This week I read an awesome short book: Race Against the Machine by McAfee and Brynjolfsson. They dive into accelerating technological change, technological unemployment, and the future of the economy, and then make recommendations as to how we need to adapt. I highly recommend it.

For my regular readers, it's like a highly articulate and well cited version of my previous posts Fixing Unemployments Parts One, Two, and Three. If you enjoyed those posts or are at all interested in the massive disruptive change we'll encounter in the near future - it's worth a read.

The only problem I have with the book is the recommendations section. The recommendations fall into four catagories:

  • Education
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Investment (Infrastructure and R&D)
  • Laws, Regulations, and Taxes

The actual suggestions are very good and, if politicians (many of the suggestions need political buy-in) were to implement them, our society would be much better prepared for the impact of accelerating technological change. However, the authors don't map out how to get the government to implement the recommendations.

Give the current state of national politics and corporate lobbying, many of their recommendations would be tough to pass through congress - the short term costs (loss of lobbying money or good will of the electorate) are too high.

It would be great to see a pragmatic guide to implementing the recommendations that takes into account today's political realities and uses a systems approach, accounting for all of the stakeholders. Ideally it would articulate:

  • What new narratives should be conveyed to which stakeholders
  • Which existing organizations, lobbies, and activists groups to court as allies
  • What new movements need to be created what new memes should be propagated amongst the general populous
  • Which media channels should be targeted to gain support for the recommendations

If anything like this already exists - send it my way!