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Robert McChesney and John Nichols present "People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy"

Will technological progress translate into broader shared prosperity or increasingly precarious labor and increasingly concentrated wealth?  Will digital communication help to rebuild a more effective democracy, or cement corporate control?  The answers to these questions depend on whether we can organize to build a new economy that democratizes what should be a shared technological inheritance, rather than letting the forces of monopoly control reappropriate the digital commons—and to help outline what these answers might look like, the Democracy Collaborative is excited to co-sponsor this free lunchtime talk and discussion with Robert McChesney and John Nichols, authors of the new book People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy. 


Wednesday, March 16th



Institute for Policy Studies, 1301 Connecticut Ave, 6th floor, Washington DC

About the book:

Humanity is on the verge of its darkest hour—or its greatest moment 

The consequence of the technological revolution is about to hit hard: employment opportunities will collapse across the board as new technologies replace labor. Moribund capitalism and talk of market solutions won't answer this crisis. In this brave new world, the power of the people to demand a smarter and more humane economic and environmental policy will be diminished as fear trumps reason and surrender replaces hope. 

Unless the tremendous benefits of technological progress are employed to serve the whole of humanity, rather than to enrich a handful of monopolists, the social contract will not be undermined—it will be broken. Americans cannot let corporate CEOs and billionaire campaign donors define their future. PEOPLE GET READY: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy  reveals that the choices made in the next few years will decide not just how technology is utilized and how economies are organized, but whether democracy will cease to function in any meaningful sense. 

This book, by two of America's leading champions of Net Neutrality and efforts to close the digital divide, links an urgent call for action with an outline of what must be done to move from crisis to hope. John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney argue that the United States needs a new economy in which the benefits of revolutionary technologies are shared by everyone, applied to effectively address environmental and social problems, and used to rejuvenate and extend democratic institutions and practices. 

Traveling the world, meeting with top innovators in the tech industry, and moving from the cloistered confines of Google’s Mountain View complex in California to the city streets where fast-food workers march for a living wage, the authors chronicle the effects of the tech revolution on the ground and in real time. With fearless analysis and their typically clairvoyant predictive powers, they propose a bold strategy for fighting back and democratizing our digital destiny—before it’s too late.

About the authors

Robert W. McChesney is the Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the author or editor of 23 books. His work has been translated into 30 languages. He is the co-founder of Free Press, a national media reform organization. In 2008, the Utne Reader listed McChesney among their "50 visionaries who are changing the world."
John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written The Nation 's Online Beat since 1999, is their Washington DC correspondent, and contributing writer for  The Progressive and In These Times.  He is also the associate editor of the Capital Times, the daily newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin. His articles have appeared in the  New York Times Chicago Tribune and dozens of other newspapers, and he is a frequent guest on radio and television programs as a commentator on politics and media issues. Nichols lives in Madison, WI and Washington DC.