For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Productive justice in the ‘post‐work future’"

by Althorpe, Caleb; Finneron-Burns, Elizabeth (2024)


ABSTRACTJustice in production is concerned with ensuring the benefits and burdens of work are distributed in a way that is reflective of persons' status as moral equals. While a variety of accounts of productive justice have been offered, insufficient attention has been paid to the distribution of work's benefits and burdens in the future. In this article, after granting for the sake of argument forecasts of widespread future technological unemployment, we consider the implications this has for egalitarian requirements of productive justice. We argue that in relation to all the benefits affiliated with work, other than undertaking social contribution, the technological replacement of work is unproblematic as these benefits could in principle be attained elsewhere. But because social contribution uniquely corresponds to work (when work is understood as more than a paid job), the normative assessment of technological unemployment will turn on the value that theories of justice give to contributive activity. We then argue that despite technological replacement being plainly beneficial insofar as it relieves persons from the burdens of work, such as dangerous work or drudgery, because the nature of care work makes it less susceptible to technological replacement, egalitarian concern will require the burdens of care work to be shared equally between individuals.


No Keywords


Post-Work Society, Productive Justice, Future of Work

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