Inventing the Future Book Summary - Inventing the Future Book explained in key points
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Inventing the Future summary

Nick Srnicek

Postcapitalism and a World Without Work

4.1 (39 ratings)
17 mins
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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.

    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
    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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