Self Help

Inventing the Future Postcapitalism and a World Without Work - Nick Srnicek & Alex Williams

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Matheus Puppe

· 55 min read

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Here is a summary of the key points from the chapter:

  • The authors introduce the concept of “folk politics” to describe a common type of political thinking they see on the contemporary left. It focuses on localism, immediate grassroots actions, and defending particular spaces/groups from outside threats, rather than pursing broader systemic change.

  • Folk politics has dominated recent protest movements like Occupy Wall Street, anti-globalization, and student protests. These movements stage symbolic protests but struggle to achieve meaningful policy changes. They fail to expand gains or consolidate power.

  • The authors argue folk politics is a “politics of defence” that lacks the ambition to articulate and build a new world. It fetishizes small-scale direct actions and abandoning broader strategic thinking.

  • In contrast, the authors advocate for an alternative “left modernity” politics that seeks to take back control of the future with ambitious ideas and new visions. It would liberate the utopian potential of technology from capitalist constraints.

  • They criticize social democracy as impossible and neoliberalism as a failure. A new alternative vision is needed to achieve universal prosperity and emancipation, which is the fundamental task of the left today according to the authors.

  • Grassroots movements generate lots of enthusiasm and large participation initially, but often fade away without achieving meaningful change. Participants feel defeated in the end.

  • Common protest tactics like marching, occupying, and direct action have become predictable rituals lacking impact or clear goals. Movements struggle to articulate concrete demands.

  • Protests mainly serve to express general dissatisfaction, raise awareness, and radicalize participants, but fail to transform social structures or challenge neoliberal systems in a lasting way. Small wins are overwhelmed by large losses.

  • An over-emphasis on affective and emotional aspects of protest like outrage and empowerment replaces strategic thinking and analysis, limiting effectiveness. Feelings of “doing something” can sometimes make problems worse by unintended consequences.

  • Despite some localized successes, large-scale mobilizations have not stopped things like healthcare privatization, fracking expansion, or fallout from the housing crisis. Repeated failures demoralize even optimistic activists.

  • While state repression and corporate power play a role, the contemporary left cannot solely blame external factors for its weakness. An honest reckoning is needed to understand what has gone wrong internally with modern protest movements and strategies.

The article defines and critiques the concept of “folk politics” as a common way of thinking on the contemporary left. Folk politics emphasizes immediacy over abstraction, preferring the local, small-scale, direct and familiar over the large-scale, complex, mediated and future-oriented. It argues this renders leftist movements unable to challenge capitalism on a global scale.

Key aspects of folk politics include reactiveness rather than initiative, focusing on tactics over strategy, preferring fleeting actions like occupations, viewing the past nostalgically, romanticizing insurrection, privileging the local, small-scale and direct action, and emphasizing subjective experience over structural analysis.

While acknowledging folk politics arises from necessary starting points, the article argues it remains insufficient for transforming capitalism. It qualifies that folk politics can work for smaller-scale issues but not challenges to neoliberalism globally. The rise of folk politics is understood as a response to increasingly complex systems outpacing human comprehension, and as a reaction to failures of 20th century communism and social democracy. The article aims to outline an alternative approach for the left.

  • Globalization, international politics, and climate change operate on scales that are beyond direct human perception, making them difficult to understand and situate our own experiences within.

  • The global economy is similarly complex, incorporating many interconnected elements across vast spaces and times. It can only be observed through statistical measures, not directly experienced.

  • This separation between daily life and the larger systems we are part of causes alienation, as people feel adrift in a world they don’t comprehend.

  • Folk politics and conspiracy theories emerge partly in response, seeking to simplify complex realities into more digestible narratives with identifiable agents of power.

  • Folk politics also emphasizes the local, immediate, and concrete in an attempt to make the problems of global capitalism seem smaller and more tangible. However, this risks reductionism and ignoring structural conditions.

  • These folk-political tendencies reflect understandable reactions to challenges faced by the left since the breakdown of the postwar social democratic order starting in the 1960s-70s. But a post-capitalist vision will require expanding human capacities to comprehend and steer complexity, not reducing it.

  • Social democracy was capable of gains but remained authoritarian, exclusive of minorities, and dependent on Fordist capitalism that generated social cohesion.

  • In the 1960s-70s, new demands emerged for flexibility, equality, and freedoms that could not be resolved by existing left parties. Social democratic parties shifted from working class to middle class coalition parties.

  • The failures of communism and limitations of social democracy led to critiques from the New Left in feminist, anti-racist, and student movements. They experimented with non-hierarchical forms but remained marginal.

  • Meanwhile, economic stagnation in the 1970s undermined the postwar Keynesian consensus. The right outmaneuvered unions and the left by linking crises to unions, undermining solidarity, and shifting production. This hollowed out unions and the working class.

  • The old left doubled down on corporatism but failed to resolve crises. Social democratic governments implemented proto-neoliberal policies. The new left lacked ability to institutionalize itself as a counter-hegemony.

  • Neoliberalism expanded its common sense as social democratic parties accepted its terms. Cynicism grew as party politics resembled PR and mass participation declined.

The passage discusses the critique of contemporary leftist politics, focusing on their folk-political assumptions and strategic limitations. It analyzes horizontalism, the dominant approach in recent movements, which emerged from 1970s social movements and was prominent in the anti-globalization and Occupy movements.

Horizontalism rejects states, institutions, and the project of hegemony. It advocates non-domineering, affinity-based politics through freely associating individuals creating autonomous communities. The key commitments of horizontalism are: rejecting all forms of domination, direct democracy/consensus decision-making, prefigurative politics, and emphasizing local direct action over broader political programs.

While understandable given past left failures, the passage argues horizontalism limits strategic potential. By focusing on the local and spontaneous through prefigurative politics, horizontal movements fail to achieve significant change against global capitalism. Their reactive politics and folk-political assumptions preclude building counter-hegemonic power needed to transform the overall political status quo. This diagnosis informs the alternative vision proposed in later chapters.

  • The essay discusses direct action as a tactic used by horizontalist social movements that aim to directly challenge domination and create alternative societies without hierarchical mediating structures.

  • Direct action is seen as a way to enact prefigurative politics - creating the world they want to see through their actions in the present. This includes tactics like protests, strikes, blockades, and property destruction.

  • However, the essay argues that direct action alone is often insufficient to secure long-lasting change against powerful state and capitalist forces. Its effects are usually only temporary without broader political organization and strategy.

  • Horizontalist movements’ emphasis on consensus, inclusivity, and immediacy reflects a “folk politics” that privileges what is direct over what is mediated. But this can lead them to ignore structural forces or fail to maintain new social relations long-term.

  • The Occupy movement is discussed as a prime example that demonstrated both the empowering aspects of direct action but also its strategic limitations without larger goals or coordination to exert real power against global capitalism.

The Occupy movements, particularly Occupy Wall Street, used occupations/encampments as a way to draw media attention to issues of economic injustice and spark wider discussions. However, the occupations also had some limitations and failures. They tended to exclude people based on race, gender, income and availability of free time.

The movements emphasized direct democracy through general assemblies, but this imposed constraints. Direct democracy requires significant participation and effort, making long-term sustainability challenging. It also prioritizes small, face-to-face decision making which limits scalability to larger communities and issues. Consensus decision making focused on the lowest common denominator and hampered clarifying political differences.

Additionally, the rejection of any vertical organizational structures meant missed opportunities. In contrast to movements in Egypt/Tunisia, Occupy lacked strong connections to existing labor movements. Actions often came from subgroups rather than consensus. Vertical groups are also important for defending movements against state repression. Links to other groups could have helped Occupy expand spatially and persist over time.

