by machines, and apparently no job is likely to be immune. The World Technology Network forecasts that “Accelerating technological unemployment will likely be one of the most challenging societal issues in the 21st Century”. Although the scholarly work published on the topic focuses mainly on the technical, technological, and market side, assessments which consider the ethical and social welfare implications of technological unemployment are still to be addressed in detail. The submissions to the special issue will contribute to setting the agenda for this serious and timely discussion. Topics to be explored from theoretical as well as practical perspectives include, but are not restricted to, the following:

  • The role of governmental institutions in technological unemployment
  • Jobless future: is unconditional basic/universal income the answer?
  • Social, political, and economic approaches to welfare in a jobless future
  • New ethical dimensions of work originating from the technological unemployment crisis
  • Political and social inequality created by a jobless future
  • Strategic plans for skills, education, re-deployment for the technologically jobless
  • The political control of technological unemployment
  • Welfare, leadership and jobless future
  • Technological displacement vs technological innovation from the perspective of social welfare
  • Historical visions on the ethical impacts of workload reduction
  • Creating new values for a jobless future
  • Political values in welfare and technological disruption in the job market
  • Work as human value
  • Conflicting values in a jobless world (for ex., the refugees crisis in the EU)
  • Religious values and technological unemployment

Brief for contributors: In line with the editorial aims of the journal, this call for papers focuses specifically on the relationship between ethics, welfare, and values implicated in the policies and political strategies on the one hand and technologically-driven unemployment on the other. The editors welcome academic papers which are interdisciplinary in character. Contributions may combine wider ethical and theoretical questions concerning technology-driven unemployment with practical considerations leading to social policies and professional practices (especially the existing and future policies of local/national governments and international institutions, such as EU, UN, WTO to cope with the problems of technological joblessness). The special issue, as with other issues of the journal, welcomes material in a variety of formats, including high quality peer-reviewed academic papers, reflections, debates and commentaries on policy and practice, book reviews and review articles. Academic papers should be between 4-7,000 words long, and practice papers should be between 750-2,500 words long. Please consult the style rules laid-out on the journal’s website: http://www.tandfonline.com/resw. All academic papers will be double-blind peer- reviewed in the normal way.  Practice papers will be considered for publication by the editors. 

Procedure and timelines

  • Call for Papers and invitations disseminated starting from the 1st of October 2016.
  • Completed first drafts of papers are due by the 23rd of July 2017 and must be submitted to https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/resw. Author’s instructions for academic and practice papers can be found on the journal website at: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/resw20 .
  • Final (revised) versions must be submitted by the 18th of June 2018.
  • Final confirmation of paper acceptance by the 30th September 2018.
  • Papers published in the first issue of Volume 13, 2019.

 

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Incredible illogicalities of the human world (a bit of irony never hurts): 26-30

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  1. In a recent, self-published book, a nutritionist suggests that “If your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize it as food, don’t eat it.” Then she proceeds to use ingredients ¾ of which my grandmother (never mind my great-grandmother) wouldn’t recognize as food. A person from central Europe (northern Slovakia) three generations (about 75 years) ago wouldn’t not only recognize but above all have no access to such food as avocado oil, banana, quinoa, etc. Ah, the beauty of self-publishing! Long live bryndzové halušky!

 

  1. Today, true to the postmodern “fluidity” of things, TV journalists ask singers and athletes about spirituality and truth and then publish the opinions of these “experts”. In this case, it’s a great thing that Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame has become 2 minutes of fame.

 

  1. Although more people than ever are attending if not finishing high schools, linguists have analyzed speeches from politicians (for ex., candidates for the US presidency) and found out that these speeches are between a grade 3 (Republicans) and grade 6 level (Democrats). Long live formal education!

 

  1. In the UK, according to the Financial Times, the government thinks of implementing a “sugar tax”. Wouldn’t it be easier just not to produce foods with so much sugar in them? Burden the taxpayer instead! The circularity of greed here is just too obvious.

 

  1. People flock to quinoa, farro, and other grains, without regard to the loss of individual varieties of other grains. What if quinoa becomes the next “wheat” and surpasses the other cereals? Globalization brings cyclic desires and answers to nutrition with the concomitant loss of plant varieties and plants in general. It’s a good thing that there is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway, so the seeds will be available to exo-terrestrial settlers. As for those who will remain on Earth, who knows what “cereal” they will eat?