The War on Normal People
From entrepreneur Andrew Yang, the founder of Venture for America, an eye-opening look at how new technologies are erasing millions of jobs before our eyes-and a rallying cry for the urgent steps America must take, including Universal Basic Income, to stabilize our economy. The shift toward automation is about to create a tsunami of unemployment. Not in the distant future--now. One recent estimate predicts 45 million American workers will lose their jobs within the next twelve years--jobs that won't be replaced. In a future marked by restlessness and chronic unemployment, what will happen to American society? In The War on Normal People, Andrew Yang paints a dire portrait of the American economy. Rapidly advancing technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics and automation software are making millions of Americans' livelihoods irrelevant. The consequences of these trends are already being felt across our communities in the form of political unrest, drug use, and other social ills. The future looks dire-but is it unavoidable? In The War on Normal People, Yang imagines a different future -- one in which having a job is distinct from the capacity to prosper and seek fulfillment. At this vision's core is Universal Basic Income, the concept of providing all citizens with a guaranteed income-and one that is rapidly gaining popularity among forward-thinking politicians and economists. Yang proposes that UBI is an essential step toward a new, more durable kind of economy, one he calls "human capitalism."

The War on Normal People Details

TitleThe War on Normal People
Author
ReleaseApr 3rd, 2018
PublisherHachette Books
ISBN-139780316414241
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Economics, Politics, Business, Science, Technology

The War on Normal People Review

  • Mrs. Europaea
    January 1, 1970
    Move over Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Mama has a new issue to plague her sleepless nights.In The War on Normal People, Yang, outlines the upcoming employment crisis to hit the United States. With increasing measures by businesses and organizations to make all things automated for reasons of "productivity and efficiency", he lists the industries most in jeopardy due to technological advancements. Industries include but are not limited to: Office and Administrative Assistant, Sales and Retail,, F Move over Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Mama has a new issue to plague her sleepless nights.In The War on Normal People, Yang, outlines the upcoming employment crisis to hit the United States. With increasing measures by businesses and organizations to make all things automated for reasons of "productivity and efficiency", he lists the industries most in jeopardy due to technological advancements. Industries include but are not limited to: Office and Administrative Assistant, Sales and Retail,, Food Preparation, Transportation, and Production.As a fairly new resident of the Midwest I can personally attest that the Transportation industry is in jeopardy. If you've ever driven on I-65 you know that no matter the time of day Semi's are overwhelmingly ubiquitous. When Yang cites that truck driving will go automated in the next ten to fifteen years due to "national competitiveness and human welfare" it's hard to develop an argument against it. We've all been held up in traffic due to an accident that was later deemed in full or partial fault to truck driver negligence. Yet when you look at the statistics for accidents of the automated trucks being tested in Ohio and California it is virtually non-existent. For this argument in particular, what are the solutions? Well, Yang again outlines a few possibilities, many of which seem as grim as the decline of employment and the increase of unemployment. Yet he ends optimistically enough by saying that many companies are already trying to change their work ethic to something more "human." Human capitalism as he calls it places more value on the human doing the task than on profit driven capitalism. Is this enough? Probably not, but the fight is in all of us not to stand by and let AI take over, and chances are that we will fight because as AI eliminates our opportunities we as a people will finally understand what it means to unite as one, to stand and fight for society's future. The bottom line is we do not want our future generations living in what used to only be true in dystopian novels and unfortunately it may take hitting rock bottom for many of us to realize it.
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  • Muhan
    January 1, 1970
    When Donald Trump was elected President in 2016, I was living in Miami, FL. At the time, I had lived through three cycles of boom and bust in the United States. The great recession, in particular, sparked my interest in economics and its impact on society. At the time, learning about subprime mortgages, securitization, foreclosures, and interest rates engrossed me in a profound but technical manner. As the Big Short summarized so succinctly, how could “5 trillion dollars in pension money, real e When Donald Trump was elected President in 2016, I was living in Miami, FL. At the time, I had lived through three cycles of boom and bust in the United States. The great recession, in particular, sparked my interest in economics and its impact on society. At the time, learning about subprime mortgages, securitization, foreclosures, and interest rates engrossed me in a profound but technical manner. As the Big Short summarized so succinctly, how could “5 trillion dollars in pension money, real estate value, 401k, savings, and bonds” just disappear? My fascination turned to shock, and eventually to a keen sense for economic justice, as I learned more about American economic history. Unlike the first half of the 20th century, the second half for real American income growth had been stagnant. Simultaneously, all the building blocks of the good life: real, nutrient-dense food; healthcare; education; and owning a home in a metro area with jobs, had skyrocketed in cost. In essence, labor had been abused and bloodied for a quarter century, and no one seemed to care.Given this, I was only mildly surprised by America’s electing of a fast dealing celebrity populist lookalike. All around me, among the immigrants, minorities, rideshare drivers and my fellow Miamians, there was sympathy for Trump, and what they believed to be a message for the little guy. Even Bill Clinton foresaw and worried about the wave of populism in the United Kingdom, a proxy for other “enlightened” countries, with Brexit and what it meant for Hillary. Despite the screaming and shouting of increasing racism/misogyny/xenophobia/etc, I came to see this viewpoint as intellectually lazy and a convenient scapegoat. It’s much easier to demonize someone who looks different than you than to look at numbers and the story those numbers tell. Thankfully, “The War on Normal People” has made understanding the story of those numbers, and the people behind the numbers, easier than ever. Reading Yang’s book is like a combination of Eddie Huang, Jane Jacobs, Matthew Desmond, Hanna Rosin, and Tyler Cowen. It is as unlikely a combination as it is valuable in its combination of humor and memoir, economic and social commentary, raw, unbridled intellectual ambition and audacity of topical breadth. In three eponymous parts, Yang covers “what’s happening to jobs”, “what’s happening to us”, and finally proposing “solutions and human capitalism.” Part I: reads like an economic undergraduate education in merely 80 pages. My favorite section by far, and emblematic of Yang’s pull-no-punches style, is “The Usual Objections” chapter, addressing usual objections to warnings of current economic peril, meticulously answering (with citations) arguments like “there will always be more jobs”, “government should retrain workers”, and others. The only topic I found under-addressed was the stagnant wages question and how, even for those with jobs, most of us are less well-off than a comparable American just a few decades ago. Yang covers this more in section, but I would like to have more material on the “silent majority” of situations between the dipoles of “displaced” and “bubble insiders.”Part II: Yang taps into his sociological side to explain “Life In the Bubble”, qualified by his experience founding Venture for America and years working to channel college educated youth to job creating businesses in underserved American cities. Through seven chapters, we are given a sweeping tour of societal collapse and disintegration on every level, tying research, evidence, and common sense to show the relation between economic security and our plethora of social ills. Turns out, everyone becomes a worse version of themselves when resources feel scarce: money talks, but often whispers, at all levels of the economic pyramid. *A favorite passage: “That is not to say that the people in the bubble have it good… In the bubble, the market governs all. Character is a set of ideas that comes up in the books we read to our children before sending them to test for the gifted and talented program, or a means of doing right by our bosses and reports, or a good way to burnish one’s personal network. On some level, most of us recognize that we are servants to the tide of innovation and efficiency. As the water rises, we will protest as we clamber to higher ground. We will be sure to stay out of the way and keep ourselves pliant and marketable to the extent possible. Our specialty is light-commitment benevolence. We will do something to help but not enough to hurt us or threaten our own standing. We know better than to do that.”Part III: is the most exciting section for anyone who wishes to peek at the good life of the future, (sneak preview: it includes AI, solar energy, and lots of mobile technology.) In the final and most radical conclusion, Yang paints a portrait of a revitalized state rebuilding a robust safety net. At the centerpiece of this safety net is universal basic income, a cash stipend of $1000 given to all American adults every month, no strings attached. Again, as with part one, Yang addresses the knee-jerk objections to basic income with plenty of evidence and citations. As someone who continues to wrestle with the implication of a basic income, I was pleasantly surprised to learn about Alaska and the Alaska Permanent Fund, which has paid an annual cash dividend to all residents successfully for decades.This is not to say that the final section of Yang’s book is an easy read, however. By his own admission, Yang states that basic income “...is the easy part of the transition. Money is easy. People are hard. For all of the immense good a basic income will do, it is just the first step.” He then promptly lays out what options for steps two, three, and beyond include: a value added tax of 10% that will in effect distribute wealth from the winners of new technology to the rest of society; time banking; digital social credits; and a potpourri of science fiction sounding solutions. Next to these radical, eyebrow raising proposals, giving people cash and adding metrics for human well-being to the national debate seem easy by comparison. In a critical twist: unlike most authors, Yang is also currently a U.S. presidential candidate running as a Democrat in 2020 to solve these problems. To the joy of some, the woe of others, much of his other solutions reads like a progressive agenda with teeth and fight: Medicare for all, banning public officials from getting in bed with industry, taxing megarich universities that skimp on student aid while hoarding billions in their endowments, regulating social media and technology companies that behave anti-competitively etc. If he maintains this clear and concise commitment to solutions that actually work, then the 2020 election will already be more productive than the last cycle.Reading “The War on Normal People” is mechanically an easy task, but emotionally exhausting. It is smart, tight, and occasionally sprinkled with comedic relief, with a very high density of knowledge to length. The scale of topics that it addresses are massive, however, and even for someone with a high degree of previous background, it can require the reader to reread for comprehension. (For example: combing Yang’s footnotes on the source of the 10% value added tax plan lead me to Andy Stern’s Raising the Floor, helping me understand that Yang’s plan only increases taxes on corporations and individuals consuming more than $120,000 annually, post-tax. This helped me understand the “tax on automation” and where the “money is coming from.”) All in all, for its category, “The War on Normal People” is a strong and surprisingly accessible sophomore work by a unique author. Yang appears to be a rare breed that has both the intellect to understand vast societal problems and the character to actually try and solve them. Either way, readers should be thankful to see an author bring us above the trees to see the forest on these modern issues, and read this book to understand the issues in 2020.
