The War on Normal People Book Summary - The War on Normal People Book explained in key points
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The War on Normal People summary

Andrew Yang

The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future

4.5 (134 ratings)
24 mins
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    The War on Normal People
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    Advances in technology and market-driven capitalism have left America on the brink of mass unemployment.

    Think about your five closest friends. Did they all go to college? If so, chances are you’re part of a privileged socioeconomic group. For most in the United States, not finishing college is more the norm. In fact, based on a random sampling of Americans, the likelihood that all five of your closest friends finished college is about 0.3 percent.

    In contrast to the educated class, average Americans tend to live from paycheck-to-paycheck. And while our system of market-driven capitalism has raised the standard of living for many, giving us widely-enjoyed technology like smartphones, this system doesn’t value the lives of most people. Instead, it values efficiency and cost-cutting measures that enable the market to perform better. 

    According to Yang, things are about to get a lot worse. Market-driven capitalism has propelled unprecedented advances in technology – including artificial intelligence, automation, and robotics – which are beginning to eliminate jobs by the millions. Currently, a whopping 95 million working-age Americans aren’t in the workforce, making the US labor force participation rate lower than almost every industrialized economy.

    Yang calls this phenomenon the Great Displacement. And unlike many economic situations, it’s one that the market isn’t set up to solve. According to a report published by the Obama administration in 2016, 83 percent of jobs that pay less than $20 per hour could face automation or replacement.

    This displacement has already begun – since 2000, automation has eliminated an estimated five million American manufacturing jobs. With the advent of self-driving vehicles, a projected two to three million car, bus, and truck drivers will lose their jobs in the next 10 to 15 years. Factory workers, cashiers, customer service representatives, and fast-food chain employees will also soon suffer the consequences of automation.

    With today’s technology, even therapy and drawing are skills that can be automated. Even if white-collar workers such as paralegals and wealth managers are also forced to find new work in the coming years, low-income earners without a college degree or other skills will inevitably be the least able to find new work prospects.

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    What is The War on Normal People about?

    The War on Normal People (2018) reveals how America is on the brink of economic and social collapse due to technological advances such as automation and artificial intelligence. Painting a portrait of the reality that average Americans will increasingly face if mass unemployment is left unaddressed, author Andrew Yang proposes a vision to transform the economy by adopting a human-centered form of capitalism that begins with a universal basic income.

    Best quote from The War on Normal People

    After one gets on disability, one enters a permanent shadow class of beneficiaries.

    —Andrew Yang
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    Who should read The War on Normal People?

    • Voters interested in learning about Andrew Yang’s ideas for America
    • Educated Americans who want to take on income inequality
    • Working-age people curious about the benefits of a universal basic income

    About the Author

    Andrew Yang is an entrepreneur, lawyer, philanthropist, author, and Democratic candidate in the 2020 United States presidential election. After helping to develop several companies and start-ups, Yang began Venture for America, a nonprofit organization focused on creating jobs throughout the United States.

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