Discussion Paper
No. 2018-58 | 2018.08.01
Andrés Ortega, Francisco Andrés Pérez and Yarik Turianskyi
Technological justice: A G20 agenda
(Published in Global Solutions Paper)


Technological justice can play an important role within the international system in resolving global challenges and creating a smart and more egalitarian society. Technological and scientific developments are generating huge opportunities for tackling societal challenges. However, the benefits of technology and innovation are unequally distributed, and they tend to cause economic and political disruptions in our societies that widen inequalities within states as well as between countries. Digitalisation and, especially, automation are challenges that must be faced if developing countries are to avoid premature de-industrialization, expulsion from global value chains of the world economy, and the serious damage to their growth paths that would result. The authors propose adopting the concept of ‘technological justice’ within our societies as a new paradigm for the international system to reconcile technological advances with the societal challenges facing our global society, especially poverty and sustainability; and propose a number of policies and measures by which the G-20 could take on a central role in pushing this major contribution onto the global agenda. The authors participate in the T-20 network of think tanks that facilitates interaction between its members, the public policy community and the general public, being its primary objective to add value to the G20 process with evidence-based public policy proposals on areas of interest for the international agenda.

JEL Classification:

D63, F60, O14, O19, O20, O30, O47

Cite As

Andrés Ortega, Francisco Andrés Pérez, and Yarik Turianskyi (2018). Technological justice: A G20 agenda. Economics Discussion Papers, No 2018-58, Kiel Institute for the World Economy. http://www.economics-ejournal.org/economics/discussionpapers/2018-58

Comments and Questions

Andy Hira, Simon Fraser University - Review and commentary
September 18, 2018 - 10:08
see attached file

Francisco ANDRES - Authors' reply
November 13, 2018 - 10:48 | Author's CV, Homepage
Please see authors' reply in the atttached document. Thanks so much for your words.

Anonymous - Comments
October 23, 2018 - 11:40
The paper puts forward a very interesting policy idea, i.e. the adoption of the concept of "technological justice" on a global scale rather than within a given country (section 1). It also provides a comprehensive review of the the multifaceted impacts of automation and digitisation on developing economies (section 2). However, the paper does not devise convincing policy recommendations. In fact, while a list of policy actions is drafted in section 3, it is not clear: i) why these actions have been selected; ii) how such actions would contribute to the proper implementation of the concept of "technology justice"; iii) which is the exact content of such actions. By way of example, under the heading "energy", it is suggest to "close the energy deficit through exploitation of on-grid, off-grid and mini-grid technologies". It is not clear what is the exact content of such action, how this contributes to "technological justice" and why this has to be preferred to other actions in the field of energy (e.g. energy efficiency, renewable energy projects, PPAs, etc.). Whereas the idea behind the paper is quite innovative, its relevance and significance are difficult to assess, especially because the recommendations are not grounded enough on evidence or the academic literature. Therefore, I suggest to review the policy recommendations, provide a more accurate selection and explain why each recommendation is relevant to implement the concept of technological justice and ultimately ensure the achievement of sustainable development goals. Thank you for your attention.

Francisco ANDRES - Authors' reply
November 13, 2018 - 11:22 | Author's CV, Homepage
Thanks so much for your comments and suggestions. They are very valuable for our future research on the theme. We agree with you on your comment about section 3. Our aim in this section is to present some policy frames in which some actions (as suggested by authors or others) could be developed. We, however, do not presentspecific actiongs tackling some aspects of "technological justice" as you mentioned. Nevertheless, all of them are connected to the debates about technological justice. The example you raise (smart grids) are empirically supported to be part of the solution in a more equal distribution of energy. See for instance, the recent paper in Applied Energy (Volume 229, 1 November 2018, Pages 1244-1259), by Christine Milchrama, Rafaela Hillerbrand, Geertenvan de Kaaa, Neelke Doorn and Rolf Künneke, on "Energy Justice and Smart Grid Systems: Evidence from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom". In both countries, the authors conclude that "justice aspects are perceived as instrumentally (i.e. positively) influenced by the potential of smart grids to enhance control, transparency,and democracy" To sum up, we agree with your point in a need a more complete policy roadmap based on evidences to tackle justice dimensions, but this paper, by lenghth and extension, only aimed to increase the visibility and preponderane of technological justice in policy debates at the G-20. Thanks again for your attention and for sharing your views with us.