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  • Andrew Frawley
    January 1, 1970
    It’s hard to be in the year 2018 and not hear about the endless studies alarming the general public about coming labor automation. But what Yang provides in this book is two key things: automation has already been ravaging the country which has led to the great political polarization of today, and second, an actual vision into what happens when people lose jobs, and it definitely is a lightning strike of “oh shit.”I found this book relatively impressive and frightening. Yang, a former lawyer, en It’s hard to be in the year 2018 and not hear about the endless studies alarming the general public about coming labor automation. But what Yang provides in this book is two key things: automation has already been ravaging the country which has led to the great political polarization of today, and second, an actual vision into what happens when people lose jobs, and it definitely is a lightning strike of “oh shit.”I found this book relatively impressive and frightening. Yang, a former lawyer, entrepreneur, and non-profit leader, writes showing with inarguable data that when companies automate work and use new software, communities die, drug use increases, suicide increases, and crime skyrockets. The new jobs created go to big cities, the surviving talent leaves, and the remaining people lose hope and descend into madness. (as a student of psychology, this is not surprising)He starts by painting the picture of the average American and how fragile they are economically. He deconstructs the labor predictions and how technology is going to ravage it. He discusses the future of work. He explains what has happened in technology and why it’s suddenly a huge threat. He shows what this means: economic inequality rises, the people have less power, the voice of democracy is diminished, no one owns stocks, people get poorer etc. He shows that talent is leaving small towns, money is concentrating to big cities faster. He shows what happens when those other cities die (bad things), and then how the people react when they have no income (really bad things). He shows how retraining doesn’t work and college is failing us. We don’t invest in vocational skills, and our youth is underemployed pushed into freelance work making minimal pay. He shows how no one trusts the institutions anymore.Then he discusses solutions with a focus on Universal Basic Income. I was a skeptic of the idea until I read this book. You literally walk away with this burning desire to prevent a Mad Max esque civil war, and its hard to argue with him. We don't have much time and our bloated micromanaged welfare programs cannot sustain.
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  • Donna Hines
    January 1, 1970
    Americans are becoming more angered, more frustrated, even more depressed and despondent in this Dog Eat Dog world we currently reside in as they struggle for basics to simply survive.Jobs are being replaced by automation, innovation, technology as the new norm. What happened to benefits for all workers, affordable healthcare and childcare, availability of full time work with paid family leave, equal pay, living wages, seniority, and hiring based on skills and or education rather than income or Americans are becoming more angered, more frustrated, even more depressed and despondent in this Dog Eat Dog world we currently reside in as they struggle for basics to simply survive.Jobs are being replaced by automation, innovation, technology as the new norm. What happened to benefits for all workers, affordable healthcare and childcare, availability of full time work with paid family leave, equal pay, living wages, seniority, and hiring based on skills and or education rather than income or connections? Can we not keep nepotism and corruption out of human resourcing?Pensions are non existent , social security is depleted, our current form of government is too big and not transparent nor workable, cities and states are in the red, financial stress for families is beyond measurable and so too is accounting for accurate unemployment rates. The Great Displacement is in effect and steam rolling through leaving behind deserted and dilapidated buildings and shells of former life as we once knew it to exists.Companies are relocating for cheaper labor and less taxation while employees are being left to pick up the pieces being forced to reinvent themselves in hopes of securing a future that currently is beyond repair for many of us."The logic of meritocracy is leading us to ruin, because we are collectively primed to ignore the voices of the millions getting pushed into economic distress by the grinding wheels of automation and innovation. We figure they're complaining or suffering because they're losers."Survival mode is a daily mode for the former middle class , working poor, and the poor locked in to poverty ( myself).We are not uneducated. We don't want handouts. We don't want pity, empathy, sympathy.Let me begin my story in hopes of enlightening many about the new war against the 'Average American' as one of the so called Normal People as described here.For starters, according to stats quoted ," There are presently 95 million working age Americans, a full 37% of adults, who are out of the work force." "In 2000, there was only 70 million."Unemployment rates are inaccurate as they do not take into account the working poor who are working but not being paid a living wage to support themselves, those out of the work force longer than 6 months, those who gave up looking for work, and those who are working part time, temp, or seasonal work not receiving full time benefits nor pay.As I currently write this, I'm living below poverty in 2018; after divorcing a malignant narcissist from an 11 year marriage-13 yrs together.I'm the primary caregiver of our 3 kids ( 17, 13, 11 yo with oldest child med disabled since birth on social security disability) and have my Masters. My only income is child support and disability on behalf of son). When he turns 18 he loses child support and disability goes for review based on medical re evaluation. If he still qualifies he will then continue to receive and payments will be paid out to him directly. So our current un earned income will be far less than even below poverty level (if you can fathom that idea).My story is lengthy as I was left bankrupt, homeless, long term unemployed having given up career to raise family alone while spouse resided and worked entire marriage 5 states away having only weekend visits ( if at all). You can read my full story here : https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/dispel... Volunteering was a way for me to keep searching for employment while being useful and productive yet as you can see not one company wishes to hire the LT unemployed as I'm overqualified as noted by HR and under skilled having no prior work experience due to giving up career to raise my family. In addition I'm already below poverty level and need a job to lift me higher not lower with less salary than poverty level. My debt as you can imagine with Masters student loans is over 30k , my medical debt with a child born without insurance over 30k, my debt living on credit w/o income to support my family awaiting child support and alimony was over 100k and resulted in bankruptcy. This doesn't take into account the fact I'm section 8 approved but as a single mom with 3 teens was declined many apartments due to kids and domestic violence pfa filed. As you may know landlords don't like to rent with kids due to concerns for damage to property and dv survivors are often excluded for violence concerns as nuisance properties may result in too many calls for 911 assistance. Without credit you cannot get a car, an apartment , nor even a job so please read my link above as it's all listed there.Andrew Yang mentions the human component over the almighty dollar which sounds nice in theory but speaking isn't enough we need action and we need it immediately."The unemployment rate is like checking how a party is going based on everyone who's at the party. It doesn't take into account the people who were never invited to the party or couldn't get in."In addition, Brown U grads like yourself and my brother shows that many moved to 1 0f 4 metro areas after graduating ( yet fail to mention the over 100k debt he incurred @BrownU resulting in his bankruptcy) nor is the cost of living factored in moving and the issue that it's that much harder for the older crowd with families to uproot and leave a dying area economically. Might I add he moved from Pa to Ca and worked with an Ivy League education as an Uber driver. Not quite luxury. In addition, we cannot all move to Ca, DC, Boston, NYC, or Mass there must be another alternative."A culture of scarcity is a culture of negativity.""We are quickly transitioning from the land of plenty to the land of "you get yours I get mine." "Where jobs disappear , society falls apart."So the solution in all this despair?Well, UBI as the Universal Basic Income where a version of Social Security is paid out to all citizens to receive a set amount of money per month regardless of work status and income. Ie. Bernie Sanders -- : A minimum standard of living should be entitled for all Americans.Perhaps the Digital Social Credit is another avenue to explore. Rewarding for serving communities through volunteering.Ironically, Cabot Cheese Cooperative has already in place a similar program whereby incentives and prizes are awarded to not only the individual but their nonprofit for community service hours. In fact I was awarded the prize a few years ago for volunteering with over 13 nonprofits. For further information on my volunteering and the program see this link: https://rewardvolunteers.coop/donna-g..."Poverty is not a lack of character , it's a lack of cash."Human Capitalism focuses more on the human component and less on the greed.The market has overrun our leaders. Government is too big and not transparent to handle this fast moving technologically advanced global demand.Making education more affordable and accessible may or may not succeed. For me I'm not sure my masters was worth it as I graduated with high honors yet not one company believes in me nor my abilities nor skills to give me the chance after child rearing. I now am not sure what to tell my 3 teens one of which is a junior in high school about further education as less than 1/3 are hired in jobs requiring it.In closing, I've taken my story about food insecurities, poverty, domestic violence was told by Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn) to every member of Congress. SEE pg 38 here: https://d3b0lhre2rgreb.cloudfront.net... I've also been awarded the Points of Light Award by Pres. George H.W. Bush in highlighting my struggles while serving others see here: http://www.pointsoflight.org/programs...I would add I've also counciled others while seeking employment in the field of criminal justice or Public Administration having over 36k readers on my FB page across 45 countries worldwide in 45 different languages : https://www.facebook.com/thelostself/My community service to help women and children was acknowledged with Maternal and Family Health Services : https://www.mfhs.org/?s=donna+hinesThe work I do to assist my community in reading enhancement through goodreads giveaways and direct library donations can be viewed here: https://www.netgalley.com/member/profile Having nearly 5 k viewers on my LinkedIn profile while seeking employment as a freelance writer with over 40 blogs can be viewed here : https://www.linkedin.com/in/donna-hin... Now I can tell you one last thing for anyone to think the poor don't work can simply click any one of my links or articles as I worked first hand with nonprofits on the front line to serve my community's needs.I know first hand the guilt, the shame, the embarrassment begging for basics for survival while being ostracized and shamed daily for not working hard enoughPrior to having kids I worked two jobs to put self through college and was top producer in two departments at Lord and Taylor Distribution Center (factory work over 400 units per hr).I was awarded a 10 cent raise as Associate of the month and top producer in both CTH and GTH with a total salary of $7.25 hr resulting in 3 degenerative disks now in upper, mid, and lower back and ganglion cysts on wrist requiring surgery to simply move my right hand nearly 30 years later. That job still pays same wage nearly 20 yrs later yet ironically cost of living has risen 10x since those earlier years.I left when I was injured without compensation when a 50 lb trolley went off rail landing on top of my head.I went to college, got married, had kids, and well the rest is history.So I ask anyone reading this what's next for those of us who are educated but lack the funds to establish our own way of life and are now 'locked in to poverty'.For every cent we receive increase ( ie cost of living ) we lose in another form of assistance as they go hand in hand and are all closely monitored.While jobs exists they pay peanuts and I can't afford to live less than poverty nor pay off debt with less than poverty.So I wonder where do we; the ones not in the top 1%; go from here as many us of have the skills, are trained, are educated but are passed up for nepotism? See link here as one such example http://standardspeaker.com/news/relea...Many jobs I applied were given to male counterparts even with my resume and application on file. Other jobs were lost during government freeze by governor and then downsized and lost even though I had better skills than the HR doing the hiring based on his own report to me.Another job was given to a man with more billing and coding experience than I yet the job will train and he was out of area. Ironically I was good enough to be provided the community service award a few years later but not for hire.I will also advise you that for white mid class women we are the minority. We are passed up because of being mothers of older age who require benefits and flex scheduling with child care options made available. Many of us were left without the basics no home, no income, no credit nor savings, in fact my kids college funds were depleted by their father and was to be repaid but much like the pfa it's a piece of paper that's not enforced.Companies want to be cost effective and the way to that is by hiring the young who don't require as much as the older skilled and well trained employees.Your novel talks plenty about the unskilled and uneducated but what about the skilled and educated who are passed up all for the bottom dollar?I wonder where we go now?
