The Wealth of Humans

Work and Its Absence in the Twenty-first Century

Ryan Avent

'Ryan Avent is a superb writer ... highly readable and lively' Thomas Piketty

To work is human. It puts food on the table, meaningfully structures our days, and strengthens our social ties. When work works, it provides the basis for a stable social order.

Yet the world of work is changing fast, and in unexpected ways. With rapid advances in information technology, huge swathes of the job market - from cleaners and drivers to journalists and doctors - are being automated, or soon will be: a staggering 47% of American employment is at risk of automation within the next two to three decades. Yet at the same time millions more jobs are being created. What does the future of work hold?

In this illuminating new investigation of what this revolution in work means for us, Ryan Avent lays bare the contradictions in today's global labour market. From Volvo's operations in Sweden to the vast 'Factory Asia' hub in China, via Indian development economists and Silicon Valley venture capitalists, he offers the first clear explanation of the state we're in-and how we could get out of it.

With an ever-increasing divide between the rich and the rest, Avent states, something has got to give. The traditional escape routes - improved education, wage subsidies, and new industries built by entrepreneurs-will no longer work as they once did. In order to navigate our way across today's rapidly transforming economic landscape, he argues, we must revisit our previous experiences of massive technological change - and radically reassess the very idea of how, and why, we work.

  • Allen Lane
  • Published 20th September 2016
  • 288 Pages
  • £9.99