Notes from: “Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work”

“Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work”
book by Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek, 2015

notes from Blinkist

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inventing_the_Future:_Postcapitalism_and_a_World_Without_Work

PostCapitalism by Paul Mason (2015) offers a close examination of the failures of current economic systems. The 2008 financial crisis showed us that neoliberal capitalism is falling apart, and these blinks outline the reasons why we’re at the start of capitalism’s downfall, while giving an idea of what our transition into postcapitalism will be like.

The book begins (chapters 1–2) by critiquing dominant left-wing thinking in the West.

Contrasts left-wing folk politics with the success of neoliberalism in achieving global cultural hegemony.

Folk politics isn’t working.

Most people don’t distinguish between Liberalism vs. neoliberalism.

The current political tactics of the left are failing for working people. To succeed in transforming society, the left must take a page out of the right-wing playbook and build a long-term, strategic vision that offers an alternative to the current neoliberal, capitalist world order.

The most important takeaway is that the left needs to build a similarly long-term, strategic vision. To do so, the left will need to abandon its fear of organizational secrecy, hierarchy and rationality. Such changes are essential if we are to build and sustain a comparably hegemonic position.

Automation and unemployment are increasingly likely.

Universal basic income is the key to creating a world after capitalism.

In the 1960s and 70s, basic income was a core proposal of the US welfare system. Economists, NGOs and policymakers were all exploring the idea in great detail. In fact, 1,300 economists signed a petition urging the US Congress to pass UBI, and two presidents, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter, attempted to pass it as legislation.

Support has come from writers like Paul Krugman and Martin Wolf, and news outlets like the New York Times and the Economist.

“The goal of the future is full unemployment” – Arthur C. Clark

Orwell wrote, “the job of the thinking person is not to reject socialism but to make up his mind to humanise it”

What happened to Occupy?
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/08/21/is-there-any-point-to-protesting

Notes on “Death of the Liberal Class”

“Death of the Liberal Class” by Chris Hedges, 2015
Notes are from Blinkist

Modern society’s liberal thinkers have failed in promoting and developing the ideals they supposedly hold dear: protecting the meek and regulating government. The consequences for this failure are far greater than dysfunctional government; indeed, they may be catastrophic.

Liberalism is dying a slow death, and importantly, highlights the awful consequences to come in the United States of a one-sided political and cultural system.

The American media isn’t really free anymore;
No one is interested in “standing up for the little guy”.
The United States went to war against liberalism.

The liberal class has failed to protect American workers from exploitation.

The liberal class has purged itself of radicals and unconventional thinkers to its detriment.

The arts have abandoned liberal values; money has taken the place of political expression.

The media is no longer free and independent, as corporations have taken over a majority of papers.

We live in a world of total corporate control, where wars are endless because profits are high.

“The corporations that profit from permanent war need is to be afraid”.

Many liberals have blindly hoped that technology and a free market would bring about utopia.

We are just as uncritical of science as many years ago people were uncritical of god.

Many of today’s liberals have been bought off with wages or promises of a luxurious life.

The death of the liberal class can destabilize the entire democratic system.

With their needs unmet, the public turned to extremists on both sides of the political spectrum for support, which eventually allowed the Nazi party to rise significantly in power.

Society as we know it will collapse unless we institute the necessary liberal reforms.

Climate change, spurred by unregulated production and consumption, will drastically alter the living conditions on earth.

Moreover, there is a revolution in our future, and one that will be born at the far-right end of the American political spectrum.

Revolt is necessary, as it is our only means of toppling corrupt government. However, this revolt won’t come from the middle classes or be inspired by moderate politicians.

The only solution is a complete restructuring of human society into small communities, in which small groups of people can rebuild their lives.

These communities will have to be modest and self-sufficient, growing and building everything they need themselves. To live within their means, these groups can’t be much larger than a few families, otherwise they risk becoming reliant on larger industrial producers.

“Dickensian lens”

Early this morning I was driven to understand the meaning of the common phrase “Dickensian lens”. I get the feeling when I read this term in print that some who use it don’t have much depth of understanding as to what it means. I have no idea what it means. After doing a little research it is still unclear.

I found this definition of “Dickensian” in “Masterpiece Classic”. The source and purpose of this publication is not clear.

“Charles Dickens’ work continues to be so influential that the adjective
“Dickensian” is used today to describe something “of or like the novels
of Charles Dickens (especially with regard to poor social and economic
conditions),” according to WordNet at http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/
perl/webwn?s=dickensian.

Search for current usages of the word in The New York Times archive at nytimes.com (put the term “Dickensian” in the search bar) or other newspapers in order to understand how “Dickensian” is used in different contexts. For example, a 2008 article in The New York Times describes Mumbai, India this way: “For the writer, the Dickensian lens offers an easy view of Mumbai: wealthy and poor, apartment-dwelling and slumdwelling, bulbous and malnourished.” (www.nytimes.com/2008/11/09/”.
weekinreview/09giridharadas.html).

It is clear that the term refers to social commentary. But that’s all I see so far. Is Dickens still relevant today? I don’t see it. English literature professors do. In either case, does looking at a current situation in comparison to the way Dickens would describe it add any insight now? Again, I don’t see it, except perhaps in reinforcing that the human condition has always involved suffering.

I still don’t see why the trendiness of the term “Dickensian lens”.