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  • Diane Pagen
    January 1, 1970
    I read The War On Normal People. I recommend it to everyone, which makes it a different kind of book. Even though I love, say, detective novels, and biographies, I won't recommend them to every kind of person. The War On Normal People stands out to me as being able to improve the lives of every person.Andrew Yang isn't screwing around, telling us that we need to ponder the problem of automation, so that in a few years we can maybe do something. Pondering is not helpful. Indeed, he points out tha I read The War On Normal People. I recommend it to everyone, which makes it a different kind of book. Even though I love, say, detective novels, and biographies, I won't recommend them to every kind of person. The War On Normal People stands out to me as being able to improve the lives of every person.Andrew Yang isn't screwing around, telling us that we need to ponder the problem of automation, so that in a few years we can maybe do something. Pondering is not helpful. Indeed, he points out that we continue to ponder automation at the expense of lives. And he is correct: look what "pondering" climate change for a few decades as something that was "in the future" got us: weather disasters more than once a year, a total mess that is upending the lives of millions. Kicking the can down the road on automation will destroy us, he portends, and we can't keep kicking that can down the road while people get more desperate and there are fewer real jobs and opportunities.This book is giving us an opportunity to act on the damage from automation that is taking place now. The proposal for a Universal Basic Income of $1,000 a month is realistic, fair, and smart. You only have to get on a subway in NYC to see what automation is doing to humans. Half the humans on a subway at 3am are homeless; the other half are working themselves into the ground for a job that has terrible hours and doesn't pay enough. Everyone looks shut down and devoid of joy. For many of us and our friends, we are running faster and faster trying to "achieve" but feeling unhappy a lot of the time. The book talks about this.I especially like that Andrew Yang explains the course of events behind how he came to believe in a Universal Basic Income, and that he goes into his trips around the U.S. He describes the blighted areas he saw, empty buildings that were once busy factories. He adds what he saw with his own eyes to the conversations he has had with well-off people in technology, all of whom tell him that automation IS already here and HAS already eliminated jobs and that more will be lost. This book doesn't pretend that slowing down automation or stopping it is realistic or desirable. Andrew makes the case that the answer is distributing income of $1,000 a month to every American. He argues that it will cause us to become better in many ways. More compassionate, more calm, more productive, more healthy, more able and enthusiastic about solving the OTHER problems of human existence because we won't be starving, stressed, or homeless anymore. It will allow us to use automation for good. And, the money tech companies will be taxed to pay for a Universal Basic Income is just a small portion of what they owe for us allowing them to automate us out of traditional jobs. The War On Normal People reads like a conversation, and that makes it easier to take in all the evidence he provides on mass job loss, the opiate crisis, and human relationships. Even though the book has a good amount of data to make the case for a Universal Basic Income, it "flows" smoothly.I think this book is capable of bringing strangers together in conversation about our mutual future, and it is a call to rally for an economy that doesn't consume humans as a way of generating wealth. I also think it is a great book to get teenagers interested in the economy and to educate them to play a role in changing the economy so they will have a real future despite automation.
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  • Caren
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to read this book after hearing the author being interviewed on a podcast:https://samharris.org/podcasts/130-un...I actually listened to some of it in an audio-book format, read by the author, and then finished up by reading a physical book. (The author's audio performance was only so-so, but the content of the book was very thought-provoking.) More and more often, I read about the probability that automation will, in coming years, create worsening unemployment. What will happen to all I wanted to read this book after hearing the author being interviewed on a podcast:https://samharris.org/podcasts/130-un...I actually listened to some of it in an audio-book format, read by the author, and then finished up by reading a physical book. (The author's audio performance was only so-so, but the content of the book was very thought-provoking.) More and more often, I read about the probability that automation will, in coming years, create worsening unemployment. What will happen to all of those displaced workers? Mr. Yang has some interesting solutions in mind, one being universal basic income, funded by a VAT (value added tax, that is, a tax on consumption) of about 10% (which is half of the current VAT rate of European countries). Another solution is using a sort of time bank, in which a person could gain social credits by helping his neighbors with his own areas of expertise in exchange for receiving help later when needed. Mr. Yang plans to run for president in 2020. Given the entrenched two-party system we have in this country, I am dubious that he has much of a chance. Still, he has some serious solutions to problems the mainstream politicians seem to be ignoring. Listen to the podcast, read the book, and see what you think.
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  • Fiona Aboud
    January 1, 1970
    I found this amazing book to be incredibly powerful. The effect of reading Yang's book is literally like waking up and seeing the world in a new way. It's so easy to think of automation as someone else's issue, or a decades-away problem, but the book decidedly convinces the reader that we're already far, far in the middle of revolutionary changes that are manifesting themselves today for millions of people. The book is inspiring in the way it instills urgency. It moved me so strongly that I foun I found this amazing book to be incredibly powerful. The effect of reading Yang's book is literally like waking up and seeing the world in a new way. It's so easy to think of automation as someone else's issue, or a decades-away problem, but the book decidedly convinces the reader that we're already far, far in the middle of revolutionary changes that are manifesting themselves today for millions of people. The book is inspiring in the way it instills urgency. It moved me so strongly that I found myself sharing the arguments and evidence with everyone I know. Very well written, very well supported, and Yang's style is likable, factual, logical, and super engaging. I read the book in a little over a day because I couldn't put it down. Required reading for anyone that cares about the world.
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  • Miles
    January 1, 1970
    Like many others, I discovered Andrew Yang by way of his excellent interview with Sam Harris last month. Yang, who is running for President in 2020, immediately struck me as honest, intelligent, well-informed, and profoundly reasonable––a heroic foil for the repugnant personalities that dominate today’s national politics. Yang’s central campaign issue is the institution of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) for all Americans, a daring and promising idea that has been on my radar for some years now. Like many others, I discovered Andrew Yang by way of his excellent interview with Sam Harris last month. Yang, who is running for President in 2020, immediately struck me as honest, intelligent, well-informed, and profoundly reasonable––a heroic foil for the repugnant personalities that dominate today’s national politics. Yang’s central campaign issue is the institution of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) for all Americans, a daring and promising idea that has been on my radar for some years now. Yang’s excellent book, The War on Normal People, is the boldest and best argument for UBI to date.If you’re considering reading this book, be warned: it is tough. Not tough to understand––on the contrary, Yang’s writing is clean and balanced, with an appropriate smattering of personal anecdotes that humanize and endear him to the reader. But the majority of the book’s content is extremely grim. It comes as no surprise that one of his early readers suggested changing the titled to “We’re Fucked” (165). However, a hopeful path to positive solutions awaits readers willing to power through the first two sections.In Part One, “What’s Happening to Jobs,” Yang explicates the societal threat posed by automation, also referred to as technological unemployment. His case is persuasive, data-driven, and damned scary. Yang’s perspective is anchored by his personal experience in the world of traditional Ivy League elitism, as well as a more recent endeavor as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. He has seen firsthand how politicians and masters of industry leverage their wealth and influence to grow their careers and businesses, and assures the reader with confidence that “I am writing from inside the tech bubble to let you know that we are coming for your jobs” (xi).Inside this bubble, the idea that a company would give up a potential efficiency gain in order to retain employees is heretical, and companies routinely hone their cutting edge by automating one step ahead of the competition. The market cares nothing for the well-being of employees, rewarding scale and consolidation at every turn. In witnessing these patterns play out, Yang found himself forced to a unwelcome conclusion:"It has been my job for the past six years to create jobs. I’m about to lose––we’re all about to lose––on an epic scale. I’m now certain that the wave––the Great Displacement––is already here and is having effects bigger and faster than most anyone believes. The most pernicious thing about this wave is that you can’t really tell who it has hit as it grinds up people and communities. I’ve switched gears. My goal now is to give everyone a sense of what’s coming and then prepare us to fight for the version of the future that we want. It will be a massive challenge. It’s up to us; the market will not help us. Indeed, it is about to turn on us. The solutions aren’t beyond us yet, but it’s getting late in the day and time is running short. I need you to see what I see." (11)Yang pulls no punches as he describes the dire circumstances that already dominate the American labor market, with an even bleaker forecast just over the horizon. Here are some of his most distressing findings:"America is starting 100,000 fewer businesses per year than it was only 12 years ago, and is in the midst of shedding millions of jobs due primarily to technological advances…I remember the moment it finally sank in completely. I was reading a CNN article that detailed how automation had eliminated millions of manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2015, four times more than globalization." (10)"Many Americans are in danger of losing their jobs right now due to automation. Not in 10 or 15 years. Right now. Here are the standard sectors Americans work in: Office and Administrative Support (15.69% of workforce), Sales and Retail (10.35%), Food Preparation and Serving (9.25%), Transportation and Material Moving (6.93%), Production (6.49%). Sixty-eight million Americans out of a workforce of 140 million (48.5 percent) work in one of these five sectors. Each of these labor groups is being replaced right now." (27-8)"More than 5 million manufacturing workers lost their jobs after 2000. More than 80 percent of the jobs lost––or 4 million jobs––were due to automation…What happened to these 5 million workers? A rosy economist might imagine that they found new manufacturing jobs, or were retrained and reskilled for different jobs, or maybe they moved to another state for greener pastures. In reality, many of them left the workforce. One Department of Labor survey in 2012 found that 41 percent of displaced manufacturing workers between 2009 and 2011 were either still unemployed or dropped out of the labor market within three years of losing their jobs. Another study out of Indiana University found that 44 percent of 200,000 displaced transportation equipment and primary metals manufacturing workers in Indiana between 2003 and 2014 had no payroll record at all by 2014, and only 3 percent graduated from a public college or university in Indiana during that time