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January 12, 2019
Economic justice Democracy

Black People vs Robots: Reparations and Workers Rights in the Age of Automation

In 2009, 13% of the US population were either self-employed or working as independent contractors, in 2016 this number had doubled. And from Silicon Valley to the US Supreme court, the rights of workers are under attack. At the same time, robots capable of driving cars, assembling goods, and caring for the elderly are poised to put millions of people out of work. Black people and poor people will undoubtedly bear the brunt of this automation. In response to these threats, conversations about Universal Basic Income have become mainstream. But we cannot achieve the goals of economic justice and equality without seriously reckoning with the history of slavery in the United States and the need for reparations. How do we protect workers as work is transformed by technology? And how do address the need for reparations in a seismically shifting economy?