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Call for Papers for Special Issue of JET on “Technological Unemployment and Universal Basic Income”
Jun 4, 2013  

Submissions are invited for a special issue of the Journal of Evolution and Technology on the topic of the impending global decline of employment due to automation, disintermediation and other effects of emerging technologies, and the need for reform and expansion of state income support such as a universal basic income guarantee (BIG).  Papers questioning the premises of technological unemployment or the desirability of a BIG are also welcome.

Guest editor: 

James J. Hughes, Ph.D., IEET Executive Director and Lecturer, Public Policy Studies, Trinity College, Hartford Connecticut

Important dates

Submission deadline:  Oct 1, 2013

Notification of acceptance/rejection: Jan 1, 2014

Final revision deadline: Feb 1, 2014

Publication: Winter/Spring 2014

Focus of the Special Issue

In the last two decades outsourcing facilitated by information and communication technologies (ICTs) have eroded employment in the North. Now robotics and ICTs have made investing in technology more profitable than hiring humans, creating structural unemployment at all levels of the workforce, from the North to the developing world. As the cost of robotics and expert systems fall the percentage of the population that can find employment will also fall, stressing economies already trying to curtail “entitlements” and adopt austerity.

Two additional technology-driven trends will exacerbate the structural unemployment crisis in the coming decades, desktop manufacturing and anti-aging medicine. Desktop manufacturing threatens to disintermediate the half of all workers involved in translating ideas into products in the hands of consumers, while anti-aging therapies will increase the ratio of retirees to (shrinking number of) tax-paying workers.

Economists and public policy makers are largely in denial about structural unemployment insisting that new jobs for humans will be created as they were in the transition from agriculture to industry. Techno-utopians promote magical thinking solutions, such as universal ownership of equities in a skyrocketing stock market, or universal access to free, self-replicating desktop manufacturing with free product designs. Neo-Luddites, predictably, call for curtailing technological innovation to preserve human labor.

In order to enjoy the benefits of technological innovation and longer, healthier lives we will need policies that consciously control the pace of replacing paid human labor with a universal basic income guarantee (BIG) or “citizens dividend” provided through taxation and the public ownership of wealth.  The intensifying debate over the reform of “entitlements” is the ideal opportunity to propose a new social compact that replaces the model of education/salaried work/pensioned retirement with one of life-long citizenship obligations in return for a citizens dividend. 

In this special issue of JET we invite papers examining technological unemployment and reforms to social welfare such as the universal basic income guarantee from economic, political and technological perspectives, especially in the context of increasing longevity and the struggle over austerity and “entitlements.” Papers questioning the premises of technological unemployment or the desirability of a BIG are also welcome.

Length and Style

We anticipate that this issue will contain around 10 papers and, as a working guide, the papers should be between 4000 and 12,000 words in length.  Instructions on format and style are here:

Submission procedure

Manuscripts must be submitted electronically in Microsoft Word to

Review process

Each submission will ideally receive two reviews. Completed reviews will be forwarded to the corresponding authors. Please suggest up to three external reviewers to facilitate the review process.


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