Tech, Prosperity and Power with Simon Johnson

Simon Johnson takes on techno-optimism, the link between technology and human well-being, the law of intended consequences, the modern union remit and political will.

In this sobering tour through time, Simon proves that widespread human flourishing is not intrinsic to tech innovation. He challenges the ‘productivity bandwagon’ (an economic maxim so pervasive it did not have a name) and shows that productivity and market polarization often go hand-in-hand. Simon also views big tech’s persuasive powers through the lens of OpenAI’s board debacle.

Kimberly and Simon discuss the heyday of shared worker value, the commercial logic of automation and augmenting human work with technology. Simon highlights stakeholder capitalism’s current view of labor as a cost rather than people as a resource. He underscores the need for active attention to task creation, strong labor movements and participatory political action (shouting and all). Simon believes that shared prosperity is possible. Make no mistake, however, achieving it requires wisdom and hard work.

Simon Johnson is the Head of the Economics and Management group at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Simon co-authored the stellar book “Power and Progress: Our 1,000 Year Struggle Over Technology and Prosperity with Daren Acemoglu.

A transcript of this episode is here.

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Tech, Prosperity and Power with Simon Johnson
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