Capitalism is doomed and unless a new economic order is established, the world faces chaos by the middle of the century.
That is the stark message of a provocative new book by the economics editor of Channel 4 News, Paul Mason, who is speaking at the Off The Shelf Festival in Sheffield this Saturday, October 10.
And he says his uncompromising message that radical restructuring involving higher wages and a reduction in corporate power to cope with the booming online information culture is getting a lot of attention from people in business who are attending packed launch events for the book, Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future.
“I’ve discovered there’s a whole layer of people out there, who do sustainability or IT for big companies, who understand this problem, who have got back to me and said, ‘Yes, you’re the first person to put a name to it, and we need to start thinking about this in a more urgent way. That’s been the interesting thing about the reaction.”
Mr Mason’s book argues the economic doctrine of neoliberalism will have run its course by about 2050, leaving the world facing a crisis in which ageing societies will be unable to service national debt.
The rise of information technology will destroy jobs and tax revenues, globalisation will fall apart and parties of the extreme left and right will rise as countries try to shift the blame to each other.
Mr Mason, formerly economics editor of BBC’s Newsnight, said his arguments had evolved over 20 years of covering the growth of new technology, as well as the economic crisis and its aftermath.
“I’ve been covering the crisis since 2008 and the world economy is in a very poor and stagnant state.
“I’ve also for the last two decades covered the rise of new technology, and I always had a hunch that the problems of capitalism were linked to the rise of a kind of technology that creates a new kind of dynamic when it comes to innovation.”
He covered the meltdown of Greece’s economy, and that confirmed his ideas.
“It has become the case study of what this economic model we call neoliberalism gets wrong.
“It assumes the most important thing is to balance the books. It was a reputational disaster for right-wing economics.
For more information: www.offtheshelf.org.uk