period." (41-2)This is just a small sampling of the jaw-dropping figures Yang cites throughout The War on Normal People. Often, he doesn’t have to work very hard to make his case; the numbers speak for themselves. Yang frames the situation with the correct degree of urgency, using an approach I would characterize as responsible alarmism. In Chapter Eight, “The Usual Objections,” he follows in the footsteps of Martin Ford by demonstrating how the coming wave of automation is a horse of different color when compared to the automation anxieties of previous eras.The main thrust of his argument is that America is rapidly becoming a powder keg packed with the failures and frustrations of “normal” people, who he defines as people who occupy the middle of the bell curve on a range of objective measures (income, savings, education, assets, etc.). These are the folks whose economic value is being and will be most swiftly swept away by automation, a transition that Yang calls the Great Displacement. As the Displacement progresses, American society will become increasingly populated with “proud and desperate” former workers whose chances of finding alternative employment will be vanishingly small (47). If left unaddressed, this predicament will make American society increasingly vulnerable to social and political upheavals (Yang imagines an all-too-believable near-future scenario of how this might occur on pages 158-9).One of Yang’s most important insights concerns the effects of mass job loss on local tax revenue and infrastructure in small and midsize communities. As a torrent of national retailers across the country close up shop, the “pillars of the regional budget” begin to crack: “This means shrunken municipal budgets, cuts to school budgets, and job reductions in local government offices” (32). Additionally, abandoned buildings transform into “negative infrastructure,” attracting crime and creating “a bleak, dystopian atmosphere, like a zombie movie set” (32-3). Even now, when the worst effects of automation are only just starting to be felt, what American isn’t familiar with the ominous feeling of driving through a community devoid of vibrancy and hope, its once-respectable storefronts boarded up and its roads crumbling from disrepair? If we don’t act fast, Yang argues, this will become the new American norm.In Part Two, “What’s Happening to Us,” Yang takes up the social, psychological, and geographic features of the automation problem. Like many other futurists, he contrasts perspectives of abundance with those of scarcity, demonstrating the benefits of the former and the harms of the latter. Citizens with ready access to basic resources see opportunity around every corner, and partake in “light-commitment benevolence” to create the illusion of social responsibility as we horde more than our fair share (96). Obversely, those locked in cycles of scarcity are largely unable to achieve the socioeconomic stability that would allow them to better their lot (Chapter 10). In recent years, the geography of American opportunity has come to play a larger role in compounding this problem:"A mindset of abundance or scarcity is tied closely to what part of the country you live in. Different regions are now experiencing such different levels of economic dynamism that they often have utterly different notions of what the future holds." (109)In a country already wracked with ideological division that falls largely along geographic lines, this is not encouraging news. As Americans with similar backgrounds, values, experiences and incomes coalesce to form insular communities (both digital and physical), we lose the ability to understand and empathize with our fellow citizens who have less access to opportunities and resources. Yang points out that job loss contributes significantly to this process:"There’s a truism in the startup world: When things start going very badly for a company, the strongest people generally leave first. They have the highest standards for their own opportunities and the most confidence that they can thrive in a new environment. Their skills are in demand, and they feel little need to stick around. The people who are left behind tend to be less confident and adaptable. It’s one reason why companies go into death spirals––the best people leave when they see the writing on the wall and the company’s decline accelerates. The same is often true for a community. When jobs and prosperity start deserting a town, the first people to leave are the folks who have the best opportunities elsewhere." (117-8)This insidious dynamic has already played itself out in many towns across America, and will continue to destroy communities if current trends are not interrupted. Yang shores up his sense of urgency with perceptive chapters addressing how joblessness affects interpersonal and familial relationships; the growing reliance of the new “shadow class” on government assistance and drugs; how the addictive, escapist power of video games is hijacking the lives of many young men; and the ways in which all these factors contribute to social and political instability.In Part Three, “Solutions and Human Capitalism,” Yang explains how we ought to combat and eventually solve the automation crisis. His first imperative is to institute a UBI of $1000 per month for all citizens. This “Freedom Dividend” is Yang’s Americanized take on an old idea, one that has been advocated for by people across the political spectrum for several centuries (166-8). These days, UBI is typically a conversation-stopper in mainstream political discussions, but as the negative trends of automation continue to progress and become more visible, it is not hard to imagine it gaining support. And in a world where Donald Trump can be elected President, I’m done listening to anyone who argues that something is politically impossible.The Freedom Dividend will be enough to bring jobless people above the poverty line, but only just. The vast majority of citizens will still seek remunerative work in order to raise their standard of living, but will no longer have to worry about whether they can afford basic shelter or enough food to get by. Best of all, the Freedom Dividend would effectively end abject poverty for American children. Additionally, the huge number of citizens currently receiving disability insurance from the government would have the opportunity to switch over to the Freedom Dividend, which would follow them anywhere in the country and would not evaporate if they proved themselves able to work once again. The above arguments should be enough to convince most Americans that UBI is a good idea, but there are also the added benefits of scaling back the bureaucratic bloat of the welfare state and utilizing government for something it's actually good at: sending large numbers of checks to citizens in a regimented, timely fashion. The question is not whether we want a welfare state or not, but rather if we want a welfare state with perverse incentives or humanistic ones.Yang estimates that the Freedom Dividend would cost $1.3 trillion annually, which he would fund with a value-added tax (VAT) on consumption. Yang puts the lie to the conventional objection that there’s simply not enough money to fully fund a Freedom Dividend:"Out of 193 countries, 160 already have a VAT or goods and services tax, including all developed countries except the United States. The average VAT in Europe is 20 percent. It is well developed and its efficacy has been established. If we adopted a VAT at half the average European level, we could pay for a universal basic income for all American adults." (171)So, just as with universal healthcare, America’s inability to properly care for its citizens is not an issue of scarcity, but rather of political will. If we can harness that will for the good of the people (for once), the benefits will be immediate and profound:"With the Freedom Dividend, money would be put in the hands of our citizens in a time of unprecedented economic dislocation. It would grow the consumer economy. It’s a stimulus of people. The vast majority of money would go directly into the economy each month, into paying bills, feeding children, visiting loved ones, youth sports, eating at local restaurants, piano lessons, extra tutoring help, car repairs, small businesses, housing improvements, prenatal vitamins, elder care, and so on." (172)The Freedom Dividend isn’t the end goal of Yang’s political agenda––just the tip of the iceberg, in fact. He knows that this is a time for big and bold ideas, and he’s got them in spades. In a clarion call for sensible responses to deep systemic problems, Yang challenges us to remember that the market ought to serve humans, and not the other way around. This is what he calls Human Capitalism, which has three tenets:"1. Humanity is more important than money.2. The unit of an economy is each person, not each dollar.3. Markets exist to serve our common goals and values." (200)With these as his guiding principles, Yang advocates for concrete mechanisms that would create real accountability for our public servants and private companies, a universal health care system that leverages the power of AI to end the overworking of physicians, an overhaul of our education practices to focus on character-building and a diversity of employment pathways, and the creation of a technology-driven Digital Currency System (DCS) that would function outside the dollar economy to promote types of human-centric labor that are currently unrewarded by the capitalist market.Yang knows that it will take a lot of experimentation and hard work to successfully implement any one of these ideas, let alone all of them. But he also knows that we are at a crossroads where we will either resolve to do the hard work of bringing everyone along as we stride into the automated future, or we will ignore that call to action and prepare for the dystopian scenarios that inevitably result.While this is obviously a difficult situation in which to find ourselves, we ought to focus on the amazing future that is possible if we create an economy devoted to abundance for all. This future would allow normal, decent folks to be wealthier, healthier and happier with their lives, and would also prepare humanity for our next big challenge: climate change. I used to think that climate change was the most important battle of my generation, but Yang and others have convinced me that the battle for economic justice is even more critical. A downtrodden and desperate population will never respond to the environmental crisis effectively.In the final pages of The War on Normal People, Yang leaves the reader with a sober but inspiring message:"I have been in the room with people who are meant to steer our society. The machinery is weak. The institutionalization is high. The things you fear to be true are generally true. I wrote this book because I want others to see what I see. We are capable of so much better…It will not be easy…Through all of the doubt, the cynicism, the ridicule, the hatred and anger, we must fight for the world that is still possible…Come fight with me." (242-4)I will admit that I’m deeply skeptical of the political viability of this movement. Too often my mind gives safe harbor to the very doubts and cynicism that could render Yang’s mission dead on arrival. But, despite my fear and cowardice, I will strive to do my part. You can too.This review was originally published on my blog, words&dirt.
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  • Ben
    January 1, 1970
    Universal Basic Income is a really interesting idea and it seems it would have something for everyone. Conservatives should like it because it can eliminate the cumbersome bureaucracy and disincentive to work of the current welfare state. Liberals should like it because it provides a safety net for the poor. Globalists and technocrats should like it because it will help them sleep better at night as they systematically eliminate millions of jobs. And the people who hold those soon to be obsolete Universal Basic Income is a really interesting idea and it seems it would have something for everyone. Conservatives should like it because it can eliminate the cumbersome bureaucracy and disincentive to work of the current welfare state. Liberals should like it because it provides a safety net for the poor. Globalists and technocrats should like it because it will help them sleep better at night as they systematically eliminate millions of jobs. And the people who hold those soon to be obsolete jobs would breathe easier knowing the rent will still be paid. Seems to be a great idea that should be able to transcend partisan politics. Of course, partisan politics infects everything these days so it’s probably fanciful thinking that politicians will actually have a reasonable, data-driven debate about the most important issue of our generation. Nah let’s just keep scoring points for our tribe instead!