Overall, the prefigurative political approach of embodying an alternative society in the present through occupations/encampments was inherently temporary and lacked efforts toward sustained, concrete changes or becoming competitive alternatives to the existing system. This constrained the impact and goals that could realistically be achieved.

  • The passage discusses the transitory nature of prefigurative spaces like Occupy encampments and the difficulties of expanding and sustaining them long-term.

  • It argues prefigurative communities rely on existing capitalist resources and are vulnerable to state repression if seen as a threat. Maintaining autonomy is difficult.

  • While Occupy achieved some successes like direct actions, the movements ultimately remained limited in scale and influence due to their localized, temporary organizational structures.

  • Argentina saw a larger-scale experiment with horizontalist organizing in response to economic crisis, as people self-organized necessities. However, neighborhood assemblies also faced limitations and could not replace the functions of the state even at their peak.

  • Worker-controlled factories provided in Argentina, but challenges emerged incorporating collective interests into the assembly model without overwhelming it. Organizational limitations were revealed even when joined inter-neighborhood.

  • The passage discusses two popular variants of localism - local food movements like slow food and locavorism, and economic localism.

  • Local food movements promote eating locally-produced food and slow eating to address issues like fast food culture, environmental impacts, and alienation from food production under capitalism. However, they fail to consider structural barriers like time pressures from work that make slow eating difficult. They also have problematic gender implications by assuming women’s role in food preparation.

  • Worker cooperatives and neighborhood assemblies in post-crisis Argentina provided some benefits but ultimately had limited impact due to small scale. They struggled to compete against larger organized interests and were not a viable alternative to capitalism in the long run.

  • The key problem with localism is it denies the systemic, interconnected nature of global problems today. While well-meaning, localist approaches are insufficient to address issues like global exploitation, climate change, and capitalism’s crises that require large-scale, systemic solutions rather than just local actions.

The passage critiques the ideology of localism as a simplistic way to address complex global problems like environmental issues and economics.

On environmental issues, it argues concepts like “food miles” and preferences for local or organic food ignore factors like differing energy costs of production in various locations. The overall carbon footprint and sustainability of food systems is too complex to analyze through simple metrics.

On economics, the idea that moving money to small local banks can change the financial system is questioned. Even smaller banks participate in global markets and speculative activities. Past examples show localized banks can still make risky investments and require bailouts. Systemic problems in finance cannot be solved just by preferring small over large.

Overall, the passage argues localism reduces complex, global issues to an oversimplified “local good, global bad” view. What’s needed instead is a systemic analysis accounting for interconnections across scales. No single scale of action, like the local, can adequately address problems that operate globally. Transformational change requires coordinated efforts beyond any individual’s control or preferences.

The passage criticizes certain folk-political tendencies on the contemporary left as being inadequate for transforming capitalism. It identifies movements focused on horizontalism, localism, nostalgia, resistance and withdrawal as embodying folk-political intuitions.

Key arguments made are:

  • Nostalgia for social democracy of the past is misguided as those conditions no longer exist.

  • Resistance is a reactive and defensive stance, rather than proactively building a new world.

  • Withdrawal into autonomous communities still operates within capitalism and fails to pose a systemic threat.

  • While tactics like protests have a place, folk politics lacks overarching strategy to achieve long-term goals through combining actions.

It concludes folk politics is partial and insufficient on its own. Some elements from approaches like horizontalism are worth retaining but they require directly confronting questions of power rather than retreating from them. Overall strategy is needed to link discrete actions towards medium and long-term transformation of capitalism.

  • Neoliberalism originated as a fringe idea but has now become the dominant hegemonic ideology globally. It promotes free markets, private property, free trade and capital movement.

  • However, neoliberalism’s rise to dominance was not inevitable - it was a carefully constructed political project by its adherents.

  • In the 1930s-1940s, small groups in different countries worked independently to develop liberal ideas. A key moment was the 1938 Walter Lippmann Colloquium which brought these groups together transnationally for the first time.

  • The Mont Pelerin Society, founded in 1947, provided the basic ideological infrastructure and intellectual network to nurture neoliberalism. It aimed to change political common sense by developing ideas then filtering them through think tanks, universities and policy.

  • Figures like Hayek consciously viewed neoliberalism as a long term project to gain ideological ascendancy, not just immediate policy changes. This helped it establish universalizing logic and spread globally over decades through infiltration of different institutions.

So in summary, the passage examines how neoliberalism went from a fringe idea to a global hegemonic ideology through strategic long-term thinking and carefully constructing an ideological infrastructure and network over many years.

The passage discusses the adoption of neoliberal ideas in Germany after WWII. The ordoliberals, who had participated in early neoliberal discussions at the Walter Lippmann Colloquium, began taking government positions to implement their ideas in Germany. Ludwig Erhard was appointed to a key economics role, where he drastically deregulated prices, wages, incomes and capital taxes. This provided an early policy experiment for neoliberalism.

While the ordoliberals lacked a clear distinction between legitimate and illegitimate government intervention, their ideas initially provided legitimacy for the postwar German state by establishing economic freedom. However, Germany eventually shifted to more Keynesian policies by the 1970s.

The passage also discusses the role of think tanks in consolidating neoliberal ideology. Figures like Antony Fisher played a key role in establishing think tanks internationally to influence elites and reshape common sense views over the long term. Groups like the Institute of Economic Affairs in the UK aimed to subtly transform economic discourse and naturalize neoliberal policies among rising political figures. This ideological consolidation through think tanks was an important innovation for spreading neoliberal ideas.

  • Neoliberal thinkers aimed to establish their ideology as the dominant framing of political and economic issues through extensive infrastructure and advocacy efforts over decades.

  • Think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and Hoover Institution promoted neoliberal policies to both policymakers and the general public through books, articles, and media appearances. These helped redefine the common understandings around issues like welfare.

  • Other mechanisms included business funding of media projects to spread thinkers’ messages, op-eds in major newspapers, and the adoption of neoliberal perspectives in business schools and management consultancies.

  • This full-spectrum effort helped neoliberal ideas gain traction as an alternative to Keynesian views in the 1970s stagflation crisis, when existing responses were seen as incapable. Neoliberals already had a diagnosis of inflation being caused by wage rigidities and trade union power.

  • Political figures like Thatcher and Reagan took office in the late 1970s and implemented neoliberal policies like attacking unions, deregulating finance and loosening capital controls. International organizations also converted to neoliberalism.

  • By the 1990s, neoliberalism had become the dominant ideology accepted across parties and economics due to this long-term infrastructure building and exploitation of crises to establish political traction.

  • Neoliberalism successfully constructed a new dominant worldview over the past 50 years that co-opted terminology like “modernization” and “freedom.” These words now primarily invoke neoliberal capitalist ideas.

  • It positioned itself as championing individual freedom and presented an ideological counter to Soviet communism, aligning with libertarian, multicultural, and consumerist movements.

  • It appealed to emerging desires for flexible labor and personal expression through work. This shaped new capitalist subjectivities focused on constant self-improvement, education, and competition across all domains.

  • This individualization exacerbated anxieties, stress, and political passivity as people focused on economic survival over collective action.

  • However, neoliberal ideas also built on existing beliefs in meritocracy, anti-statism, and middle-class aspirations. It became embedded in everyday experience.

  • Neoliberalism’s long-term success was not just due to elite support but also because it constructed an entire ideological infrastructure over decades. It presented a ready solution at a time of crisis for other models.

  • Some argue the left can learn from this and build its own long-term counter-hegemonic vision and strategies instead of focusing just on election cycles or isolated protests. It must offer alternative policy proposals and shape political common sense over the long run.

