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Power and Progress: Our Thousand-Year Struggle Over Technology and Prosperity

Simon Johnson

Daron Acemoglu

Throughout history, technological change - whether in the form of agricultural improvements in the Middle Ages, the Industrial Revolution, or today's artificial intelligence - has been viewed as a main driver of prosperity, working in the public interest.  The reality, though, is that technology is shaped by what powerful people want and believe, generating riches, social respect, cultural prominence, and further political voice for those already powerful. For most of the rest of us, there is the illusion of progress.

Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson debunk modern techno-optimism through a dazzling, original account of how technological choices have changed the course of history. From vivid stories of how the economic surplus of the Middle Ages was appropriated by an ecclesiastical elite to build cathedrals while the peasants starved, to the making of vast fortunes from digital technologies today as millions are pushed towards poverty, we see how the path of technology is determined and who influences its trajectory.

To achieve the true potential of innovation, we need to ensure technology is creating new jobs and opportunities rather than marginalizing most people, through automated work and political passivity.  We need to use the tremendous digital advances of the last half century to create useful and empowering tools, rather than "so-so" technologies  that replace workers but fail to improve productivity, seizing back control from a small elite of hubristic, messianic tech leaders pursuing their own interests.

With their breakthrough economic theory and manifesto for building a better society, Acemoglu and Johnson provide the understanding and vision  to reimagine and reshape the path of technology and create true shared prosperity.

  • Classification : BUSINESS, MANAGEMENT & ECONOMICS
  • Pub Date : MAY 11, 2023
  • Imprint : Basic Books Uk
  • Page Extent : 560
  • Binding : TPB
  • ISBN : 9781399804462
  • Price : INR 899
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Simon Johnson

SIMON JOHNSON is the Ronald A. Kurtz Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Sloan School at MIT, where he is also head of the Global Economics and Management group. Previously chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, he has worked on global economic crises and recoveries for thirty years. Johnson has published more than 300 high-impact pieces in leading publications such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Atlantic, and Financial Times. He is the co-author (with Jonathan Gruber) of Jump-Starting America, and (with James Kwak) of White House Burning and the national bestseller 13 Bankers. He works with entrepreneurs, elected officials, and civil society organizations around the world.

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Daron Acemoglu

DARON ACEMOGLU is Institute Professor of Economics at MIT, researching the historical origins of prosperity, poverty, and the effects of new technologies on economic growth, employment, and inequality. He is the recipient of several awards and honours, including the John Bates Clark Medal, awarded to economists under forty judged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge (2005); the BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award in economics, finance, and management for his lifetime contributions (2016), and the Kiel Institute's Global Economy Prize in economics (2019). He is the co-author (with James Robinson) of The Narrow Corridor and the New York Times bestseller Why Nations Fail.

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