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  • Daniel Arnstein
    January 1, 1970
    Human Capitalism is an excellent economic system that should be institutionalized within America. Yes, radicalizing an entire economic system seems crazy at first; but once you wrap your head around how basic it could be to implement & how effective it could be for 350,000,000 people, it feels like the only way forward. Human Capitalism builds a system for what America should look like in the 22nd century and beyond. In a world where globalism and technology are changing at a rate faster tha Human Capitalism is an excellent economic system that should be institutionalized within America. Yes, radicalizing an entire economic system seems crazy at first; but once you wrap your head around how basic it could be to implement & how effective it could be for 350,000,000 people, it feels like the only way forward. Human Capitalism builds a system for what America should look like in the 22nd century and beyond. In a world where globalism and technology are changing at a rate faster than most can keep up, it is time to truly help those left behind. Which American hubs will be thriving in 40 years? Can you list 25 cities with confidence? What will cities that thrived through the entire 20th century look like when current trends maintain their downward trajectory? We need to flip the system. We need to create an engine that will inspire people to be good, to do good, and to use the time they have to live a life of beauty. This book explores a way to do so. A universal basic income is the way to do so. It will unlock the next stage of humanity.
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  • Zach
    January 1, 1970
    I literally jumped out of my bed in excitement halfway through reading this book.Andrew Yang completely nails what has caused many of the problems in the US. His simple description of the human effects from automation, and his major policy recommendations to fix them are both a strong reality check and extremely inspirational.Whether you're Republican or Democrat, Andrew clearly proves that automation is real and having a negative effect on our society. Most importantly, instead of just identify I literally jumped out of my bed in excitement halfway through reading this book.Andrew Yang completely nails what has caused many of the problems in the US. His simple description of the human effects from automation, and his major policy recommendations to fix them are both a strong reality check and extremely inspirational.Whether you're Republican or Democrat, Andrew clearly proves that automation is real and having a negative effect on our society. Most importantly, instead of just identifying the problems, he suggests bold (but still realistic) policy solutions that can prepare us for this new reality.It's a quick read, easy to understand and Andrew throws in a few good laughs along the way.Simply put - This is a must-read for all Americans.
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  • Meow
    January 1, 1970
    This review is long overdue and I find myself often referring back to bits and pieces I’ve read. The War On Normal People is a frightening commentary of our American economy and how ever advancing technology has already and will continue to create an epic scale of unemployment. More and more jobs are being eliminated as a result of “automation” and how is this affecting our society? Humans being rendered useless or irrelevant because their skillset is easily replaced by robotics, artificial inte This review is long overdue and I find myself often referring back to bits and pieces I’ve read. The War On Normal People is a frightening commentary of our American economy and how ever advancing technology has already and will continue to create an epic scale of unemployment. More and more jobs are being eliminated as a result of “automation” and how is this affecting our society? Humans being rendered useless or irrelevant because their skillset is easily replaced by robotics, artificial intelligence, and all our modern day technology? What future can we look to?The War On Normal People examines the future and the concept of a Universal Basic Income which would provide a guaranteed income for “normal people”. The author feels this “UBI” concept is a necessary and unavoidable step to create a more stable and long lasting type of economy - an economy akin to “human capitalism”.An excellent and engaging read! Thank you Hachette Books and NetGalley for the advance digital ebook!
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  • C.J. Shane
    January 1, 1970
    I’ll admit. When I first heard about the idea of Universal Basic Income (UBC), I cynically thought that the chance of that happening in this country was as likely as gun control being implemented. Zero chance. Then I read Andrew Yang’s book The War on Normal People. He makes a very compelling argument for Universal Basic Income and Medicare for everyone. I also really like his "social credits" program which is in operation in a number of U.S. cities. Several countries are conducting small-scale I’ll admit. When I first heard about the idea of Universal Basic Income (UBC), I cynically thought that the chance of that happening in this country was as likely as gun control being implemented. Zero chance. Then I read Andrew Yang’s book The War on Normal People. He makes a very compelling argument for Universal Basic Income and Medicare for everyone. I also really like his "social credits" program which is in operation in a number of U.S. cities. Several countries are conducting small-scale UBI experiments now, among them Finland and Canada. There are UBI programs in place now in Alaska and Stockton, California. Yang’s ideas aren’t just pie-in-the sky. We have working models for change.However, not often mentioned in reviews of his book is Yang’s detailed and very well-documented description of the social disintegration happening in our country – what he calls the Great Displacement. In particular, he documents what is happening to our men and boys. Most of the manufacturing jobs that have been lost were held by men, as are most of the jobs in transportation currently being lost. [Keep in mind that unemployment statistics are lower than the actual unemployment rate because the statistics only count those individuals looking for a job. If a man has given up finding a job, then he’s not counted in the unemployment statistics.] I was shocked to learn how many people (again, most often males) are on disability. Millions of people! Disability is acting as a replacement for insubstantial or nonexistent unemployment insurance benefits for those who have been laid off from long-term jobs.At every level and institution, Yang points out how we are failing our boys and men. The education system is structured to favor girls who mature faster and who are less “rowdy” than little boys (sports, PE, arts, music have all been cut), and there are not enough options for boys when/if they graduate from high school to do something other than go to college. Yang makes the argument that college is questionable now give that a) higher ed is incredibly expensive; 2) jobs are not that easy to find after college; 3) a lot of so-called white collar jobs are becoming subject to artificial intelligence/automation as well (medicine, finance, law, etc.); 4) and most compelling, maybe a young man prefers to work with his hands. Yang argues in favor of more technical and vocational education that lead to real job options after training. Someone fixed the air conditioning in Yang’s building when it broke down. The fixer wasn’t a computer. It was a trained worker.Another problem affecting males is the lack of male parenting and mentorship. More and more families are female-headed which statistically leads to a high number of problems in boys and young men raised in those families. Yang has a high value for parenting. He has a wife and two sons. I give five stars to Yang for being the only man writing about current economic events who actually talks about the challenges and rewards of parenting. Many of the people (again mainly men) who lose jobs often end up abusing various substances (opioids, alcohol), and if they are young, they choose video games over the grim and limited “real life” they are left with. He devotes an entire chapter to the intense appeal of gaming to young men. I read just yesterday that the World Health Organization has recognized “gaming disorder” as a mental health problem.Our culture suffers from some failed ideas, especially that of “meritocracy.” Too many of us believe in the myth that if you are successful (read: you have money) that must mean you are working harder than everyone else. It dates back the Puritan idea that prosperity was a sign of God’s approval. If you were poor, then that was the sign that God didn’t love you. (this is most commonly called the Protestant Work Ethic). Today, Yang points out that there are many factors that hamper a person ever having an even chance of succeeding through hard work: where you are born, how much money your parents have, your sex, your race, and, yes, luck. Seriously. Do you think a kid that grows up in rural Madison County in the Arkansas Ozarks has the same chance at success as a kid born into a wealthy family in The Hamptons? Yang’s book is about a lot more than Universal Basic Income. It’s about what’s wrong with America now. He’s asking us what we’re going to do about it. And he has some very good ideas about how to correct these growing problems. Andrew Yang is running for president. I figure the entrenched Old Guard of the Democratic Party is unlikely to give him a chance. The Republicans (devoted to assisting the already-rich) will do everything they can to undermine him. My hope is that Yang will be able to change the conversation we’re having in this country. However, if Andrew Yang miraculously shows up on the ballot box in 2020, he’s got my vote.
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  • Daniel
    January 1, 1970
    Yang is running for America presidency 2020. He is the founder of Venture For America which distributed talents into developing cities in America, to staunch the brain drain of smart people into the coastal cities. Yang described the future jobless scenario when most things would be done by AI and robots. Though new jobs would be created, it will be 20 smart coders replacing 10000 blue or while collar workers. Many people will be out of a job, community will disintegrate and we will be living in Yang is running for America presidency 2020. He is the founder of Venture For America which distributed talents into developing cities in America, to staunch the brain drain of smart people into the coastal cities. Yang described the future jobless scenario when most things would be done by AI and robots. Though new jobs would be created, it will be 20 smart coders replacing 10000 blue or while collar workers. Many people will be out of a job, community will disintegrate and we will be living in a dystopic world where the rich lives apart in gated cities and the poor in crime infested wasteland. Yang promised to change all these by:1. Universal basic income for all, the Freedom Dividend. He would give $12k per year for adults 18-64 of age. He thinks that a 10% value added tax will pay for it. A quick calculation: US census 2017: 62% of population aged 18-64, or 326 million. Total cost= 12000 x 326 million = $2.4 trillionSaving on stopping welfare programs: $0.7 trillionSo total additional cost: $1.7 trillionCurrent US budget revenue: $3.3 trillion for comparison so yes Yang will be asking for a 50% increase in the budget to pay for the Freedom Dividend. Current US GDP: $20.4 trillionBut GST is a value added tax so only the final consumer pays the full amount. The intermediaries only pay the value added part. For comparison, in Canada the VAT rate is 5% but actual amount of VAT collected is only 2.2% of GDP. Additional the real VAT rate required = 1.7/20.4/45%= 19%. From Canada’s experience, the government would only collect about 0.9 trillion from VAT whereas the cost is $1.7. So there may be an additional deficit if 0.8 billion dollars... Yang is confident that the cash received will be spent and increase demand to grow the economy a lot. Canada is actually not bad; in Singapore the collected VAT (or Goods and Services Tax) was only 33% of the actual tax rate because there are exemptions for companies with less than 1 million turnover, and for some government hospital bills. 2. Disallow public servants from joining industries they regulate. Raise their pay dramatically 3. Federal Social Credit: when you help someone you earn this credit which can be used to ask for help when you need.4. Single payer health care. Disallow doctors from fighting to keep the current pay-for-service system 5. Make sure people stay married to improve education outcome. Provide paid maternity and paternity leave, counselling. 6. Jail CEO of public companies, a certain period for each $100 million dollar fine even because those fines are peanuts compared to the revenue of medication such as oxycontin which he thinks caused so much opioid addiction.7. Use AI to provide guidance for all sorts of counselling for marriage.8. Cut education cost: cut admin staff and force rich endowments to spend 6-8% of their income for poor students.This book gives an extremely gloomy prediction of the near future. However enacting these massive changes may be even beyond the American President.
