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Power and Progress

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781399804486

Price: £12.99

ON SALE: 18th May 2023

Genre: Economics, Finance, Business & Management

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UPDATED WITH A NEW PREFACE

LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE
LONGLISTED FOR THE FINANCIAL TIMES AND SCHRODERS BUSINESS BOOK OF THE YEAR
SHORTLISTED FOR THE LIONEL GELBER PRIZE
A FINANCIAL TIMES TECHNOLOGY BOOK OF THE YEAR


‘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 benefits the elites – and how we must reshape the path of innovation to create true shared prosperity.

A thousand years of history make one thing clear: progress is not automatic but depends on the choices we make. Much of the wealth generated by agricultural advances during the Middle Ages was captured by the Church while the peasants starved. The first hundred years of industrialization delivered stagnant incomes for workers, while making a few people rich. Throughout the world today, digital technologies and artificial intelligence increase inequality and undermine democracy. 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. With their breakthrough economic theory and manifesto for a better society, Acemoglu and Johnson provide the vision to reshape how we innovate so we can create real prosperity for all.

Reviews

This singular book elevated my understanding of the present confluence of society, economics, and technology. Here we have a synthesis of history and analysis coupled with specific ideas about how the future can be improved. It pulls no punches but also inspires optimism
Jaron Lanier, author of TEN ARGUMENTS FOR DELETING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS RIGHT NOW
One powerful thread runs through this breathtaking tour of the history and future of technology, from the Neolithic agricultural revolution to the ascent of artificial intelligence: Technology is not destiny, nothing is pre-ordained . . . In this age of relentless automation and seemingly unstoppable consolidation of power and wealth, Power and Progress is an essential reminder that we can, and must, take back control
Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, 2019 Nobel laureates in Economics
A sweeping history of more than a thousand years of technical change . . . An important book that is long overdue
Sir Angus Deaton, 2015 Nobel laureate in economics
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. It offers their addictive hallmarks: sparkling writing and a big question that affects our lives . . . Read, enjoy, and then choose your lifestyle!
Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of GUNS, GERMS, AND STEEL
Acemoglu and Johnson would like a word with the mighty tech lords before they turn over the entire world economy to artificial intelligence. The lesson of economic history is technological advances such as AI won't automatically lead to broad-based prosperity-they may end up benefiting only a wealthy elite . . . it's a bracing wake-up call for the rest of us
Niall Ferguson, author of THE SQUARE AND THE TOWER
A book you must read: compelling, beautifully written, and tightly argued, it addresses a crucially important problem with powerful solutions
Rebecca Henderson, author of REIMAGINING CAPITALISM IN A WORLD ON FIRE
The technology of artificial intelligence is moving fast and likely to accelerate. This powerful book shows we now need to make some careful choices to really share the benefits and reduce unintended, adverse consequences. Technology is too important to leave to the billionaires. Everyone everywhere should read Acemoglu and Johnson - and try to get a seat at the decision-making table
Ro Khanna, Silicon Valley member of Congress
Two of the best economists alive today are taking a closer look at the economics of technological progress in history. Their findings are as surprising as they are disturbing. This beautifully written and richly documented book marks a new beginning in our thinking about the political economy of innovation
Joel Mokyr, professor of economics and history, Northwestern University
Will the AI revolution increase the average worker's productivity while recusing their drudgery, or will it simply create more exploitative and heavily surveilled workplaces run by robotic overlords? That is the right question, and luckily Acemoglu and Johnson have set out to answer it, giving it profound historical context, combing through the economic incentives, and lighting a better path forward
Cathy O’Neil, author of WEAPONS OF MATH DESTRUCTION and THE SHAME MACHINE
Technology is upending our world - automating jobs, deepening inequality, and creating tools of surveillance and misinformation that threaten democracy. But Acemoglu and Johnson show it doesn't have to be this way. The direction of technology is not, like the direction of the wind, a force of nature beyond human control. It's up to us. This humane and hopeful book shows how we can steer technology to promote the public good. Required reading for everyone who cares about the fate of democracy in a digital age
Michael J. Sandel, author of THE TYRANNY OF MERIT
A remarkable analysis of the current drama of technology evolution versus human dignity . . . Acemoglu and Johnson offer a fresh vision of how this drama unfolds by highlighting human capabilities and social skills. They are deeply informed, masters at synthesis, and passionate about shaping a better future where innovation supports equality
Ben Schneiderman, author of HUMAN-CENTERED AI
Here, from two of the greatest economists of our time, we have the definitive refutation of the techno-determinist story that has held us back from building a better future for the last four decades. With a bit of luck, we may look back at this as a turning point where we collectively once again took responsibility for defining the world we want technology to empower us to live in together
E. Glen Weyl, research lead and founder, Decentralized Social Technology Collaboratory, Microsoft Research Special Projects
In this brilliant, sweeping review of technological change past and present, Acemoglu and Johnson mean to grab us by the shoulders and shake us awake before today's winner-take-all technologies impose more violence on global society and the democratic prospect. This vital book is a necessary antidote to the poisonous rhetoric of tech inevitability . . . Power and Progress is the blueprint we need for the challenges ahead
Shoshana Zuboff, author of THE AGE OF SURVEILLANCE CAPITALISM
Renowned MIT economists Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson explain in their important and lucid book how the transformation of work could make life even worse for most people, or, possibly, much better - depending on the political and social and technological choices we make starting now . . . With revealing, relevant stories from throughout economic history and sensible ideas for systemic reform, this is an essential guide for this crucial battle in the 'one-thousand-year struggle' between the powerful and everyone else
Kurt Anderson, author of EVIL GENIUSES
Faced with fresh upheaval, the authors make a positive case for how societies can maximise the benefits of our powerful new technologies to the advantage of all
Financial Times, 'Best Books of 2023 - Technology'
A call to arms
Irish Times
Important and absorbing
Observer
An important new book
Bloomberg
Renowned MIT economists Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson explain in their important and lucid book how the transformation of work could make life even worse for most people, or, possibly, much better - depending on the political and social and technological choices we make starting now . . . With revealing, relevant stories from throughout economic history and sensible ideas for systemic reform, this is an essential guide for this crucial battle in the "one-thousand-year struggle" between the powerful and everyone else
Kurt Andersen, author of EVIL GENIUSES
Acemoglu and Johnson would like a word with the mighty tech lords before they turn over the entire world economy to artificial intelligence. The lesson of economic history is technological advances such as AI won't automatically lead to broad-based prosperity - they may end up benefiting only a wealthy elite. Just as the innovations of the Gilded Age of American industrialization had to be reined in by progressive politics, so too, in our Coded Age, we need not only trade unions, civil society, and trustbusters, but also legislative and regulatory reforms to prevent the advent of a new panopticon of AI-enabled surveillance. This book will not endear the authors to Microsoft executives, but it's a bracing wake-up call for the rest of us
Niall Ferguson, Milbank Family Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and author of THE SQUARE AND THE TOWER
Two of the best economists alive today are taking a closer look at the economics of technological progress in history. Their findings are as surprising as they are disturbing. This beautifully written and richly documented book marks a new beginning in our thinking about the political economy of innovation
Joel Mokyr, Robert H. Strotz Professor of Arts and Sciences, Northwestern University, and author of THE LEVER OF RICHES: TECHNOLOGICAL CREATIVITY AND ECONOMIC PROGRESS
Decisions on how we manage this tension between risk and opportunity are ultimately political. In their remarkable book Power and Progress, economists Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson provide a compelling framework for thinking this through
Guardian