Inventing the Future | Nick Srnicek

Summary of: Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work
By: Nick Srnicek


Welcome to the captivating world of ‘Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work’ by Nick Srnicek. This book summary delves into the limitations of folk politics and proposes a new approach for the left to grapple with the complexities of the present era. With the rise of automation, neoliberalism’s stronghold, and a renewed interest in universal basic income, Srnicek challenges the status quo and invites us to ponder a future beyond traditional work. Engaging and thought-provoking, this summary will take you on a journey through the changing landscape of politics, economics, and societal structures. Discover a new perspective on how we can reimagine our future in this rapidly changing world.

Why Folk-Politics Fails

The failure of folk politics lies in a short-term vision, personal action over systematic thinking, and emotional appeals over rational ones.

Folk Politics is a term that refers to ideas and attitudes emphasizing local, direct-action, and small-scale approaches to politics. This approach to political action puts feelings above critical thinking and strategy. Examples of folk politics are movements like ethical consumption, student occupations, and Occupy Wall Street. These movements may have received media attention, but they often fail to bring about structural change in the long run. Why is this? Because folk politics is focused on everyday manifestations, not systemic causes. It promotes personal action over systematic thinking. Therefore, folk politics is not a reliable long-term strategy for effecting structural change. In essence, it reacts to government and corporate initiatives instead of guiding the course of history.

Folk politics concentrates on single issues and loses sight of the bigger picture. For instance, Live Aid in 1985 raised money to provide famine relief in Ethiopia. However, the group’s approach only appealed to people’s emotions, rather than their critical and rational minds. Consequently, it led to the civil war’s extension, thereby worsening the famine. The problem with appealing to emotions is that it has no sustainable and long-term strategy or vision.

In conclusion, folk politics is not morally incorrect or bad. However, it lacks a sustainable, long-term strategy. For meaningful structural change to happen, rational and constructive actions need to be taken.

Folk Politics: Simplifying Complexity

Folk politics is an ineffective approach due to its focus on immediate, self-gratifying goals and its failure to recognize the necessity of longer-term vision. While it simplifies complex global issues, folk politics limits lasting, long-term change. Its appeal lies in its ability to direct energy at concrete, immediate actions, but this bypasses the complex, elusive reality of global relations. By separating everyday experiences from the systems within which we live, we become alienated from them. Conspiracy theories and folk politics provide simple answers to complex issues, but they obscure our own role in the situation at hand and simplify cause-and-effect relationships.

Neoliberalism’s Rise

Neoliberalism is a political ideology that relies on state influence to sustain a free-market capitalist world order. It has infiltrated all aspects of society and has become the norm, making it practically impossible to see any alternative. However, before becoming a behemoth, neoliberalism emerged in Vienna and Chicago in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1938, a transnational organization called the Mont Pelerin Society was formed with the aim of developing and spreading a new type of liberalism. The society included key figures like Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, and Milton Friedman, who played a pivotal role in bringing neoliberalism to dominate the global stage.

The Rise of Neoliberalism

Neoliberalism became the dominant political ideology through a carefully planned long-term strategy. Neoliberals constructed policy arguments and pushed them through think tanks, universities, and the media, generating a massive audience for their ideas. Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose was a significant work and contributed significantly to the movement’s success. The left must learn from neoliberalism’s success and strategize in the long term to build an alternative vision for society. Leadership and organization must be more sophisticated, and a positive vision for society must be constructed.

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