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  • Aaron
    January 1, 1970
    First and foremost, before I get into anything, I fully recommend this book. I'm giving it a perfect score...... But if I could I'd give it a higher score.Get it from the library, Amazon, or borrow it from a friend. Read it asap, it's easily one of the best books of the year. I hope it catches fire before 2020 (more on that at the end of the review).I have been on board the Basic Minimum Income train for a long time (ever since I read "Saving Capitalism), and did not need any further convincing First and foremost, before I get into anything, I fully recommend this book. I'm giving it a perfect score...... But if I could I'd give it a higher score.Get it from the library, Amazon, or borrow it from a friend. Read it asap, it's easily one of the best books of the year. I hope it catches fire before 2020 (more on that at the end of the review).I have been on board the Basic Minimum Income train for a long time (ever since I read "Saving Capitalism), and did not need any further convincing that it constituents good policy.... But Yang's book has reinforced my resolve.The book touches all of the main reasons why a BMI is necessary. Rising inequality, stagnant wages, and reduced opportunitys are only getting worse. Rampant destruction of jobs in the future from automation will only exasperate the situation.... And none of the welfare or Social safety nets we currently have will be able to contain the coming tide of joblessness.A BMI is the only real solution to the problem.Yang Proposes a 1000 dollar a month BMI paid for by folding in every other current welfare program, pluss a 10% VAT. I feel that this strategy (called the Freedom Divided) has a real opportunity to work.Yang also suggests shifting from our current form of Capitalism, to human Capitalism. This entails a whole host of highly progressive reforms that would put a smile on any progressive.My favorite is adding a new law that requires one month of jail time for every 100 million dollars used in a bailout or fined by regulatory agencies (applied to the CEO and the largest shareholder, with clawback provisions to pull resources out of those two individuals).It's something real sweeping stuff, and it's extra impressive since this guy is running for president in 2020.I hope he gains in popularity and rides a populist victory to the White House. Much of what he wants is in line with old school socialists like Bernie Sanders...... But he it will be much harder to ignore him as some pipe dream crazy person.He's a former CEO, lawyer, and entrepreneur. He believes in Capitalism, but knows it must change to have a future. If he has a public speaking presence and takes the Democratic nomination..... He can win this thing.He's got my voteI hope he gets your
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    I was absolutely shocked by this book and can't stop talking about it. The author gives a background of the largest income sectors in the US, all of which have lost or will lose jobs to automation, including retail and trucking, and the impact this will have on income inequality, families, and the future economy - and he has a plan for how to ameliorate the situation.I'll do pretty much anything to avoid going to a mall (I bought this book from The Major Online Retailer!) and there's no shortage I was absolutely shocked by this book and can't stop talking about it. The author gives a background of the largest income sectors in the US, all of which have lost or will lose jobs to automation, including retail and trucking, and the impact this will have on income inequality, families, and the future economy - and he has a plan for how to ameliorate the situation.I'll do pretty much anything to avoid going to a mall (I bought this book from The Major Online Retailer!) and there's no shortage of vacant retail space in my city, but the bleak statistics on retail were still a surprise.Page 30: "The year 2017 marked the beginning of what is being called the 'Retail Apocalypse.' One hundred thousand department store workers were laid off between October 2016 and May 2017 - more than all of the people employed in the coal industry combined."Page 30: "Credit Suisse estimated that 8,640 major retail locations will close in 2017, the highest number in history, exceeding the 2008 peak during the financial crisis. Credit Suisse also estimated that as many as 147 million square feet of retail space will close in 2017, another all-time high... the equivalent of 52 Malls of America are closing in 2017, or one per week."Page 32: "On average, a single Macy's store generates about $36 million a year. At current sales tax and property tax rates, that store, if closed, would leave a budget hole of several million dollars for the state and county to deal with."What will this mean for our economy and our society if automation continues without a plan for those displaced? Why aren't we discussing this at a national level?
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  • Jamie
    January 1, 1970
    Andrew Yang describes with precision many of the social and economic woes plaguing society at present, painting a bleak, dismal, and all too plausible picture of how the near future may have some very tough times in store due to automation, AI, and the eternal quest of businesses to increase efficiency, and the many ripple effects this could have. Yang argues a compelling and well-reasoned case that universal basic income can address many such problems, and help set our potential free. He addres Andrew Yang describes with precision many of the social and economic woes plaguing society at present, painting a bleak, dismal, and all too plausible picture of how the near future may have some very tough times in store due to automation, AI, and the eternal quest of businesses to increase efficiency, and the many ripple effects this could have. Yang argues a compelling and well-reasoned case that universal basic income can address many such problems, and help set our potential free. He addresses the logistical aspects, preempting many objections, and incorporating explorations of education, healthcare, and social credit. A fascinating book, highly recommended for anyone curious about, interested in, or skeptical of universal basic income, and the prospect that we may need it soon.
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    A great take on about how robots and artificial intelligence will drastically change jobs, including how many jobs are going to disappear for humans. It's something serious that we can't ignore and he argues that it's coming a lot sooner than we think. He urges that now is the time to get ready for this change and that there can be some things done to help the "normal" everyday person so that society continues on in a decent state instead of unraveling into a world resembling Mad Max where every A great take on about how robots and artificial intelligence will drastically change jobs, including how many jobs are going to disappear for humans. It's something serious that we can't ignore and he argues that it's coming a lot sooner than we think. He urges that now is the time to get ready for this change and that there can be some things done to help the "normal" everyday person so that society continues on in a decent state instead of unraveling into a world resembling Mad Max where everyone is competing for scarce resources. He argues that it doesn't have to be that way, there's a much better way, and that AI and robots can help us have a better society, if we can understand what it means to be human. I like and agree with his solutions of offering a universal basic income to every person that would be something that everyone gets regardless of if they are already employed at a job or not. I liked the idea about digital social credits and time banking that would motivate people to help each other more and build community in your local neighborhood. I also like making health care more affordable and improving the health of people. I agree that changing our education system is also a must, we have to make it more affordable for those who do go to college, and in the future technical training may be a lot more important than a college degree, because of the changing landscape of jobs/employment. This book is really eye opening and suggests a lot of great ideas for America. I think people are right to be a little worried that there could be a massive job loss due to companies using robots and/or AI in order to automate and reduce their expenses. I think it is only a matter of time before it happens. I don't think there's going to be a complete replacement of every job, but I think there are going to be a lot of jobs that are replaced, more than most people realize. He talks about a lot of different professions/jobs like truckers, fast food and retail workers, and a lot of white collar office types of jobs too. I think his point to this book is that it's extremely important that we make the changes necessary to help people starting as soon as possible so that normal people can still have a good future.Favorite Quotes:"We will be left with low-end service jobs and high-end cognitive jobs and very little in between.This trend goes hand-in-hand with the disappearance of the American middle class and the startlingly high income inequality in the United States.""The test is not "Will there be new jobs we haven't predicted yet that appear?" Of course there will be. The real test is "Will there be millions of new jobs for middle-aged people with low skills and levels of education near the places they currently reside?""Turchin points out that societies generally experience extended periods of integration and prosperity followed by periods of inequity, increasing misery and political instability that lead to disintegration, and that we're in the midst of the latter.""The worst case is widespread despair, violence, and the utter collapse of our society and economy.""He projects increased turmoil through 2020 and warns that "we are rapidly approaching a historical cusp at which American society will be particularly vulnerable to violent upheaval.""Hatred is easy, as is condemnation. Addressing the conditions that breed hatred is very hard.""In a future without jobs, people will need to be able to provide for themselves and their basic needs. Eventually, the government will need to intervene in order to prevent widespread squalor, despair, and violence. The sooner the government acts, the more high-functioning our society will be.""Under his plan for universal basic income/freedom dividend everyone 18-64 would get $1000 a month, regardless of if they're working or not, so if you are working, it would be on top of your salary from your job.""I'm relatively hopeful that the United States will wind up passing a UBI policy like the Freedom Dividend in the coming years. It's simple, it's fair, it's equitable, it's easy to understand, it benefits at least 80 percent of the population, and it will be necessary to maintain the fabric of society during the automation wave.""Even in its current debilitated state, the government could easily start collecting a VAT (Value Added Tax) and sending out the Freedom Dividend to end poverty as we know it and prepare society for the future.""Time banking is a system through which people trade time and build credits within communities by performing various helpful tasks - transporting an item, walking a dog, cleaning up a yard, cooking a meal, providing a ride to the doctor, and so on. The idea was championed in the mid 1990s in the United States by Edgar Cahn, a law professor and antipoverty activist as a way to strengthen communities.""A majority of the technologists I speak to are already 100 percent certain that the automation wave is coming. They skip to the logical end. The time frame is unclear, but it really doesn't matter that much if it's 5, 10, or 15 years. They've already gotten there in their minds. Most are ready to head for the hills."
