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Fully Automated Luxury Communism: A Manifesto

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  565 ratings  ·  81 reviews
A different kind of politics for a new kind of society--beyond work, scarcity and capitalism

In the twenty-first century, new technologies should liberate us from work. Automation, rather than undermining an economy built on full employment, is instead the path to a world of liberty, luxury and happiness—for everyone. Technological advance will reduce the value of commoditi
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Hardcover, 278 pages
Published June 11th 2019 by Verso (first published 2018)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
if we a going to have a workerless future with robotics and what not why do all the fruits have to go to a capitalist group at the top. The logic of capitalism doesn't work in an age where labor isn't necessary for abundance. Ownership of the tools of production will make less and less sense as workers get replaced by automation. It goes with the apocryphal conversation between Alfred Sloan and Walter Reuther during the first automation scare in the 1950s. Sloan the head of GM said the Reuther ...more
Mack
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“we have a world to win.” Cannot recommend this book enough, i’m honestly contemplating buying five copies and handing them out to my five closest friends. Utopian but practical, this manifesto has been a guiding light away from the doom and gloom of current neoliberal nihilism. Thank you Bastani
Benjamin
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Renewable energy solving our insatiable power demands and automation saving us from spirit crushing bullshit jobs? Lab-grown meat ending animal farming and feeding the world? Asteroid mining ending mineral scarcity? This is optimism! But grounded.
I confess I was likely to be a fan before I turned the first page because I share any desire to explore a potentially classless, more equal world. Given that capitalism is failing, inequality is feeding a rise in the far-right, left and right populism i
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Naomi
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
There was a lot here I disagreed with. The move to this kind of society should be led by the resource-rich global south, not pulling "underdeveloped" countries behind to be exploited for their minerals in the transition. The chapter on renewable energy is totally unrealistic and he doesn't mention nuclear as a transitional energy source, which is needed in some regions as long as energy storage lags behind energy capture technology. The argument for post-scarcity of rare Earth resources hinges o ...more
Matthew Henry
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Aaron Bastani investigates the consequences of emerging technologies on our politics. He sets the stage by describing the crises currently unfolding: climate change, ageing population, resource scarcity, automation ... Then he argues that emerging technologies will bring "extreme supply" in labour, energy, resources, health and sustenance. This changes the way we should imagine the future.

I think the book sometimes sounds like technological determinism - the theory by which technology is the mai
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Robert
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm skeptical of tech-utopianism, and I think Bastani is too starry-eyed in some places, but I think that this book and books like this are essential and valuable, if for no other reason than as a reminder of the great possibility of the future and the sheer abundance of the world we live in, if we are willing to re-frame the way that we approach it and a demand a more just reality.
Haley
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it
One of the most important things about this book is that it demonstrates the imagination of the left - the ability to envision a world very different than the status quo and then the ability to make tangible recommendations about how we get there.

Bastani takes us through prior "disruptions" to show that worlds previously unimaginable have come to pass multiple times in history - i.e., the agricultural revolution and industrial revolution. He posits that as we move toward a world with "extreme s
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Brandy Cross
Feb 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: my-library
How could one best summarize this book? Incredibly morally appealing? Incredibly naive? A bit a both?

FALC (Fully Automated Luxury Communism) is a pipe dream (for now). But, for the most part, Bastani doesn't advocate for it, only for smaller measures that fit fairly well into democratic socialism. Much of it is practical, utilitarian, and applicable inside the structures we have now. UBI/UBN structures have been proposed since the 1800s, and we have the structure and tax systems to leverage and
...more
Andres
Jul 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Bastani' diagnostic of the potential impact of disruption is thought-provoking and well argued, particularly how the pricing mechanism breaks in the age of abundant supply with minimal marginal cost. The vision for a new societal contract that addresses capitalism's flaws is inspiring. But...

As usual, the devil is in the details, and Bastani's proposed actions to get from current state to Utopian state are poorly laid out and disjointed. Hopefully he'll spend more time addressing this in future
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Brant Roberts
Mar 30, 2020 rated it did not like it
In the opening pages of Aaron Bastani’s Fully Automated Luxury Communism: A Manifesto the writer attempts to connect six imagined scenarios in order to make the conditions for his argument relevant; unfortunately much of what follows contains the same fictitious logic. Written more like an issue of Sky Mall Magazine than a political manifesto, Bastani’s new book argues that fully automated luxury communism (FALC) is an achievable goal thanks to the development of new technologies and the acceler ...more
Frank
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
WOW! Bastani gives us an exciting look into a future that is already upon us. Exciting investment opportunities await us in active stock market listed companies as well as future IPO's to get in on the ground floor with when they emerge. Also, read about many of the "far-fetched" technological advances that are already in the making - I just ordered my first bottle of GLYPH (whiskey), "the world's first 'molecular spirit' from my local liquor store - Thanks Aaron! When you consider this quote fr ...more
Mikael  Hall
May 08, 2020 rated it did not like it
As stupid as stupid goes. It has the form, content and style of a California ideology fantasy. It praises the most outlandish and horrendous people and technologies there are. Bastani reading and understanding of Marx appears to be so bad that it is astonishing that he can call himself a social democrat, let alone a communist. And when push comes to show the best he can argue for is some populist watered down social democracy that supposedly should be able to transition into communism. I wounder ...more
Jordan Phizacklea-Cullen
Bastani is a highly articulate spokesperosn for the post-2015, post-Brexit leftist media, and this is a readable argument for going further in aiming for a utopia than all current political parties and government systems appear to be offering. There's a lot of scene-setting and the argument-building doesn't really start to reach a conclusion until the final third, but the enthusiasm will keep you going up to that final portion. If you need convincing that a better world is possible, this isn't a ...more
Darran Mclaughlin
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
May add a review later.
Ben
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
'A few short decades from now, the seemingly terminal problems of today will appear as absurd as the London manure crisis of 1894 does to us.'

