Big conference on the future of work

What is the future of work in terms of justice and equality? At a big conference at the Institute for Futures Studies which included 17 speakers, this question was discussed by researchers from political science, philosophy, economy and sociology in May.

A whole range of questions were on the agenda. What does "meaningful" work means? What do liberal theories on justice and equality have to say on how the advantages and disadvantages of automation should be divided among different groups? What institutional solutions might counter the rise of inequality caused by automation?

Despite the fact that most of the participants could only participate online due to the COVID pandemic, the event helped strengthen an emerging international network between people with similar research interests, including speakers as well as other attendants. The abstracts submitted for the workshop were anonymized which resulted in two speakers being junior scholars, something that contributed to the workshop allowing junior and senior scholars get to know each other’s work. 

Nearly all the papers presented at the workshop are in preparation to be submitted to Journal of Applied Philosophy, as part of a special issue which might become a central reference point for research in an area that is becoming increasingly important in academic discussions as well as in public debate. All contributors to the special issue have also been encouraged to write a popular version of their paper for Justice Everywhere, an active and accessible blog run by political scientists and philosophers (

The three organizers Markus Furendal, Huub Brouwer and Willem van der Deijl-Kloeg, are currently working together with one of the speakers, arranging an additional conference on a similar topic. This will be an in-person conference, taking place in Rotterdam in June of 2022. Several of the speakers from the first conference will present papers at the second conference, but it will also feature a number of additional presenters, as well as papers selected after an open call.

Many participants expressed that they had enjoyed attending the conference and some spontaneously expressed gratitude via e-mail after the conference: 

 “And thank you again, to all of the organizers, for what was one of the best workshops that I have attended in many years. I'm very grateful for the invitation and glad that I was able to participate.”

 “I just wanted to write and say thanks for organizing such a great conference, I really enjoyed all the papers and the discussions, and thinking more about a new area.”

“Just a quick note to pass on my thanks for organizing such a terrific event. I learned a great deal from the papers, as well as the stimulating discussions.”

The conference could be organized thanks to funding from Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.