Our world order is under pressure as never before. From new authoritarian regimes in the US, Turkey and Russia, to the imminent break-up of the European Union and a social media awash with intolerance, things look set to fall apart just as abruptly as the Soviet Union did some thirty years ago. How did we get here, and what do we do now?
In this searching new exploration of our crisis, Paul Mason argues that at its heart lies an attack on the idea of humanity itself. As the free-market system reduced us to two-dimensional consumers, genetics has stripped us of our belief in humans as agents of change. And now the dystopian forces of the authoritarian right are pushing the world towards a pre-modern understanding of the human being- one that aims to destroy the very concept of universal human rights, and create a new world in which we are biologically destined to form hierarchies based on ethnicity and gender, and to obey the demands of religious conformity.
If these forces are not stopped, Mason warns, we will relive something even worse than the 1930s. In response, he demands a radical defence of the human being- a reinvention of humanism; a re-assertion of the universality of human rights; and a struggle for a society where biologically determined hierarchies are abolished. We have the power to imagine and design a better system. We must, Mason concludes, reach deep into the history and experience of resistance in order to be our own saviours.
About the Author
Paul Mason was born in 1960 in Leigh, Greater Manchester. He is BBC Newsnight's business and industry correspondent. He won the 2003 Wincott Award for business journalism and was named Workworld Broadcast Journalist of the year in 2004. He lives in London.
It has quick wit, vivid prose and makes rapid and stimulating connections. Its subtitle sums up its strengths. Fundamentally, Mason believes in the power of agency - the ability to choose to act and shape your own future.--John McTernan, Financial Times
A very interesting book, wide-ranging, insightful and yet still optimistic...some of his glosses on the history of ideas, and their impact on our troubled present, are alone worth the price of the book: he explains, lucidly and persuasively, how the uncertainty principles of quantum mechanics - questionable in themselves - have bled, via post-modernist theory, into the climate of irrationalism and fatalism that fuels Brexit, Putin and Trump.--Ed O'Loughin, Irish Times
Clear Bright Future's account of our political predicament is thrilling.--Eliane Glaser, Guardian
Paul Mason is doing something remarkable in this book, though it shouldn't be remarkable: he's focusing on the nature of being human, and how this is affected for better or worse by social, economic, and political forces that might seem overwhelming. It's the best analysis of neo-liberalism that I've seen for a long time, and puts our lives in a richly described context. Best of all, it's written with clarity and passion. I hope it'll change many minds.--Philip Pullman
Amid the ruins of many modern ideologies, Paul Mason's consistently bracing book offers a guide to a sustainable future - one that we can still shape with a fresh transformational vision of what it means to be free human being. Everyone should read it.--Pankaj Mishra
An unshakable humanist faith runs through this book... with his humane stress on the good life, Mason defies the caricature of the Corbyn left as reheated Soviet Communism. Corbynism is also routinely charged with wanting to "take us back to the 1970s." But here its leading thinker engages with tomorrow's economy with an urgency that's not currently matched on the right.--Tom Clark, Prospect