Technological Displacement and the Duty to Increase Living Standards: from Left to Right
Keywords:Ethics and Artificial Intelligence, Environmental Ethics, Political Philosophy, Green New Deal, Universal Basic Income, Workers' Co-ops, Rawls, Nozick, Justice as fairness, Libertarianism
Many economists have argued convincingly that automated systems employing present-day artificial intelligence have already caused massive technological displacement, which has led to stagnant real wages, fewer middle- income jobs, and increased economic inequality in developed countries like Canada and the United States. To address this problem various individuals have proposed measures to increase workers’ living standards, including the adoption of a universal basic income, increased public investment in education, increased minimum wages, increased worker control of firms, and investment in a Green New Deal that will provide substantial employment in transitioning to green energy, buildings, and agriculture. In this paper I argue that both left-wing and right-wing positions in political philosophy, such as John Rawls’s Justice as Fairness and Robert Nozick’s Entitlement Theory, are committed to the conclusion that we should take political action to counteract the effects of technological displacement by undertaking such measures to increase workers’ living standards.