Automation, Capitalism and the End of the Middle Class: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Automation, Capitalism and the End of the Middle Class

1st Edition

By Jon-Arild Johannessen


70 pages | 11 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367257248
pub: 2019-04-30
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In this book, the author argues that a new form of capitalism is emerging at the threshold of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. He asserts that we are in the midst of a transition from democratic capitalism to feudal capitalism and highlights how robotization and innovation is leading to a social crisis for the middle classes as economic inequality is on the rise.

Johannessen outlines the three elements – Balkanization, the Great Illusion, and the plutocracy – which are referred to here as feudal structures. He describes, analyzes, and discusses these elements both individually and in interaction with each other, and asks: "What structures and processes are promoting and boosting feudal capitalism?" Additionally, the book serves to generate knowledge about how the middle class will develop in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It shows the various effects of robotization on the middle class, where middle class jobs are transformed, deconstructed, and re-constructed and new part-time jobs are created for the middle class.

Given the interest in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the book will appeal to students of economic sociology and political economy as well as those in innovation and knowledge management courses focusing upon the emerging innovation economy. The topic will attract policymakers, and the accessible and engaging tone will also make the book of interest to the general public.

Table of Contents

Prologue 1. Lords and peasants in the Fourth Industrial Revolution 2. Robotization and the dissolution of the middle class 3. "Men in suits" are promoting extreme economic inequality Appendix: Historical account of the use of the term “feudal capitalism"

About the Author

Jon-Arild Johannessen holds a Master of Science from Oslo University in History and a Ph.D. from Stockholm University in Systemic Thinking. He is currently professor (full) in Leadership at Kristiania University College, Oslo, and Nord University, Norway. He has been professor (full) in Innovation at Syd-Danske University, Denmark, and professor (full) in Management at The Arctic University, Norway. At Bodø Graduate School of Business, Norway, he had a professorship (full) in Information Management, and he has also been a professor in Knowledge Management at the Norwegian School of Management.

About the Series

Routledge Focus on Economics and Finance

The fields of economics and finance are constantly expanding and evolving. This growth presents a significant challenge to readers trying to keep up with the latest important insights. Routledge Focus on Economics and Finance presents short books on the latest big topics, leveraging cutting edge research from scholars globally. 

Individually, each title in the series provides coverage of a key topic, whilst collectively, the series forms a comprehensive collection across the whole spectrum of economics and finance.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economic Conditions
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / General
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Computer Industry
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Information Management
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Knowledge Capital