Eagerly awaiting our new, seemingly terminal problems!
Louis
Jan 07, 2020 rated it liked it
3,5 stars
Will Tucker
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
More reminiscent of Ted Chiang than the Communist Manifesto; at times it's a very convincing book and is an enjoyable read all the way through.
malou
May 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
there was something always something a bit icky to me about the thought of intentionally automating but bastani shows how today's technology makes now the prime time for communism.
Theroadtosedition
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: social-science
I'd give it a 3.75 but I'm rounding up in the hopes people read this and other similar books.
Alexandre Andrade Sampaio
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Insightful and necessary. A step forward in recognizing where forces should unite.
Jeremy Large
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
The good:

Bastani outlines five major problems currently facing our society that rightly terrify any thinking millenial. And then he shows how, given the level of technology we already have and the trends in development, we have the solutions to those problems ... if we act quickly, and decisively, and collectively. I ended up feeling kind of hopeful by the end.

The not-so-good:

I feel like Bastani could have used some editing. The prose is often meandering and wordy at the expense of clarity. I a
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Alexander Frederick Roth
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read this book and talk to me about it! It’s brilliant! We might live to see something closer to utopia if we can beat the status quo. Populism isn’t a dirty word under a Fossil Fuel capitalist system destroying the planet. I will leave you with this excerpt. “In a certain sense Marx bears a resemblance to Wycliffe. Like the English priest, the technologies necessary for the adoption of his ideas were unavailable during his own era.”
Markus Amalthea Magnuson
Capital markets, reformation of the World Bank, etc. are glossed over too quickly and especially the argument against universal basic income appear unconvincing due to its brevity, but other than that this is a very refreshing book.
Gertjan
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“There is more than enough [...] for everyone on earth to live healthy, happy, fulfilling lives. What stands in the way isn’t the inevitable scarcity of nature, but the artificial scarcity of market rationing and ensuring that everything, at all costs, is produced for profit.”

In Fully Automated Luxury Communism, Aaron Bastani shows with scientific expertise how we have finally reached a point in history where FALC is no longer a utopian dream of a distant past but a realistic goal only depending
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Robert Morris
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a thrilling little book. It initially comes across as a profoundly weird clash of two genres, but it ends up adding a lot to both. In the end I don't think Fully Automated Luxury Communism's (FALC) prescriptions are quite right, but I do think it's a step in the right direction. FALC isn't just the title of the book, Bastani intends it to be a political and societal program as well. It's tempting to think that all he really got wrong was the branding, but there are more flaws that just t ...more
Jani-Petri
Terrible.
Yağız Ay
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
****THIS IS HAPPENING****
Ian Pitchford
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Energising

Peter Diamandis meets Karl Marx in this erudite and invigorating account of the emancipatory potential of exponential technologies. Above all Bastani provides a relentlessly optimistic viewpoint and a fascinating sketch of a deliverable political programme to ease the fears of those who have resigned themselves to the likelihood - and perhaps even the inevitability - of a totalitarian dystopia in the not too distant future.
Peter Harrison
Jan 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics
This book disappointed me, which is a shame because I think the subject is the most important one for the contemporary left to tackle - that is the developing trends in modern society and economy which suggest that a significant change is on the horizon, with the possibility that capitalism itself may be about to be transformed into something.... else.

I am being a little unfair. Bastani does a reasonable job of outlining the key challenges: the growing automation of production with the possibili
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clare
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
I am a fan of Bastani’s optimistic goal in the broader sense, but how he gets there is far from ideal.

I don’t typically quote other reviews, but this person said it better than I could have and echoes my feelings on the matter:
“While on the surface Bastani’s book reaches for a different horizon he clearly has no serious issue with capitalism and at no point takes issue with it as a mode of production; instead, he focuses more on the ‘challenges’ it has brought rather than seeing capitalism as th
...more
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