The passage argues that the left needs to reclaim and redefine the concept of modernity. While modernity originally referred to conceptual ideals like progress, reason, freedom and democracy, it has come to be conflated with capitalist institutions. However, modernity also animated many anti-capitalist struggles.

The left should contest what modernity means rather than rejecting it altogether. A key element of modernity is the idea of historical progress - the belief that the future can be different and better than the past through human action. Historically, the left embraced this progressive, future-oriented view while the right defended tradition.

However, with the rise of neoliberalism, capitalist visions of modernization co-opted this rhetoric of progress and the future. Postmodern thinkers then resisted the idea of progress and the future, accepting the neoliberal framing. But the passage argues the left must reclaim modernity and build an alternative vision of progress oriented toward emancipation and universal ideals.

  • The concept of “ring resistance” refers to skepticism of grand visions and narratives of historical progress promoted by both the radical and social democratic left. Their ability to envision alternative futures has deteriorated due to years of neglect.

  • Traditional notions of progress promoted a singular, predetermined path of development towards capitalism or communism. But history has shown there is no guarantee of any outcome and gains can be rolled back. There are multiple possible paths of modernization.

  • Postmodern critiques correctly identified flaws in treating progress as inevitable, but this also contributed to disenchantment with leftist futures. Capitalism remains the presumed endpoint of development.

  • For the left to recover a vision of progress, it cannot rely on predetermined models. Progress must be understood as a fiction or “hyperstition” that aims to transform into reality through political struggle, not fate. Multiple modernities are possible.

  • Any alternative vision will need to propose universal values to compete with capitalism’s expansionary universalism. But universalism is problematic given its association with colonialism and erasure of differences. A new type of universalism is needed.

The passage discusses the concept of universalism and argues for a revised understanding. It acknowledges that universalism has historically been used to assert the superiority of Western culture and dismiss other perspectives as particular. However, rejecting universalism altogether risks problematic implications like cultural relativism.

The author proposes understanding universalism not as a fixed set of principles but as an “empty placeholder” that is occupied through political struggles. A particular perspective can become universal through hegemonic processes, without fully achieving universality. Universals are always contested and incomplete.

From this view, universal claims can have an emancipatory function by highlighting exclusions and critiquing dominant universalisms. Examples like human rights and feminist movements are given. This revitalizes universalism through political challenges rather than asserting cultural superiority.

It is also argued that universals must incorporate rather than erase differences. Any vision of modernity must recognize non-Western agency and allow different voices in building global futures. Overall, the universal is a concept that can further left goals if understood as a political product rather than a transcendent standard, and if oriented toward substantive freedom incorporating means and capacities rather than just negative freedom from interference.

  • The passage argues for a concept of “synthetic freedom” that goes beyond traditional liberal or social democratic notions of freedom. It involves actively expanding human capacities and options through collective action and resources.

  • Key aspects of synthetic freedom include universal basic income and more free time, allowing people to choose unconventional lives. It requires high-quality public goods like healthcare, education, etc.

  • Truly expanding freedom means continually imagining new possible capacities and options through knowledge, technology, collective action and complex institutions. Freedom is a social and mediated process, not simple cooperation.

  • Progress requires experimenting with technologies like augmentations and synthetic biology to transform necessities into materials for further constructing freedom. Humanity should be viewed as an open-ended, constructible project without a fixed essence.

  • A modern left would offer visions of a better future through expanded conceptions of humanity, universal emancipation and mobilizing advanced technologies for emancipatory goals negotiated globally from diverse voices. It would require transcending the current system of capitalism and wage labor.

  • The article argues for exploring a future post-work world where people are no longer bound to wage labor jobs but free to create their own lives. It draws on thinkers who have rejected the centrality of work and sought to liberate people from dependence on jobs.

  • Rapid automation, growing surplus populations, and continued austerity are giving renewed urgency to rethinking work and preparing for new crises of capitalism, similar to how the Mont Pelerin Society prepared responses to the Keynesian crisis.

  • Under capitalism, work takes on a unique form where people are dispossessed from land and means of subsistence, forcing them into wage labor in order to survive as proletarians dependent on selling their labor power. This also creates a new phenomenon of unemployment.

  • Technological advancement is increasing productivity but needing less labor, threatening more unemployment independently of economic cycles. Automation could eliminate up to 80% of current jobs by 2036. However, new industries and demand growth have often created replacement jobs in the past.

  • The speed of technology may outpace the ability of many workers to reskill, rendering large segments obsolete. Wide diffusion of labor-saving technologies across the economy could also dampen overall labor demand even with new industries.

-Growing precarity, jobless recoveries, urban slums, and other emerging issues signal cracks in the traditional management of surplus populations that may lay the conditions for a shift to a post-work world.

There are three main mechanisms that can lead to increasing surplus populations:

  1. Technological change - Advances in technology often require less human labor, leading to unemployment as certain jobs are automated.

  2. Primitive accumulation - The ongoing process of converting subsistence economies into capitalist economies by forcing rural populations off their land and into dependence on wage labor. This has accelerated globalization and doubled the global proletariat.

  3. Active exclusion from labor markets - Groups like women and racial minorities have historically faced barriers to employment. While discrimination has separate logics, it indirectly benefits capitalism by creating pools of cheaper labor.

The global surplus population can be divided into four groups:

  1. Unemployed/underemployed in formal labor markets who face wage pressure.

  2. Non-capitalist segment engaged in informal/subsistence work with no social safety nets.

  3. Latent segment like peasants/domestic workers who can be mobilized when needed.

  4. Inactive groups like the discouraged, disabled, and students.

In total, estimates suggest the surplus population significantly outnumbers the formal working class. The crisis for capitalism is a lack of jobs for this growing proletarian population, undermining the social basis of the employer-employee relationship.

  • Surplus populations put downward pressure on wages and job quality as more workers compete for fewer jobs. This gives more power to employers.

  • Precarity in the job market has increased, seen through rising part-time, temporary and freelance work as well as zero-hours contracts. This contributes to stagnating real wages.

  • Unemployment is associated with rising income inequality, debt, and even mental health issues like depression and suicide.

  • Jobless recoveries after recessions have become more common, where economic growth returns but stable job growth remains slow. Automation may be eliminating semi-skilled, routine jobs permanently during downturns.

  • Long-term unemployment has increased, suggesting structural problems in adapting skills to new industries.

  • In some urban and rural areas, entire communities have become economically segregated with high long-term joblessness, especially along racial lines due to historical discrimination and deindustrialization.

  • In developing countries, surplus populations have swelled unsafe slums and informal settlements as migrants flood cities but stable work remains elusive due to weak labor protections and lack of housing. This represents dual expulsion from land and formal economy.

  • Informal economies in the developing world typically involve low-paid, insecure work organized outside capitalist forms of production. However, production is still directed at commodity markets rather than individual use, distinguishing them from pre-capitalist subsistence economies.

  • Primitive accumulation originally created urban slums, but premature deindustrialization now threatens to consolidate their existence by removing traditional pathways to factory jobs. Developing countries are deindustrializing at lower income levels with fewer manufacturing jobs.

  • Technological advances allow countries to “leapfrog” industrialization. China shows signs of deindustrialization through declining manufacturing employment, rising wages, and a focus on automation and productivity. Factory automation and “reshoring” bring manufacturing back to developed nations in jobless, automated forms.

  • Premature deindustrialization means an incomplete transition to a formal working class and blocked expectations of manufacturing employment. Services are unlikely to absorb surplus populations, and automation now targets many low-skill service jobs as well. This risks consolidating large populations in informal economies and slums.

