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Inventing the Future summary

Nick Srnicek, Alex Williams

Postcapitalism and a World Without Work

4 (51 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

'Inventing the Future' by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams is a manifesto for a new vision of the left, moving beyond current forms of resistance towards a society based on abundance and sustainability, made possible by the advances of automation and technology.

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    Inventing the Future
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    The majority of current leftist politics is limited in both scope and impact.

    What do street protests, shopping at local stores and teach-ins all have in common?

    Well, every one of these standard leftist political actions is an example of folk politics, a term that refers to ideas and attitudes that emphasize local, direct-action and small-scale approaches to politics.

    Good examples of folk politics are movements like Occupy Wall Street, ethical consumption or any of the many student occupations throughout history. While each of these examples might have received its moment in the media spotlight and a burst of temporary momentum, they often fail to make structural change in the long run. These tactics are no longer sufficient in the contemporary political climate and, if applied now, would fail to produce structural change.

    How come?

    Because at its core, folk-politics is about everyday manifestations and not structural problems. For instance, it promotes personal action like sign-making and the occasional protest over systematic thinking like making changes to legal structures or running candidates for office. In other words, it puts feelings – like anger, frustration and outrage – above critical thinking and strategy.

    But the issue here isn’t that folk politics is morally bad or incorrect. Rather, the problem is that it has no sustainable long-term strategy or vision. Instead of guiding the course of history, folk politics simply reacts to the actions initiated by corporations and governments.

    Not only that, but by bringing people together around single issues, it loses sight of the bigger picture. A classic example is the organization Live Aid. In 1985, this group raised loads of money to provide famine relief in Ethiopia. To do so, they hosted tear-jerking, celebrity-led events.

    The problem was that their approach solely appealed to people’s emotions, rather than their rational minds. Beyond that, a lot of the money raised ended up in the hands of rebel militias, thereby extending the civil war and worsening the famine.

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    What is Inventing the Future about?

    Inventing the Future (2015) is a radical manifesto for the political left. These blinks describe why the current political tactics of the left are failing, explain how neoliberalism has become today’s dominant global ideology and propose a future based on full automation and a universal basic income.

    Inventing the Future Review

    Inventing the Future (2015) presents a thought-provoking exploration of how we can shape a better world by challenging the status quo. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • The authors offer bold and innovative ideas that challenge conventional thinking, providing a fresh perspective on the future of work, technology, and politics.
    • By examining the flaws in today's society, the book provides a roadmap for change and proposes concrete actions to create a more equitable and sustainable future.
    • With its engaging and accessible style, the book tackles complex topics with clarity, making it a compelling read for anyone interested in shaping a better future.

    Best quote from Inventing the Future

    Neoliberalism is the form of our existence – the way in which we are led to conduct ourselves, relate to others and to ourselves. - Pierre Dardot, philosopher, and Christian Laval, sociologist

    —Nick Srnicek, Alex Williams
    example alt text

    Who should read Inventing the Future?

    • Political activists and thinkers
    • Students of political science and sociology
    • People tired of working nonstop, who want to be part of a different world

    About the Author

    Nick Srnicek is a lecturer at the City University of London. He is also the author of Platform Capitalism.

    Alex Williams is a lecturer of sociology at the City University of London.

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    Inventing the Future FAQs 

    What is the main message of Inventing the Future?

    The main message of Inventing the Future is the need to create a better future through collective action and imagination.

    How long does it take to read Inventing the Future?

    The estimated reading time for Inventing the Future is several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Inventing the Future a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Inventing the Future is worth reading as it offers insightful perspectives on the potential of collective action and the reimagination of society.

    Who is the author of Inventing the Future?

    The authors of Inventing the Future are Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams.

    What to read after Inventing the Future?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Inventing the Future, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • The Economic Singularity by Calum Chace
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    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy by Olivia Telford
    • Human Compatible by Stuart Russell
    • The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
    • Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill
    • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey