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Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work

A major new manifesto for the end of capitalism
Neoliberalism isn’t working. Austerity is forcing millions into poverty and many more into precarious work, while the left remains trapped in stagnant political practices that offer no respite.

Inventing the Future is a bold new manifesto for life after capitalism. Against the confused understanding of our high-tech world by both the right and the left, this book claims that the emancipatory and future-oriented possibilities of our society can be reclaimed. Instead of running from a complex future, Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams demand a postcapitalist economy capable of advancing standards, liberating humanity from work and developing technologies that expand our freedoms.

This new edition includes a new chapter where Srnicek and Williams respond to their various critics.

Reviews

  • “A conceptual launch pad for a new socialist imagination.”
  • “A powerful book: it not only shows us how the postcapitalist world of rapidly improving technology could make us free, but it also shows us how we can organise to get there. This is a must-read.”
  • “Neoliberalism and austerity seem to reign supreme – the idea of a society not run for profit seems impossible. Or does it? The fascinating Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams argues for a radical transformation of society.”
  • “In Inventing the Future, Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams take on the two key questions of the left, if I can characterise them broadly: why are we so bad at saying stuff, and do we have anything to say? Their diagnoses of the shortcomings of what they call ‘folk politics,’ are perceptive, clear, brutal, but respectful. Their prescription for the future can seem vertiginously sudden—you’ll need to either get on board with a basic citizen’s income, or form a better refutation than ‘it sounds expensive,’ and fast. But critically, they identify our urgent task: to own modernity.”
  • Inventing the Future is exactly what we need right now. With immense patience and care, it sets out a clear and compelling vision of a postcapitalist society. Equally importantly, it lays out a plausible programme which can take us from 24/7 capitalist immiseration to a world free of work.”
  • “Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams' project dares to propose a different way of thinking and acting. Given the fizzling of the Occupy moment, a radical rethinking of the anarchic approach is badly needed but just not happening. This book could do a lot of work in getting that rethink going.”
  • “Srnicek and Williams demonstrate how a sustainable economic future is less a question of means than of imagination. The postcapitalist world they envision is utterly attainable, if we can remember that we have been inventing the economy all along.”
  • “This is a book I’ve been waiting for...The purpose of neo-liberalism is to cancel the future, where tomorrow looks exactly like today only with more stuff and more debt. To hell with that! Our lives are too short and too precious to exist in this Matrix. Please read the book, tell others to read it and let’s invent our future.”
  • “Most important book of 2015”
  • “A future free from work might seem unrealistic, but it is actually the elephant in the room that Cameron et al. would rather you ignored. Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams’ fabulous study Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work (Verso) opened my eyes to the role technology might play in making society possible again.”
  • Inventing the Future is unapologetically a manifesto, and a much-overdue clarion call to a seriously disorganized metropolitan left to get its shit together, to start thinking — and arguing — seriously about what is to be done…It is hard to deny the persuasiveness with which the book puts forward the positive contents of a new and vigorous populism; in demanding full automation and universal basic income from the world system, they also demand the return of utopian thinking and serious organization from the left.”
  • Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work, offers an ambitious, thoughtfully creative and meticulously researched blueprint for a new strategy toward building a mass global movement to counter the hegemony of neoliberal capitalism…Srnicek and Williams offer a profoundly thoughtful, meticulously analyzed contribution to this body of work. Most importantly, they offer a glimmer of hope that the future is something that might still be invented by us, not imposed from above.”
  • Inventing the Future is both accessible and original”
  • “I love the way [Srnicek and Williams] talk about a basic income as something really transformative”
  • “As well as books such as Guy Standing’s The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class (2011) and Paul Mason’s Postcapitalism (2015), one recent text is talked about more than most among people interested in UBI. Inventing the Future was published last year and has already created significant buzz in leftwing circles”
  • “Srnicek and Williams have courageously drafted a call to re-imagine left politics from top to bottom.”
  • “They argue that, in the future, the workplace won’t exist in anything like the form we have now, and in any case it will have very few permanent workers. Assuming this position, they ask: What would be the social vision appropriate to a jobless future?”

Blog

  • Inventing the Future: A Documentary Adaptation

    What will a post-work world look like? This film explores life beyond capitalism.

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  • [Video:] David Harvey and Evgeny Morozov on Trump, neoliberalism, infrastructure, and "the sharing economy"



    On November 14, 2016 — as part of the Barcelona Initiative for Technological Sovereignty (BITS) — David Harvey sat down with Evgeny Morozov to discuss Trump's election and what it means for neoliberalism and infrastructure; as well as technologies of value extraction in contemporary cities.

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  • Benoît Hamon and Universal Income

    Antonio Negri's commentary on French Socialist presidential candidate Benoît Hamon's proposal for a universal income first appeared in 
    EuroNomade. Translated by David Broder.



    There is something strange about taking interest in an electoral campaign again: it is a long time since this happened to me. When I saw Benoît Hamon on TV after he won the French Socialist primaries I felt — with a certain surprise — something of a breath of fresh air. Hamon won the Socialist primaries promising an unconditional citizen income, at a decent level. I will say right away: it is impossible that this proposal could determine a definitive break with this rotten system. Indeed, a series of interventions by friends and enemies alike implacably told us how alone he is on this score. They said, one after the other: Hamon talks about robots and automation; he says we need only go to the supermarket in order to realise the extent and depth of the rarefaction of work; and who denies it?; but that this is something quite different from asserting the need to set as the objective for labour governance not full employment, but citizen income... But where does he want to take us? What he is saying is just tall tales, unrealisable utopias, naïve fables.

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