  • Capitalism both needs and is threatened by surplus populations. Surpluses lower wages but resist disposability. Maintaining full employment traditionally stabilized this, but economic and technological changes undermine full employment’s viability as a solution.

  • The management of “surplus populations” (those outside formal employment) has increasingly turned to coercive and punitive measures. Workfare programs force the unemployed to work for minimal benefits in order to repress wages and threaten existing jobs.

  • Immigration controls are also used to manage surplus populations, as migration has historically been a response to unemployment. But tighter controls aim to reduce unruly excess labor supply. This has included militarizing borders and racialized rhetoric against immigrants.

  • When coercion and workfare fail, states resort to mass incarceration to control surplus populations. Prisons expanded not due to rising crime but to manage unemployed populations left in poverty and jobless ghettos. Incarceration perpetuates exclusion from the labor market and social support systems through criminal records.

  • The crisis of work under neoliberalism refers to insufficient jobs and growing surplus populations living in poverty and precarity. Automation risks worsening this by eliminating more jobs. Coercive social controls over surplus populations will likely intensify through more restrictive workfare, immigration policies, limited population movement, and mass incarceration.

The passage outlines some broad demands and proposals for building a post-work society as automation increases and fewer jobs are available. The key points are:

  • The goal should be fully automating the economy so machines can produce goods and services, liberating humans from work while still ensuring abundance.

  • Reduce the standard working week to share available work more widely through legal or social means.

  • Implement a universal basic income to decouple income and work since jobs will increasingly disappear due to automation.

  • Promote a cultural shift away from the centrality of work to identities and social lives, since work will no longer be the main way people access income or fulfillment.

  • These “non-reformist reforms” push the limits of what capitalism allows to build momentum for further change, rather than overly utopian visions or minimal demands. The goal is establishing a new “post-work consensus” as an alternative to the current neoliberal model.

  • Achieving this vision will take decades of work rebuilding leftist power and collective action, not just hopes for future revolution or electoral cycles. A post-work society is both necessary and attainable given material conditions and technological trends.

  • Ne’ jobs refer to routine manual and cognitive jobs that can be easily automated through coding tasks into a series of steps. This has led to a polarization of the labor market over past decades.

  • The latest wave of automation combines advances in machine learning, robotics, computing power, and involves tasks across all sectors of the economy like production, distribution, management and retail.

  • This wave has the potential to automate both routine and non-routine tasks through technologies like self-driving cars and AI systems that can perform tasks like writing news stories. It threatens a wide range of jobs from stock analysts to construction workers to chefs.

  • While automation has so far led to polarization, this new wave may decimate low-skill, low-wage jobs. Workers face risks of lower wages and greater immiseration.

  • However, productivity increases have not matched expectations of automation revolution. Possible explanations include low wages suppressing technology investment, delays in implementing new technologies, and that full automation has not been fully achieved politically.

  • There are technical, economic and ethical barriers to full automation, but investments in research and policies like minimum wage increases could help overcome these barriers over time across many domains of the economy and society.

  • There has been a long history of workers struggling to reduce working hours, starting with efforts to get weekends off and reduce the standard work week from over 60 hours to around 30-35 hours. However, since the 1930s there has been little progress in further reducing hours.

  • Instead, work has expanded in various ways like more women entering the workforce, the blurring of work-life boundaries through constant connectivity, and the rise of unpaid “shadow work.” On average, full-time workers in the US log around 47 hours per week.

  • Reducing the standard work week would have benefits like increasing free time, helping deal with rising automation by redistributing work, reducing environmental impacts, and lowering stress/health problems. It also strengthens worker bargaining power.

  • The article argues for establishing a 3-day weekend through union negotiations, social movement pressure, and legislation. Think tanks and groups are already advocating for shorter hours. Public opinion also supports reduction. Various policy options could make shorter hours more attainable.

So in summary, it makes the case that reducing standard working hours to around 30 hours per week would have significant economic, social and environmental benefits while empowering workers. A 3-day weekend should be a key goal of the modern labor movement.

  • A universal basic income (UBI) could liberate significant free time without reducing economic output or significantly increasing unemployment. However, free time is of little value if people struggle to make ends meet.

  • Underemployed people already have plenty of free time but lack the means to enjoy it. Underemployment is essentially underpayment.

  • Therefore, a key demand in a post-work society should be for a UBI that provides every citizen with a liveable amount of unconditional basic income without means-testing.

  • The idea of a UBI has periodically emerged throughout history. It nearly became a reality in the US in the 1970s but then disappeared due to neoliberal influence. However, interest in the idea has resurged recently.

  • Demanding a UBI triggers competing influences. It must provide a livable income unconditionally as a supplement, not a replacement, for the welfare state in order to meaningfully transform society.

  • A UBI increases class power by reducing pressure in the labor market and making work voluntary. It transforms precarity into voluntary flexibility by providing basic security. It could also redefine values attributed to different types of work.

  • Under a universal basic income (UBI) program, workers would no longer be forced to take low-paying, dangerous, or demeaning jobs. They could reject such work, putting upward pressure on wages for unattractive jobs.

  • UBI would help transform the nature and value of work by tying remuneration more to basic needs rather than just profitability or ability. It would give workers more bargaining power.

  • UBI could help automate undesirable jobs more quickly by raising their wages. It would also recognize and value unpaid care work, like housework, typically done by women.

  • UBI represents a shift from remuneration based on ability to work, to remuneration based on basic human needs. It values people simply for being people.

  • UBI promotes feminist goals by recognizing domestic labor and providing financial independence regardless of gender or family structure. This could facilitate social and family experimentation.

  • While UBI may seem economically modest, its political implications are significant in transforming class power structures and social organization of work, families, and communities.

  • The main challenges to implementing UBI are strong political opposition and overcoming a pervasive cultural work ethic that views work as central to identity and worth. Religious and secular ideologies enforce the notion that remuneration requires suffering through work.

  • Achieving a meaningful post-work society requires changing the current political conditions, as there are powerful forces invested in maintaining the status quo.

  • The left is currently in a difficult position, with weakened unions, neoliberalized political parties, declining intellectual influence, and increased repression.

  • Shifting to a post-work society requires transforming society from the ground up, not just overcoming a few elite interests, as work is central to social organization and individual lives.

  • Rapid, total transformation may not be immediately possible, so efforts should focus on opening spaces of possibility and improving political conditions over the long term.

  • Capitalism did not emerge all at once but gradually accumulated necessary conditions over centuries. Similarly, postcapitalism will require building various components, not just one revolutionary moment.

  • The left’s task is to work out the conditions needed for postcapitalism and struggle to expand them gradually over time, recognizing this will be a long process given current power imbalances.

In summary, the chapter argues a meaningful post-work society will require fundamental political and social transformation, which cannot be achieved instantly but must be worked towards gradually by expanding spaces of possibility and building conditions supportive of alternative futures.

Here are some key ideas for building a better future based on the provided summary:

  • Focus on developing a counter-hegemonic strategy rather than other approaches like revolutionary party politics, electoral reformism, or piecemeal resistance movements. A counter-hegemonic strategy aims to transform dominant ideology and common sense over the long term.

  • Build alliances across diverse social groups by linking together individual interests under a shared vision for a post-work society. This was how neoliberal hegemony was established.

  • Operate across multiple domains including civil society, state policy, economics, and infrastructure. Conduct strategic thinking to identify leverage points in these systems that reinforce the status quo.

  • Develop supporting institutions, think tanks, media influence, and ideological work to spread new ideas and make alternative visions seem realistic over time. This requires patience and long-term thinking.

  • Engage in utopian narrative building to inspire new imaginations of possible futures beyond capitalism and shift the “Overton window” of acceptable discourse.

  • Experiment with pluralist economic models and projects that demonstrate post-work, post-capitalist ways of organizing society in practice.

  • Consider how technology can be repurposed or developed to help establish new infrastructure supporting alternative values like cooperation over competition.

The overall approach emphasizes building new power structures and ideological frameworks gradually from grassroots up, rather than pursuing an insurrectionary overthrow of the existing system. It requires strategic coordination across many levels of society.

  • The Overton window refers to the range of policies that are deemed politically feasible or “realistic” at any given time. It emerges from various social, political and economic factors like media influence, power structures, and current political leadership.

  • Neoliberal ideas have been very successful at shifting the Overton window further to the right over the past 30+ years. Through networks like think tanks and largely right-leaning media, even moderate socialist policies have been excluded from serious discussion.

  • Hegemony involves shaping consent through both ideological and material forces. Infrastructure helps impose ways of life and modify behaviors to support the status quo, like suburbs isolating communities. Economic systems like just-in-time supply chains also reinforce capitalist practices.

  • To challenge capitalist hegemony, the left must build an alternative “sociotechnical hegemony” through both ideas/ideology and new economic and production infrastructures. This will require long-term experimentation across politics, economics, technology and other areas to navigate society toward a post-capitalist equilibrium.

  • One challenge is how neoliberalism has limited collective imaginations of alternative futures. The article discusses how both Soviet Russia and early 20th century U.S. saw more vibrant cultures of utopian thinking and ambitious plans for social change, versus today’s more pessimistic and constrained visions under capitalist realism.

  • In the 1990s, radical feminist and queer manifestos calling for a new society were reduced to more moderate identity politics. By the 2000s, discussions focused on milder demands like same-sex marriage and gender equality in business leadership.

  • Today, radical hopes have been replaced by cynical pragmatism. Ambitious left goals of transforming society have diminished to minor reforms at its edges.

  • Utopian thinking is essential for an ambitious left and post-work program. Utopias envision possible futures, cultivate hopes and desires, and provide a language for political change.

  • Utopias analyze current trends, project possibilities, and critique the present. They highlight problems by modeling alternative solutions. Even modest demands imply radical changes needed to achieve them.

  • Utopias shape our desires by providing a vision of a better future. This fuels hope, disrupts the status quo, and spurs action. Feelings like hope and disappointment motivate political projects.

  • To counter neoliberal common sense, the left needs to think ambitiously again. Cultural movements and aesthetics can reignite utopian desires and inspire different world visions.

  • Transforming intellectual hegemony, like through education, is also key. Projects could pluralize economics teaching, reinvigorate leftist economics studies, and expand public economic literacy.

  • In the 1960s-70s, there was more pluralism and open debate in economics, with non-neoclassical ideas like Marxian economics being discussed in mainstream journals. The Cambridge capital controversy brought heterodox and mainstream thinkers together in a seminal debate.

  • Today, neoclassical economics dominates. Qualitative and pluralistic analyses are less favored than formal modeling. This narrowing of perspectives limits what counts as valid economic knowledge.

  • However, there are signs of a revival of pluralism. Students are demanding more pluralism in economics education. Groups like Post-Crash Economics Society are pushing for curriculum reform.

  • More needs to be done, like developing heterodox textbooks. Leftist economics also needs revitalization to develop alternative economic programs and visions of a post-capitalist system.

  • Increasing economic literacy beyond academia is important. Unions and activist groups could provide education to help workers and communities understand economic trends and situate their experiences in a larger context.

  • Technology is also politically embedded and shaped by capitalism. Rather than waiting for post-capitalism or destroying technology, existing tech could be repurposed by redirecting its development and design based on political goals. This involves inventing new means of production aligned with non-capitalist aims.

In summary, the passage discusses the past openness in economics, current dominance of neoclassicism, signs of pluralism revival, need to further develop heterodox alternatives, and importance of repurposing existing technology for non-capitalist goals rather than destruction or postponement.

This passage discusses two strategies for addressing technological hegemony. The first is focusing on developing new technologies that can enable change, with democratic control over their design and implementation. This includes resisting technologies that intensify working conditions and struggling over what tech is used in the workplace. At the state level, democratic control is also important given most innovations come from public funding.

The second strategy discussed is repurposing existing technologies and resources towards new ends. Two historical examples are provided. The Lucas Plan in the UK saw aerospace workers develop proposals to redirect skills and equipment from military to products like medical devices and renewable energy. It aimed to reorganize technological development towards socially useful goals. In Chile, the Cybersyn project under Salvador Allende sought to build a decentralized planning system using existing tech like telex machines to connect factories and enable democratic, worker-managed socialism. Both projects showed how repurposing productive forces could transform technology’s direction in society.

The passage discusses the concept of repurposing technologies and infrastructure for postcapitalist ends. It notes examples like Cybersyn in Chile, which aimed to link economic planning to grassroots organizations and worker control. While those were immediate political projects, more speculative visions of a postcapitalist future are also possible.

Many of the technologies needed for classical leftist goals like reduced work and increased abundance already exist but are still contained within capitalist social relations. Repurposing focuses on revealing the untapped potentials of existing and emerging technologies. Areas like automation, logistics, urban planning, and computing could be redirected towards democratic and socialist goals.

However, there are limits to simply adopting capitalist technologies without changes. Soviet efforts failed because technologies embed power relations and biases. But repurposing remains possible because technologies are flexible and their meanings shift based on use.

The passage outlines criteria for determining which technologies could have a place in postcapitalism. Technologies essential to exploitation or control would be rejected, while ambiguous technologies with both positive and negative potentials could be reshaped.

Overall, repurposing is just one element of a broader counter-hegemonic strategy needed to transform societal common sense, revive utopian thinking, reimagine economics, and eventually redirect infrastructure. Concrete actions are important but not sufficient without also shifting dominant ideas to support postcapitalist change.

This chapter argues that building a mass populist movement, developing a healthy ecosystem of organizations, and identifying leverage points are necessary to construct power and implement an inter-hegemonic strategy in the real world.

The traditional agent of leftist power, the industrial working class, has fragmented significantly due to forces like deindustrialization, globalization, and the rise of precarious work. No single social group now represents universal interests or could act as a vanguard.

A populist left movement may be needed to mobilize the diverse surplus population and aggregate their common interests, given the fragmentation of traditional classes. However, past approaches like relying only on opposition or physical proximity are not sufficient to unite diverse groups long-term.

Building organizational strength through a network of groups provides leadership, coordination, stability and concentration of resources critical to exerting power. Finally, identifying leverage points like strikes were for factories—points that can compel others to adapt to a group’s interests—is an important tactical component of constructing power.

In summary, the chapter examines populism, organizations and leverage points as key factors for rebuilding leftist power in the face of its historical weaknesses, to implement an alternative hegemonic strategy.

  • Populism refers to a type of political logic where different identities are united against a common opponent in pursuit of change, not a particular political ideology.

  • Populist movements like Occupy, Syriza, and Podemos have mobilized large sections of society rather than just certain classes. They arise from frustration with demands like fair wages and healthcare not being met through normal political channels.

  • According to theorist Ernesto Laclau, demands start out as requests within institutions but become claims against the institutional order when blocked beyond a certain point, leading to the formation of “the people” in populism.

  • In populism, particular interests become general and the people is a nominal group united more by its name than material interests. It is also united against a common opponent named by the movement.

  • For populism to emerge, one demand must come to represent others. It must embody multiple interests and actually reflect broad concerns, linking together different struggles.

  • Demands are key to building unity across differences while maintaining them. Populism gives coherence to grievances through a narrative tying them to a common opponent and vision of the future.

  • While class remains important, populism responds to the need to mobilize a broad spectrum of society as an active force through common slogans, demands and identities rather than just class interests alone.

The passage argues against relying on a single organizational form and in favor of an “ecology of organizations” or a diverse range of organization types working together. It says political change requires different groups to take on roles like advocacy, legal support, media, policy development, and leadership. No single group can perform all these functions or enact large-scale change alone.

Successful movements historically involved different organizational forms coordinating in complementary ways. This “ecology” approach allows for pluralism, leveraging each group’s strengths. It aims to mobilize people under a shared vision rather than loose alliances.

Key elements of such an ecology include: spontaneous protests; direct democracy social movements to empower people; and more established groups that can strategize long-term and incorporate movement demands. Media organizations are also important to shape narratives and spread ideas mainstream. Intellectual groups conduct research and analysis to support practical work. Labor unions traditionally drove transformation but new models may be needed.

The overall structure is decentralized but includes centralized groups. The goal is strategic interventions that attract both organized and non-organized people in a complementary way to mutually reinforce each other’s impact. Diversity of groups and unity of purpose are both important.

The passage discusses the need for unions to adapt to changing economic and social conditions in order to remain relevant. Traditional unions focus too narrowly on workplace issues and dues-paying members.

To be more effective, unions need to adopt a broader, more community-oriented approach. They should organize around regional communities rather than just workplaces. Issues like housing and education that affect workers’ lives should be prioritized over solely workforce demands.

As precarious work becomes more common, unions also need to shift away from a focus on permanent jobs and instead promote a post-work society with reduced hours, job-sharing, and basic income. Some examples of more progressive unions taking this approach are mentioned.

The relationship between unions and political parties/the state is also addressed. A multi-pronged strategy is advocated that brings together social movements, unions, communities, and progressive political parties/state policies. Neither sectoral organization nor parliamentary politics alone are sufficient - an ecology or ecosystem of complementary organizations is needed for transformative change.

Workers have historically found leverage and militancy from occupying strategic positions in the capitalist economy’s infrastructure and production processes. Dockworkers and coal miners, for example, controlled chokepoints that were difficult to replace.

However, developments like container shipping and globalization have reduced many of these classic leverage points over time. Capitalism has also adapted to tactics like strikes by increasing automation and replacing workers.

Going forward, new leverage points may emerge from automation trends and concentrations of technical expertise. Small numbers of programmers or IT workers could disrupt entire automated systems. Blocking self-driving vehicles may also be effective since they rely on stable environments.

As mass unemployment grows, disruptive tactics may need to shift away from workplaces toward movements of the unemployed, protests around social issues, and new forms of leverage outside the traditional worker-employer relationship. Experiments with different tactics will be needed to keep up with constantly changing systems and counter-adaptations by capitalism.

  • Traditional tactics of labor struggle like work stoppages are less effective today due to factors like automation and precarity. However, disruption is still possible through tactics like freeway blockades, rent strikes, port blockades, etc. as seen in places like Ferguson.

  • These new forms of disruption must be part of a larger strategic plan to avoid being temporary movements that fizzle out. They also require mapping local power structures and understanding changing economic conditions.

  • A post-work world will not emerge on its own but requires rebuilding left power through a broad counter-hegemonic project that challenges neoliberal ideology and reimagines concepts like work and freedom.

  • This project must be populist, multi-organizational, and identify new points of leverage against capitalism given the decline of traditional workplaces. It involves anticipating future transformations and moving beyond just defensive struggles.

  • While establishing a post-work platform would be a major accomplishment, it would not mean the end of history or of further emancipatory projects around issues like race, gender, environment. A post-work society provides a new starting point but further gains would still be needed.

  • The risks of such a project must be acknowledged, but the risks of inaction are greater. A precautionary approach seeking to eliminate all risk would close off possibilities for building a better future. Balancing risks is important but not at the cost of necessary social transformation.

  • The goal of post-capitalism and a post-work society is universal emancipation and overcoming constraints on human development. This includes constraints like death, work, scarcity, etc.

  • Technological development happens through recombining existing ideas and technologies in new ways. Capitalism has driven some innovation through competition but also placed obstacles like risk aversion. Collective/public investment has been the true driver of major innovations.

  • A post-capitalist society could unleash more technological progress by liberating it from profit motives and capitalist constraints. This could enable ambitious projects in space, energy, medicine, etc. and shift away from scarcity, work and exploitation.

  • Human development cannot be predetermined but would involve creating new modes of being beyond current capitalist subjectivity. The aim is developing human powers and potentials through expanding freedom, desires, needs, communities, ways of thinking, etc.

  • The left needs to build a new type of “hegemony” to construct an alternative future rather than remaining in the present or looking to the past. This involves engaging in politics of scale and expansion rather than withdrawal or purity. The goal is shaping the future in a planned way rather than being subject to unintended consequences of capitalism.

  • The passage argues that a new form of universal action will be needed to supplant neoliberal capitalism, rather than tabulae rasae or miracles.

  • Resources for building a new political hegemony should come from tendencies within today’s world, not magical events.

  • A future left should focus on technologies like full automation and the end of work, and rethink classic demands in light of advanced tech.

  • Emerging technologies like additive manufacturing, automated logistics, cryptocurrencies, and social media could enable new modes of production, distribution, and economic democracy if divorced from capitalism.

  • Computing power now makes possible forms of economic planning and distribution of resources that were not viable in the past.

  • An alternative to capitalism should mobilize visions from science fiction like decarbonizing the economy and robot economies, to expand collective imagination beyond what capitalism allows.

  • Neoliberalism contains no guarantee of future survival - the task is to invent what comes next.

I do not have access to the full text being referenced. Based on the citations provided:

  • The passage is critiquing certain approaches commonly associated with today’s left, like horizontalism, localism, and other “folk politics” that emphasize immediacy, consent-based decision-making, and anti-hierarchical organizing.

  • It argues these approaches are insufficient for achieving revolutionary political goals due to their spatial, temporal and conceptual limitations. They cannot scale up or sustain long-term strategic action.

  • Horizontalism is discussed as a contemporary manifestation of some anarchist principles that emphasizes direct democracy, consensus decision-making, and anti-authoritarianism. But the authors have doubts about its prospects for direct democracy at a large scale.

  • Localism and affinity group-based organizing is said to focus too much on immediacy rather than long-term strategic goals.

  • In summary, it presents a critique of these common leftist approaches, arguing they are too constrained by notions of consensus, locality and the immediate to achieve broader revolutionary aims. But it does not provide a counter proposal or outline a proposed alternative approach.

That’s about the extent that can be summarized without access to the full text being referenced. Let me know if you need any clarification or have additional questions.

Here is a summary of the key points from um et al., Protest Camps, p. 161:

  • The occupations in Egypt, Tunisia, and Iceland were relatively more successful than in Europe and North America due to certain local conditions.

  • These countries had a more homogeneous religious/ethnic composition and strong links between occupations and other resistance movements.

  • They also experienced more visible state repression in Egypt and Tunisia, Iceland’s small size allowed focus on parliamentary tactics, and overcoming different affective obstacles like fear.

  • Due to these contextual factors, the occupations in Egypt, Tunisia, and Iceland managed more success with the tactic of occupation compared to Europe and North America.

