Published in October 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
The world of work is changing but society and politics have yet to adapt. Rapid economic and technological change will drive political conflict in the coming generation. That’s the starting point of Ryan Avent’s The Wealth of Humans, which maps out the coming transformations and offers a guide to building more equitable social institutions.
Avent argues that the addition of a billion new workers to the global workforce in the coming decades at a time when digital technology is automating more jobs will cause something economists usually agree can’t happen: a labour glut. For the many the choice will be simple: work for less or don’t work at all. He compares the coming changes to the industrial revolution: a similar period of aggregate economic progress marked by intensive distributional conflict.