'The blueprint we need for the challenges ahead' Shoshana Zuboff
'If you are not already an addict of Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson's previous books, Power and Progress is guaranteed to make you one' Jared Diamond
'A breathtaking tour of the history and future of technology' Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo A bold new interpretation of why technology has all too often benefited elites - and how we must reshape the path of innovation to create true shared prosperity.
A thousand years of history and contemporary evidence make one thing clear. Progress is not automatic but depends on the choices we make about technology. New ways of organizing production and communication can either serve the narrow interests of an elite or become the foundation for widespread prosperity.
Much of the wealth generated by agricultural advances during the European Middle Ages was captured by the Church and used to build grand cathedrals while the peasants starved. The first hundred years of industrialization in England delivered stagnant incomes for workers, while making a few people very rich. And throughout the world today, digital technologies and artificial intelligence increase inequality and undermine democracy through excessive automation, massive data collection, and intrusive surveillance.
It doesn't have to be this way. Power and Progress demonstrates that the path of technology was once - and can again be - brought under control. The tremendous computing advances of the last half century can become empowering and democratizing tools, but not if all major decisions remain in the hands of a few hubristic tech leaders striving to build a society that elevates their own power and prestige.
With their breakthrough economic theory and manifesto for a better society, Acemoglu and Johnson provide the understanding and the vision to reshape how we innovate and who really gains from technological advances so we can create real prosperity for all.