A sequel to the prescient bestseller, first published in 1982, that alerted the public to the likely impacts of information technologies and the emergence of a post-industrial society.
When Sleepers, Wake! was first released in Australia, it immediately became influential around the world: it was read by Deng Xiaoping and Bill Gates; was published in China, Japan, South Korea, and Sweden; and led to the author being the first Australian minister invited to address a G-7 summit meeting, held in Canada in 1985.
Now its author, the polymath and former politician Barry Jones, turns his attention to what has happened since — especially to work, class, social relationships, and climate in the digital age — and to the challenges faced by increasingly fragile democracies and public institutions.
Jones sees climate change as the greatest problem of our time, especially because political leaders are incapable of dealing with complex, long-term issues of such magnitude. Meanwhile, technologies such as the smartphone and the ubiquity of social media have reinforced the realm of the personal. This has weakened our sense of, or empathy with, ‘the other’, the remote, the unfamiliar, and all but destroyed our sense of community, of being members of broad, inclusive groups.
In the post-truth era, politicians invent ‘facts’ and ignore or deny the obvious, while business and the media are obsessed with marketing and consumption for the short term. What Is to Be Done is a long-awaited update on such challenges of modernity.