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Guiding Books 28 July Jul 2017 1100 28 July 2017

Ten books to understand the changing labour market

Robots, sharing economy, digital platforms and gig economy. A recommended reading list to find your way, make the most of opportunities and face challenges

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Yes, it is summer time when people take a break. However, vacations and a few days of relaxation could be an opportunity to understand the changes in the labour world. Enlarging on increasing automation, the fourth industrial revolution, app economy and new trade unions, the proposed reading list will ensure that you are always well informed.

Martin Ford, Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future (Il Saggiatore). Entrepreneur and futurologist from Silicon Valley, Martin Ford relates how, for the first time in history, machines and artificial intelligence have created less jobs than the number they have usurped and replaced. Winner of the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award.

Francesco Seghezzi, The Great Transformation of Work: Impacts on Workers and on Work Relations (Adapt University Press). Work and the person in the fourth industrial revolution, described from the scientific perspective of Adapt centre for studies. To understand what position is most recommended and how to face the transformation in progress.

Matteo Sarzana, App Economy (Egea). Deliveroo’s General Manager for Italy guides us on a journey through app economy. Applications have made life easier but they have also created new occupational positions, such as “gig workers” who have been criticised by many. To understand how “gig economy” can also create a fairer and more inclusive society.

Marco Bentivogli, Abbiamo rovinato l’Italia? [Have we ruined Italy?] (Castelvecchi Editore). Fim Cisl’s Secretary General critically analyses the limitations of today’s trade unions regarding the changes of the fourth industrial revolution. He proposes the theory of a new trade union as the public site of young ambitions, focused on participation, it is a pragmatic venue that stands apart from extremist attitudes and anticipates the evolution of reality.

Domenico De Masi, Lavoro 2025 [Labour 2025], (Marsilio). Commissioned by Movimento Cinque Stelle, the sociologist conducted a forward study of the effects of technological progress on both employment and unemployment, providing a list of jobs that are most at risk and those which can, instead, survive. By the same author, we also find Lavorare gratis, lavorare tutti [Free labour, jobs for all] (Rizzoli), which proposes an original solution for the high rate of unemployment.

Emiliana Armano, Annalisa Murgia, Maurizio Teli, Platform capitalism e confini del lavoro negli spazi digitali [Platform capitalism and the confines of labour in digital spaces] (Mimesis). A collective job that offers a critical view of production processes mediated by digitalisation and of the new forms of labour. The book also considers the option of evading these mechanisms by adopting new organisational systems.

Paola De Micheli, Stefano Imbruglia, Antonio Misiani, Se chiudi ti compro [If you close down, I’ll buy you] (Guerini e associati). A journey into ten stories of companies that were purchased and saved by their workers. The authors consider this a new form of active labour policies, an alternative to the expensive social shock absorbers. What could the solution be?

Jobs Act. Il mercato del lavoro due anni dopo [Jobs Act. The labour market two years later] (Neos Magazine). A white paper written by 17 authors, all aged under 30, including students and young graduates, who have studied the Italian labour market two years after the enforcement of the labour reform. To understand our world.

Alec Ross. The Industries of the Future. (Feltrinelli). Former Counsellor of the Obama Administration for Innovation and Professor at the Columbia University, he has written this book on the hottest topics of innovation, ranging from genetic research to cybersafety and the Big Data revolution, underscoring its impact on the decisions each of us should make during the next twenty years.