The Raging 2020s Book Summary - The Raging 2020s Book explained in key points
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The Raging 2020s summary

Alec Ross

Companies, Countries, People – and the Fight for Our Future

3.8 (95 ratings)
28 mins

Brief summary

The Raging 2020s by Alec Ross is a thought-provoking book that explores the disruptive forces shaping the current decade. He discusses tech advancements, politics, and social change and how they are impacting the world's economic, social, and political landscape.

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    The Raging 2020s
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    Social contracts keep societies functioning,⁠ but sometimes they break.

    What’s the one thing that glues together all societies, past and present? It isn’t religion, culture, or written laws, but a social contract.

    A social contract encompasses all the written and unwritten rules at play in a society. It’s what balances the rights and powers of citizens, government, and businesses. It outlines which duties belong to each sphere.

    A strong social contract enables humanity to live and work together in harmony. But social contracts are always being tested and renegotiated as societies change and new technologies develop. Sometimes, there’s a long pause when a society is still using an old, broken social contract and hasn’t yet come up with one to replace it. Right now, that’s exactly where the United States and other developed nations find themselves. 

    The key message here is: Social contracts keep societies functioning,⁠ but sometimes they break. 

    The most recent American social contract was developed during the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s, when manufacturing boomed and new technologies developed at a breakneck pace. During this time, Western economies transformed from agricultural to industrial societies and the previous social contract became obsolete. 

    This early stage of industrialization became known as Engels’ Pause, after the Marxist philosopher Friedrich Engels. Engels’ Pause was characterized by inequality and squalor. The social contract hadn’t yet caught up. Benefits like worker’s pensions, antitrust protections, income tax, child-labor laws, and the minimum wage were still years away.

    Once societies introduced these improvements, citizens finally began to flourish. An equilibrium was established, balancing the powers of governments, corporations, and individuals. 

    Developed societies now find themselves in a second Engels’ Pause. After the end of the Cold War, it seemed that capitalism was victorious once and for all. As a result, government went on a deregulation spree, giving businesses greater and greater power,⁠ which they’re now abusing. 

    Companies are free to make irresponsible decisions knowing that the government will always be there to bail them out –⁠ with taxpayer money, of course. Multinational corporations are as big as countries, and they often have an outsized influence in geopolitics. Over the last thirty years, inequality has skyrocketed: the top 1 percent have grown $21 trillion richer, while the bottom 50 percent are $900 billion poorer.

    These are just a few of the problems caused by the fraying of a social contract that’s in desperate need of mending.

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    What is The Raging 2020s about?

    The Raging 2020s (2021) is an autopsy of the American social contract, which once kept companies, governments, and individuals in stable harmony but has since broken down. In particular, it describes how the power of corporations has expanded in recent years while federal might has waned –⁠ and how the result is that companies have more control over people’s lives than ever before. We must work to restore the balance and write a new social contract for the modern age.

    The Raging 2020s Review

    The Raging 2020s (2022) is an insightful book that examines the unprecedented challenges and transformations of our current era. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers a fresh perspective on key issues such as technology, geopolitics, and social movements, helping readers understand the complex dynamics of our time.
    • Through a combination of in-depth research, expert analysis, and compelling anecdotes, the book provides a comprehensive understanding of the forces shaping our world.
    • With its provocative insights and thought-provoking arguments, it sparks critical thinking and prompts readers to reevaluate their assumptions about the future.

    Who should read The Raging 2020s?

    • Citizens concerned about the increasing power of corporations
    • Current or aspiring politicians and activists
    • Anyone who sees the value in capitalism but thinks it can be improved

    About the Author

    Alec Ross is an entrepreneur, professor, and former technology policy advisor for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the Obama administration. He is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Bologna in Italy and a Board Partner at the venture capital firm Amplo. His 2016 book Industries of the Future is a New York Times best seller and was named Book of the Year by the TriBeCa Film Festival’s Disruptive Innovation Foundation.

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    The Raging 2020s FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Raging 2020s?

    The main message of The Raging 2020s is to understand and navigate the digital and technological revolution of this decade.

    How long does it take to read The Raging 2020s?

    The reading time for The Raging 2020s varies, but it would take several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Raging 2020s a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Raging 2020s is worth reading as it provides valuable insights on the transformational changes shaping our future.

    Who is the author of The Raging 2020s?

    The author of The Raging 2020s is Alec Ross.

    What to read after The Raging 2020s?

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