People Get Ready

Robert W. McChesney & John Nichols, “People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy.” New York: Nation Books.

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

The consequences of the technological revolution are about to hit hard: unemployment will spike as new technologies replace labor in the manufacturing, service, and professional sectors of an economy that is already struggling. The end of work as we know it will hit at the worst moment imaginable: as capitalism fosters permanent stagnation, when the labor market is in decrepit shape, with declining wages, expanding poverty, and scorching inequality. Only the dramatic democratization of our economy can address the existential challenges we now face. Yet, the US political process is so dominated by billionaires and corporate special interests, by corruption and monopoly, that it stymies not just democracy but progress.

The great challenge of these times is to ensure that the tremendous benefits of technological progress are employed to serve the whole of humanity, rather than to enrich the wealthy few. Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols argue that the United States needs a new economy in which revolutionary technologies are applied to effectively address environmental and social problems and used to rejuvenate and extend democratic institutions. Based on intense reporting, rich historical analysis, and deep understanding of the technological and social changes that are unfolding, they propose a bold strategy for democratizing our digital destiny—before it’s too late—and unleashing the real power of the Internet, and of humanity.


2016. “The 7 Most Important new Books of 2016,” BSFC Inc., 15 January.

Selected Reviews:
  • Benton Blog, 7 March 2016. “The Internet Discussion We’re Not Having,” by Michael J. Copps.;
  • CounterPunch, 4 March 2016. “The Crash of Democratic Values,” by Paul Buhle.
  • The Herald (Zimbabwe). 14 March 2016. “Chanting Down the New Capitalism.”
  • Kirkus Reviews, 21 January.
  • Publishers Weekly, February 2016.
  • Wall Street on Parade, 1 March 2016, “’Generation Screwed’ Gets a Political Organizing Primer, Just in the Nick of Time,” by Pam Martens and Russ Martens.
  • Communication Booknotes Quarterly, Vol. 46, No. 1 (January-March 2015), pp. 25-26, by Christopher H. Sterling.


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 theCapital 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.

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