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  • Selim Tlili
    January 1, 1970
    Andrew Yang is a gifted writer who explains his ideas with incredible clarity and a palpable sense of urgency. His well reasoned arguments in favor of Universal Basic Income have convinced the skeptic in me that it would provide a lot of net positive results to the country and the world as a whole.Andrews fundamental argument, that technology will reduce our workload and cause the economy to shed a lot of jobs, makes sense with a caveat.I tend to be skeptical of predictions that involve a time l Andrew Yang is a gifted writer who explains his ideas with incredible clarity and a palpable sense of urgency. His well reasoned arguments in favor of Universal Basic Income have convinced the skeptic in me that it would provide a lot of net positive results to the country and the world as a whole.Andrews fundamental argument, that technology will reduce our workload and cause the economy to shed a lot of jobs, makes sense with a caveat.I tend to be skeptical of predictions that involve a time line of 10-15 years. In my lifetime I have been told by experts that:- acid rain and the hole in the ozone layer will have devastating effects on the environment by the year 2000 (heard this in 1990)- we will run out of fossil fuels by 2020 (told this in 1993)- the human genome project will uncover the secrets to solving cancer and genetic illnesses and usher in an age of personalized medicine (told this around 1999)- big data would revolutionize healthcare and dramatically lower costs while improving outcomes (am told this every time I see an IBM commercial today)Not to say these predictions are 100% wrong; these things may still happen. The issue is that predicting when they will come to pass is a tricky thing and I tend to be skeptical that large scale revolutions tend to be unpredictable and if we can make a prediction about when it will happen we are more likely wrong than right about when it will occur.But I am convinced that we need to act as though automation is inevitable and that we need to alter how we choose to measure progress. There is great need to direct people towards work that matters and that doesn’t seem possible with what the marketplace currently rewards.I would like to have seen Andrew talk about how to direct American ingenuity at the many large scale projects that need to be tackled. Our aging infrastructure, growing solid waste levels, depleted soils and other issues can benefit from throwing manpower to tackle. It seems like there is plenty of work to be done if we can direct people towards these kinds of jobs.Yang also discussed the concept of virtual currency in the form of “social currency coins”. This is an incredibly interesting idea. I am not sure how this would operate as somewhat of a Luddite in terms of virtual currency. I don’t quite understand how anyone over the age of 60 would know to access a resource like this but it is a fascinating idea.Ultimately he did convince me that a universal basic income along with universal healthcare, while panaceas, could go a long ways to ameliorating society’s ills.I admire Andrew Yang and his ideas. I don’t know if I agree with his timeline or some of his ideas. I wish he had mentioned something about what we could do to help get the country on this track. but Overall I think he is on the right track. I have no idea what it would take to get us towards his vision but I think it is the right direction for us as a country.
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  • Otto Lehto
    January 1, 1970
    Andrew Yang paints a bleak picture of the future. If it were painted by a child, it would take him to a psychiatrist's office. But the author is no child, and no psychiatrist could conceivably deliver us from the menace of technological and sociological change.The book is a powerfully personal plea by a successful entrepreneur for a "human capitalism" to alleviate the social decay and psychological disruption caused by the creative destruction of capitalism. He argues for a Universal Basic Incom Andrew Yang paints a bleak picture of the future. If it were painted by a child, it would take him to a psychiatrist's office. But the author is no child, and no psychiatrist could conceivably deliver us from the menace of technological and sociological change.The book is a powerfully personal plea by a successful entrepreneur for a "human capitalism" to alleviate the social decay and psychological disruption caused by the creative destruction of capitalism. He argues for a Universal Basic Income as a cushion for the savaged working class.What I most liked about the book was the brutal, honest and shocking writing style. He reveals more about himself, and about America, that most people would be comfortable with. Even though the author apparently has political ambitions, there is nothing sugar-coated about his words. This is hard talk about harsh realities.The book is just as long as it needs to be. The first half is clearly superior to the second. It prognosticates about a dystopian future where robots do most of the work and whole regions are abandoned to joblessness, crime and waste. A doomsday prophet is always better at scaring people than at offering remedies and hope. The book is at its best when it makes the reader s--t her pants. The UBI solution is offered as the remedy. Yang calls it, loftily, a "freedom dividend", which provides unconditional cash transfers to all people. I agree with his solytion, although he doesn't add much new to the burgeoning debate around UBI. He openly lifts his proposal almost wholesale from Andy Stern's recent (and impressive) book, Raising the Floor. This is fine, since Stern has it right.Where the book falters is where it attempts to dabble in broader, speculative policy proposals. These range from misguided moral panic in his efforts to blame the free markets for the failures of governments (such as Wall Street bail-outs and America's corrupt health care system) to promising, but underdeveloped, ideas in new institutional arrangements (such as the idea of energizing dying cities with government-backed time banks and other social credit arrangements). It's all very rough, very hit and miss.Despite his occasionally wild and silly proposals, and despite his relentless dystopianism, I found his raw message to be hard-hitting and very important. I don't think we have any choice than to implement UBI and embrace technological change.There's an uncensored urgency to his message. It slaps the reader in the face. Good job, Yang, you have my attention.
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  • Steve Agland
    January 1, 1970
    Firstly, this book has a misleading title. It didn't describe a "war" - there are no clearly defined antagonists - but more describes the miserable decay of the flourishing 20th-century American way of life.There's also not that much about UBI in it - a chapter or two - but it's still worth reading if you're enamored of that particular economic solution.This is a very well written, engaging, clear, devastating and ultimately motivating book. It comes across as a very personal, earnest plea for a Firstly, this book has a misleading title. It didn't describe a "war" - there are no clearly defined antagonists - but more describes the miserable decay of the flourishing 20th-century American way of life.There's also not that much about UBI in it - a chapter or two - but it's still worth reading if you're enamored of that particular economic solution.This is a very well written, engaging, clear, devastating and ultimately motivating book. It comes across as a very personal, earnest plea for action to save the American working class from threats of automation to their jobs and of public policy to their subsequent wellbeing as the chronic unemployed.For me this book rounds out a depressing pan-Anglosphere trilogy I've been reading on the plight of the common worker, following David Graeber's Bullshit Jobsand Helen Razer's Total Propaganda.One quality which shines through in this book is compassion. Knowing that the author is running for president tempers this with a little grain of salt, but Yang appears very sincere in his concern for the forgotten communities across the US which are crumbling due to the loss of manufacturing jobs and those many more at risk of similar fates at the hands of automation. He laments the situation in which the nation's desperate left-behind Trump-voting "normal people" find themselves and wastes no energy on berating them on their racism or misogyny, which he sees as symptoms rather than the disease.The book is packed with with data and anecdotes and includes discussions of the opioid crisis, demographic changes, a taxonomy of capitalism, social credit schemes, and more, well as the primary topics of job automation and universal basic income.Yang spends a lot of time on the private thoughts of the financial, tech and political elites with whom he rubs shoulders, and paints them as mostly good natured, concerned but ultimately powerless to resist the pull of the market or political necessities.He presents a balanced view of capitalism, admitting it's massive success, acknowledging it's flaws and advocating a sensible middle ground, drawing on the wisdom learner across time and the globe.I hope Yang and his ideas come to greater prominence in American political discourse.
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  • Ling Chung
    January 1, 1970
    Very thought provoking book that touches on many social issues we face today. Worth a read just to expand the mind and to explore possible solutions to our world's social issues. I really like the idea of "humanistic capitalism", where humanity should trump profits even in a capitalistic economy. Having graduated from a business school but also being knee deep in non-profits for the last 20 years, I'm often reconciling the left and the right. Some of the solutions outlined in the book appear ver Very thought provoking book that touches on many social issues we face today. Worth a read just to expand the mind and to explore possible solutions to our world's social issues. I really like the idea of "humanistic capitalism", where humanity should trump profits even in a capitalistic economy. Having graduated from a business school but also being knee deep in non-profits for the last 20 years, I'm often reconciling the left and the right. Some of the solutions outlined in the book appear very right (i.e. raising the annual pay of Presidents to $4MM but forbidding them to accept paid engagements for personal gain after they leave office), and other solutions appear very left (universal basic income) - it's just an interesting blend of solutions that I think could work. Some of the topics covered in the book:- automation and job losses- unaffordable education system that does not necessarily lead to good jobs- education system that has experienced higher rate of administrative staff growth than research/teaching faculty growth- loss of healthcare coverage as workforce shifts towards temp jobs with no benefits- a health care system that is incentivised by productivity and efficiency, not by impact- experience of social isolation due to poverty- cross over between state and business community- a capitalistic society with a maniacal focus on productivity to the detriment of humanityWhile we often hear politicians talk about these issues, I find the solutions outlined in the book rather creative:- social digital currency- raising money for UBI through value added tax (not sales tax) - lots of research and stats provided in the book debunking typical UBI objections- increasing public officers' annual pay but enforcing a lifetime ban against public officers accepting speaking fees or lucrative board positions after leaving office - this is the draw a clear distinction between the State and the Industry- putting restrictions on how university manage endowment funds- changing how hospitals are managed and how doctors are incentivisedI was surprised at how much I enjoyed the book.
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  • Mohammad D
    January 1, 1970
    This book/warning is a cry out for more people to see beyond themselves and their immediate instance. I cannot understand how the information in this book is not common sense. I guess so many just care too much about the next big app, the next food trend, just wanting more material. I am guilty of this as well. History does repeat itself and this book made it clear how close we are to the next great depression (hypothetically). We the readers are given a glimpse at the harsh reality that may com This book/warning is a cry out for more people to see beyond themselves and their immediate instance. I cannot understand how the information in this book is not common sense. I guess so many just care too much about the next big app, the next food trend, just wanting more material. I am guilty of this as well. History does repeat itself and this book made it clear how close we are to the next great depression (hypothetically). We the readers are given a glimpse at the harsh reality that may come to be the next major job market collapse. I personally do not support this notion completely for the same was said of the 1st industrial revolution. We will adapt, yes there will be severe growing pains, some people if not most will get swept away in this brave new world. But I do not fear too much for the future generations. I see the skills needed in this new A.I-driven world being used by children everyday. From my baby nephew who gives acceptable coded phases to Siri to my little sister having just about any video she wants beamed directly to her tablet to all the stockpiles of computer lingo young ones are learning without realizing. The children of now will surpass the generation before them as it has always been. I fear not displacement but instead have a growing joy that with this new generation will come a new core set of skills needed to navigate life. We are truly witnessing the 4th industrial revolution.Harvard Economics and Public Policy professor Kenneth Rogoff said it best with:“Since the dawn of the industrial age, a recurrent fear has been that technological change will spawn mass unemployment. Neoclassical economists predicted that this would not happen because people would find other jobs, albeit possibly after a long period of painful adjustment. By and large, that prediction has proven to be correct.”I believe in the people, to want more and to do better. We should not fear innovation, but the greed of men.