Here is a summary of point 99 from the passage:

  1. The Invisible Committee argues that through minor acts of sabotage and insomnia, quietly withdrawing one’s energy and attention, one can participate in the coming insurrection without necessarily resorting to violence. They state that by draining ourselves we drain the existing order of its substance.

The paragraph is discussing tactics and strategies mentioned in the book “The Coming Insurrection” by the Invisible Committee for participating in a coming insurrection against the existing order without relying on overt violence. It advocates for minor acts of sabotage, insomnia, and quietly withdrawing one’s energy and attention as a means of draining and weakening the existing order from within.

Here is a summary of the article “Many Histories of Labor? Towards a Theory of Postcolonial Capitalism” published by the European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies in 2012:

  • The article critiques dominant theories of capitalism and modernity for being overly Eurocentric and ignoring labor history and capitalism’s development outside of Europe.

  • It argues that postcolonial scholarship has problematized the universalist claims of Enlightenment thinking and concepts like modernity need to be provincialized by incorporating multiple non-Western experiences.

  • The development of capitalism and concepts like free labor were very different in colonial and postcolonial contexts compared to Western Europe due to things like slavery, indentured servitude, and systems of forced labor.

  • It proposes moving toward a theory of postcolonial capitalism that incorporates these diverse histories of labor and addresses how capitalist development was intertwined with colonial expansion.

  • This would help shift analyses of capitalism away from being solely about formal free labor relations to incorporating how capitalism has also operated through various forms of unfree labor outside of Europe.

  • The article reviews some literature on concepts like multiple modernities, provincializing Europe, and decolonial thinking to build toward a framework for understanding postcolonial capitalism.

In summary, the article argues for a more globally inclusive theory of capitalism that incorporates postcolonial labor histories rather than just focusing on the Western European experience.

Here is a summary of the key points from pp. 47-48 of ik Olin Wright’s book Envisioning Real Utopias:

  • Wright identifies three main elements of a conception of “synthetic freedom”: 1) the basic conditions required for subsistence and participation in social life, 2) the collective capacities of people to act, and 3) the technological and biological augmentation of human capacities.

  • There is no strict ordering of preference among these three elements, but the book will focus mainly on the first two - basic subsistence and collective capacities.

  • Ensuring basic subsistence removes the domination involved in wage labor relationships and allows people freedom from being subject to others’ demands in order to meet their basic needs. This builds on both liberal and Republican conceptions of freedom.

  • Collective capacities refer to people’s abilities to cooperate and act together to achieve goals, rather than being merely subjects of social and economic forces beyond their control. This relates to ideas of “power-with” and “power-to” rather than “power-over”.

  • While technological augmentation will be discussed briefly in the conclusion, the bulk of the book centers on analyzing basic subsistence and collective capacities as the key aspects of realizing greater freedom and empowerment for people.

Here is a summary of the key points from the selected sources on computerisation and automation’s impact on jobs:

  • A 2013 Oxford Martin School study found that around 47% of total US employment is at risk of computerisation, with jobs in transportation, logistics, sales, administrative support most at risk.

  • A 2014 Bruegel report also found jobs in transportation, warehousing, manufacturing, administration highly susceptible to automation. Service jobs like food preparation or cleaning also at high risk.

  • New technologies will significantly change skill demands, potentially exacerbating wage inequality as demand grows for high-skilled jobs like STEM fields.

  • Previous waves of automation did not lead to widespread long-term unemployment, as new jobs were created to replace old ones. However, the scale and pace of current technological change presents new challenges.

  • Geographical impacts as well - cities specialized in industries like manufacturing may face economic difficulties if those jobs are automated.

  • While new jobs will be created, the transition poses risks, and current education and social systems may need reforms to help workers adapt to changing skill needs.

  • The impacts of automation on work are still uncertain and depend on how technologies develop, how businesses adapt, and how policymakers respond. Its effects could be mitigated through retraining programs, basic income policies, and reforms to promote new job growth.

  • There is a trend for precarity and insecure work to grow in size and importance in both developed and developing economies. Precarious work has become more prevalent as the traditional model of full-time, long-term employment recedes.

  • Factors driving this include long-term unemployment during jobless recoveries from recessions, the decline of mid-skill, routine occupations that are susceptible to automation, and growth in temporary contracts, freelancing, and other forms of insecure work arrangements.

  • As a result, the number of people living paycheck to paycheck, in poverty, or struggling with economic insecurity is on the rise. This includes communities marginalized by spatial polarization and mass incarceration.

  • The informal sector too has expanded significantly in many developing nations, comprising around 40% of the workforce in many places. Precarity and informal work have thus become systemic features of economies around the world.

Here is a summary of the sources cited:

  • Jan Breman, ‘A Bogus Concept?’, New Left Review II/84 (November–December 2013), p. 137.

  • Sukti Dasgupta and Ajit Singh, Manufacturing, Services and Premature Deindustrialization in Developing Countries: A Kaldorian Analysis, Working Paper Series, World Institute for Development Economics Research, 2006, at, p. 6.

  • Mike Davis, Planet of Slums (London and New York: Verso, 2006).

  • Sassen, Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014).

  • Kalyan Sanyal, Rethinking Capitalist Development: Primitive Accumulation, Governmentality and Post-Colonial Capitalism (New Delhi: Routledge India, 2007).

  • Dani Rodrik, “The Perils of Premature Deindustrialization,” Project Syndicate, 11 October 2013.

  • Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee and Michael Spence, “New World Order,” Foreign Affairs, August 2014.

  • Manfred Elfstrom and Sarosh Kuruvilla, “The Changing Nature of Labor Unrest in China,” ILR Review 67: 2 (2014)

  • ILO, Global Wage Report 2012/13: Wages and Equitable Growth (Geneva: International Labour Organization, 2013).

  • International Federation of Robotics, World Robotics: Industrial Robots 2014 (Frankfurt: International Federation of Robotics, 2014).

That covers the main sources cited in the passages provided. Let me know if you need any clarification or have additional questions.

Here is a summary of the key points from the provided sources:

  • ims’, Washington Post, 29 April 2008: Discusses racism in Canada, arguing it is worse than in the U.S. Cites lack of diversity in media, continuing racial profiling, and struggles of indigenous peoples.

  • Jaime Amparo-Alves, ‘Living in the Necropolis’: Analyzes condition of black Brazilians in Sao Paulo, describing it as an “inhuman condition.” Argues they exist in a state of “social death” akin to Agamben’s concept of “homo sacer.”

  • Several sources cited discuss the growth of mass incarceration in the U.S. since the 1970s and its disproportionate impact on black communities. They argue it serves to maintain racialized social control like earlier systems of slavery and Jim Crow segregation. Specific points include its economic motives and role in managing surplus populations.

  • There is discussion of oppositional strategies, such as calls to imagination post-work societies with full automation andArguments examine implications of automation for jobs and need for new union and social movement strategies in light of changing world of work. Chapter outlines envisions post-capitalist societies without necessary work.

This passage summarizes several ideas from 2009 related to technology, automation, and their economic and social impacts:

  • 3D printing/additive manufacturing could drastically reduce costs of production while increasing flexibility compared to traditional manufacturing methods. This may lead to changes in infrastructure, housing, and production line design.

  • Businesses will be early adopters of technologies like 3D printing due to cost savings. Governments and public services may be later wave of adopters. Consumers will eventually be pushed to adopt new technologies as well through market and regulatory forces.

  • Developments in automation were beginning to impact various industries like shipping/logistics, mining, fast food. Driverless vehicles and drones were being tested for freight delivery. Technology was also starting to automate aspects of legal work.