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  • Drew
    January 1, 1970
    4 takeaways from this book: 1) Universal Basic Income needs to become a reality. A rising tide lifts all boats. -It would reduce stress, improve health, decrease crime, and strengthen relationships. -It would make our society more equitable, fair, and just. -It could be easily funded by a VAT (value added tax)2) The capitalist system is destined to fail. It creates too much inequality and too many meaningless jobs. -Humanity is more important than money. -"We have to snap out of it and star 4 takeaways from this book: 1) Universal Basic Income needs to become a reality. A rising tide lifts all boats. -It would reduce stress, improve health, decrease crime, and strengthen relationships. -It would make our society more equitable, fair, and just. -It could be easily funded by a VAT (value added tax)2) The capitalist system is destined to fail. It creates too much inequality and too many meaningless jobs. -Humanity is more important than money. -"We have to snap out of it and start remembering our own humanity. We're all the same people we were before we got sorted and socialized. We're all mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers above all who want the same things for ourselves and our families." -We have to make clear that we value people intrinsically, independent of any qualities or qualifications. 3) AI is replacing humans in the workforce and it will continue to do so at alarming rates. -A Deloitte report in 2016 projected that 39 percent of jobs in the legal sector will be automated and that the industry should expect 'profound reforms' in the next 10 years. -Human truck drivers (and regular drivers) will become obsolete soon. 4) We want happiness not productivity for productivity's sake. -"I get the sense that we're all trading happiness to run a little faster, even if we're not sure where." -We need work that has purpose, meaning, identity, fulfillment, creativity, and autonomy. -Most work people do today is simply a means for survival. It adds little to no value and some occupations even make things worse. The challenge that we have to overcome is that "humans need work more than work needs us."
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  • Jakub Ferencik
    January 1, 1970
    THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT BOOK I'VE READ THIS YEAR. The first time I heard about Andrew Yang was when he was on Sam Harris' podcast, "Waking Up". Yang is a current 2020 presidential candidate and successful entrepreneur that has spoken to many about creating jobs efficiently, including the former president, Barack Obama. Yang paints a very bleak picture for the future of humanity, our economy, and jobs. He looks at the speed of automation and how the workforce will go through a complete revolut THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT BOOK I'VE READ THIS YEAR. The first time I heard about Andrew Yang was when he was on Sam Harris' podcast, "Waking Up". Yang is a current 2020 presidential candidate and successful entrepreneur that has spoken to many about creating jobs efficiently, including the former president, Barack Obama. Yang paints a very bleak picture for the future of humanity, our economy, and jobs. He looks at the speed of automation and how the workforce will go through a complete revolution within a couple of decades - if not sooner - because of the velocity of this change.Towards the end of the book (I read it in one sitting - it was that enticing) I felt perplexed, depressed even, with the situation at hand. This is not the problem of my future kids. This is our generation's problem. This is a challenge that we need to solve. That is why Yang proposes Universal Basic Income (UBI). UBI is not a new concept. Everyone from Obama to Bill Gates to Elon Musk to John Stuart Mill to Karl Marx has predicted capitalism to run its course to the point of no longer being a functional economic system. We're entering a new era of post-capitalism in which we'll have to have more control on the ecology, economy, and trade. A lot is about to change. Philosophers where you at?Yang ends in an optimistic note, however, saying if we raise awareness for the future, we'll be able to prevent calamity, destruction, and an apocalyptic nightmare. This is the most important book I've read this year. I plan on supporting Yang's campaign financially and I urge you to consider doing the same.
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  • Ailith Twinning
    January 1, 1970
    There's a stark patronizing tone to this book that bugs me. It would have been a lot less evident if the author hadn't begun with "Your sort probably aren't reading this book." Well, thanks for that man. Yeah, yeah, statistics, I know - but there is such a thing as tact and it matters. Apart from that tho, it really feels like a book about someone trying hard to understand what poverty even is, and missing it because a few core issues are in his blind spots. I don't want to talk about giving peo There's a stark patronizing tone to this book that bugs me. It would have been a lot less evident if the author hadn't begun with "Your sort probably aren't reading this book." Well, thanks for that man. Yeah, yeah, statistics, I know - but there is such a thing as tact and it matters. Apart from that tho, it really feels like a book about someone trying hard to understand what poverty even is, and missing it because a few core issues are in his blind spots. I don't want to talk about giving people 11000 a year and allowing wages to fall even lower -- charity and wellfare are great if your system is supposed to have a massive underclass, because it at least keeps them alive, but. . .is that our goal? To be frank, I'd rather die than take any kind of subsidy to low wages. The solution is to either pay a living wage to everyone (could be done, but it ain't gonna happen), or else set the minimum wage to a living wage and deliberately force bad jobs to either adapt or die, you know, the one thing Capitalism is good at. I'll put a proposal for a minimum wage, pegged to inflation, of 25 USD by 2025 on the table, let's debate THAT. Ever since the first bread subsidies we have on record drove down wages we have seen this crop up again and again. What we need is democracy, UBI doesn't help us get there, and there's a strong chance it will make that less likely.The thing is, if you aren't poor, you live in a republic, and you think that's good enough. The rest of us (most of us?) live in the colony, and we're pissed.
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  • Ben Neidl
    January 1, 1970
    Mostly this is about job displacement in the mid and low skill labor force brought on by artificial intelligence. The author predicts major job losses over the next 10 years, with most of the casualties being men in transportation (truck driving) and similar blue collar positions who, the book posits, will either default into right wing extremism or just surrender fully to the increasingly seductive escapism of hyper-stimulating video games (which is already happening). If this guy is even half Mostly this is about job displacement in the mid and low skill labor force brought on by artificial intelligence. The author predicts major job losses over the next 10 years, with most of the casualties being men in transportation (truck driving) and similar blue collar positions who, the book posits, will either default into right wing extremism or just surrender fully to the increasingly seductive escapism of hyper-stimulating video games (which is already happening). If this guy is even half right about what's coming, it's terrifying. The book is better at articulating the problems than offering solutions. The "solution" chapters feel a little shallow and conclusory. There are also some autobiographical digressions that seem extraneous and a little self-serving (the author has announced himself a presidential candidate for 2020). But overall it's a stimulating read. Local note for upstate New Yorkers: the author was raised in Schenectady before striking off on his entrepreneurial adventures in major cities.
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  • Katie Bloom
    January 1, 1970
    Normal Americans can sense that the economic systems in the US are rigged against them, but they can't always see the gears at work. The War on Normal People is a thorough, cogent, data-driven explanation of the state of our nation and exactly how things have gone so wrong. In sum, the average American is suffering from a lack of meaningful opportunity, a lack of money, and a lack of hope—and things are about to get infinitely, catastrophically worse as automation wipes out millions of American Normal Americans can sense that the economic systems in the US are rigged against them, but they can't always see the gears at work. The War on Normal People is a thorough, cogent, data-driven explanation of the state of our nation and exactly how things have gone so wrong. In sum, the average American is suffering from a lack of meaningful opportunity, a lack of money, and a lack of hope—and things are about to get infinitely, catastrophically worse as automation wipes out millions of American jobs in the coming decade. Andrew proposes many innovative solutions, including the Freedom Dividend: a universal basic income for every American citizen. UBI is an idea that's gaining popularity among Americans, and it's wildly more progressive than anything proposed by the Democratic party in the last election. The War on Normal People isn't a fun read. It's terrifying. But it's what we need in this distracting, scandal-heavy political climate: a clarion call to be a nation of equality and abundance, instead of a nation of greed and fear.
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  • Chris Carlson
    January 1, 1970
    This booked forced me to consider so many things in vastly different ways! On the surface, it is a well articulated counterpoint to free market capitalism in the light of growing automation. But it is also addresses the gift of privilege, the near inescapable weight of poverty and so much more. Read this book to challenge how you see the world. Don't be dissuaded by your views on universal basic income, it is only a small portion towards the end of the book and reading this won't make you a soci This booked forced me to consider so many things in vastly different ways! On the surface, it is a well articulated counterpoint to free market capitalism in the light of growing automation. But it is also addresses the gift of privilege, the near inescapable weight of poverty and so much more. Read this book to challenge how you see the world. Don't be dissuaded by your views on universal basic income, it is only a small portion towards the end of the book and reading this won't make you a socialist ;)Work, thus life as we know it, IS changing. This book will guide you through considering what these changes may mean for you and those you know.Intellectual bias, the free market, the role of technology, the value of money and how it drives people's decisions, moral responsibility, the vast impact of low income / skill jobs on all of us... All of these things have made a (hopefully) long lasting shift on how I see the world and my role in it.
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  • Cyrus
    January 1, 1970
    This is a very interesting book about a topic that more people should be thinking about. Automation caused job replacement is coming and the time is short. I know a lot of people who think about this at all think that this will be like all the other Luddite claims and that new job creation will absorb the dislocated employee so there really isn't anything to worry about. I think they are wrong. The scale of joblessness will be overwhelming. And the new jobs created will be both fewer than the jo This is a very interesting book about a topic that more people should be thinking about. Automation caused job replacement is coming and the time is short. I know a lot of people who think about this at all think that this will be like all the other Luddite claims and that new job creation will absorb the dislocated employee so there really isn't anything to worry about. I think they are wrong. The scale of joblessness will be overwhelming. And the new jobs created will be both fewer than the jobs they destroy and will require a higher level of training and education that many people will not be able or willing to accomplish. Mr. Yang has many good ideas and it is time to start the discussion. I don't agree with some of his proposals, but this is why people need to become aware, start thinking about this and start talking about it before the crisis hits and emotions run too high for rational discussion.
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