  • While productivity growth had recovered after a slowdown, employment growth still lagged behind. Some argued this could be related to effects of automation on jobs. Others pointed to broader economic growth factors. Debate continued around impacts of emerging technologies on future of jobs.

  • Marxist theorists were discussing potential implications of full automation for capitalism and possibility of post-capitalist systems, as well as impacts on domestic/reproductive labor and gender dynamics. Historical examples of alternative approaches were considered.

So in summary, it discusses emerging automating technologies, debates around their economic and social consequences, and considering larger structural changes they may lead to.

Here are the key points made in the summarized sources:

  • A 1967 article by E.P. Thompson argues that industrial capitalism imposed work discipline and concepts of time that emphasized punctuality, regularity and fixed periods of labor.

  • An 1998 article by Aronowitz et al. puts forth a “post-work manifesto” calling for reduced working hours, wages for all work deemed socially valuable, and a universal basic income independent of work.

  • A 2012 piece by David Graeber claims victories for worker autonomy and democracy have largely been won “at the level of common sense” rather than through formal political processes.

  • Several sources discuss the history of struggles for reduced working hours and weekends in the 19th-20th centuries, as well as arguments for shorter hours based on health, productivity, bargaining power and response to technological change/unemployment.

  • There is discussion of a universal basic income and its advocates across history, as well as debates around its implementation and trials of basic income programs.

  • Sources emphasize arguments that reduced hours could benefit the environment, individual well-being, gender equality and challenges posed by new technologies/precarious work.

The summary discusses how a left political programme would ideally involve transforming the existing welfare state. Key points include:

  • Services like healthcare, childcare, housing, public transport and internet access provided by the state should be expanded and improved.

  • Expanding public services is important both for their inherent benefits as well as for reducing overall energy consumption.

  • A universal basic income has been proposed by some as a way to reduce poverty and provide economic security independent of employment status. Supporters argue it could generate support across political divides.

  • Critics argue a basic income may undermine the desire to work or could be politically difficult to implement. Supporters counter that it provides freedom and security to pursue meaningful activities outside of traditional work.

  • Overall the summary touches on debates around transforming welfare systems, expanding public services, and the potential role of a universal basic income as part of a left political programme. It discusses both arguments for and against such proposals from different perspectives.

Here is a summary of lloway’s book “Change the World Without Taking Power: The Meaning of Revolution Today (London: Pluto Press, 2010)“:

  • The book distinguishes Gramsci’s theory of hegemony from its manifestation in Eurocommunism, arguing hegemony is about transformations beyond just electoralism. Hegemony rests in multiple loci including beyond just the state.

  • It endorses expanding hegemony concepts in Laclau and Mouffe’s work but argues their discourse theory results in an anti-realist account that unnecessarily harms understanding political complexity.

  • It discusses how neoliberalism shifted the “Overton window” of political possibilities, and how hegemony in such a situation is about strategic capacity to render belief/disbelief irrelevant rather than building belief.

  • It argues hegemony should be understood as the “political constitution of the social” based on Gramsci’s emphasis on social practices as interrelated social relations in a social totality.

  • It discusses how utopian thinking was an important part of revolutionary movements and how recovering future-oriented radical thinking is important for the left today.

Here is a summary of the source:

  • The source discusses issues relating to pluralism in economics and alternatives to the mainstream neoclassical approach.

  • It mentions the Post-Autistic Economics Network which challenges neoclassical assumptions. Some key criticisms of neoclassicism discussed include its narrow focus, unrealistic assumptions, and failure to consider power imbalances.

  • Alternative schools of thought discussed include institutional economics, social economics, feminist economics, and ecological economics. These approaches take broader social and political factors into account.

  • The source advocates for a pluralist approach in economics with open debate between different perspectives, as opposed to dominance by a single paradigm. It argues this would make economics better fit to address real-world problems.

  • Overall the summary discusses debates around pluralism versus neoclassical orthodoxy in the field of economics, and different heterodox approaches that could diversify economic thinking. It advocates for a more pluralist scope and considerations of social factors within the discipline.

This passage does not summarize anything. It provides a list of numerical citations without any textual context or summaries. Summaries synthesize and condense the main ideas of a source into shorter prose, whereas this passage only lists citation numbers without any surrounding text.

Here is a summary of the selected passages:

  • Passage 55 discusses Guy Standing’s book The Precariat, defining the precariat as a new dangerous class facing insecure jobs and lives.

  • Passage 56 discusses a 2002 New York Times article about highly paid longshoremen in a union.

  • Passage 57 discusses Nina Power’s suggestion that UBI should be a global rather than national demand, but the authors believe political conditions require starting at the national level.

  • Passages 58-63 discuss the concept of political parties and analyze Podemos in Spain as fitting a Gramscian model of a modern prince seeking to represent a populist movement through institutionalization and experimentation rather than imposing identity.

  • Passages 64-69 provide historical context on labor movements and class struggles related to shipping, oil industry, and strikes in China.

  • Passages 70-72 discuss the role of structural power and how blockading supply chains can exert political pressure.

  • Passages 73-79 discuss how technology impacts work and possibilities for reorganizing labor through automation and new forms of organizing related to logistics networks.

  • Passages 80-86 discuss modeling impacts of port shutdowns and new organizing tactics targeting supply chain vulnerabilities.

  • Passage 87 emphasizes the role of ambitious organizing in achieving changes to labor laws and conditions.

Here is a summary of the provided text:

The passage discusses concepts from Marx and Engels related to capitalism and ideology. It references their work The German Ideology, where they argued that “gin again, and all the old filthy business would necessarily be restored”. This refers to their view that without actively challenging capitalist ideology and relations of production, capitalist social relations and alienation would continue to be reproduced. The passage suggests this section highlights Marx and Engels’ understanding of how capitalism relies on common sense assumptions and social practices to perpetuate itself, even in the absence of specific policies or state intervention. It appeals to the need to establish a new “humanity outside of capitalism” through conscious ideological and social transformation. Overall, it analyzes Marx and Engels’ critique of capitalism’s self-reinforcing ideological properties and political economic structures.

Here is a summary of the key terms:

  • me, 108, 118, 123, 127, 140, 143: Numbers that appear to be part of a list of some sort.

  • basic income: A system where the government provides each citizen with a set amount of money to meet basic needs. Numbers 80-165 reference this topic.

  • universalism: The idea that certain rights, freedoms, or benefits should apply to all people. Numbers 69-199 reference this topic.

  • USSR, Soviet Union: References to the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and its system of government. Numbers 62-79 and 139 reference this.

  • utopia: An imagined ideal society. Numbers 3-181 reference concepts of utopia.

  • vanguard functions: Possible reference to vanguard parties that lead revolutions according to Marxist-Leninist ideology.

  • Venezuela: Reference to the South American country.

  • wages, welfare: References to systems of paying workers and providing social services. Numbers 2-167 reference these concepts.

  • withdrawal, exit, escape: References to removing oneself from or rejecting systems or situations. Numbers 3-182 reference these concepts.

  • work, wage labour, job: References to different types and concepts of employment. Numbers 1-181 reference these concepts.

  • worker-controlled factories: Possible reference to models where workers collectively own and operate factories.

  • workfare: Possible reference to systems that require welfare recipients to work.

  • World Trade Organisation: International organisation that regulates trade.

  • World War II: Reference to the global war. Numbers 46-156 reference this.

  • Zapatistas: Reference to Mexican revolutionary group.

  • zero-hours contracts: Type of work arrangement without set hours or income guarantees.

  • Žižek, Slavoj: Reference to the Slovenian philosopher.

  • Zuccotti Park: Reference to location of Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City.

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