You are here

An Agenda for the 2020s: Inventing the Knowledge Age

Submitted by admin on Wed, 2020/01/01 - 5:37pm

In yesterday’s post I summarized the 2010s as fighting past battles that keep us stuck in the industrial age.

The agenda for the 2020s should be about inventing the knowledge age instead. The suggestions here draw heavily on my book World After Capital

So without further ado, here are six key areas to work on in the 2020s.


If we don’t get on top of the climate crisis, nothing else will matter, so I am putting this one first.

Read: The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells; Facing the Climate Emergency by Margaret Klein Salamon (pubs in April, pre-order now)

Do: Join or support Extinction Rebellion, the climate movement with the clearest theory of change rooted in non-violent direct action.

Start or join a climate solution startup. There are many people working on innovative ideas, ranging from the here and now of tree planting to the moonshot nuclear fusion with lots in-between.

Offset your carbon footprint. The road back to 350ppm or less of CO2 in the atmosphere will be hard, but a start is to take your known emissions and help offset them, for example using Project Wren.

Fund: If you have lots of money, invest in nuclear fusion now. We need many shots on goal (separate blog post forthcoming). But lots of ways you can fund the fight against the climate crisis, including supporting Extinction Rebellion, and signing up for or even setting up community solar. As for venture funds, there is tons to back and we are starting to do so at USV (blog post on that coming soon). Finally, we badly need more geoengineering research and that is poorly funded at the moment.


Too many people seem to believe that we can accomplish major change only by reverting to some kind of autocracy. But even if democracy is messy, tyranny is never the answer.

Read: Democracy May Not Exist, But We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone by Astra Taylor; On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder

Do: Vote. Far too many young people are not voting and then are somehow surprised that the election outcomes don’t reflect their interests. If you are anything other than a lawyer, but particularly if you are a scientist, run for office.

Fund: Contribute to Andrew Yang’s campaign. He’s the only presidential candidate not stuck in the industrial age. Support to get rid of corruption in US politics.


Universal basic income (UBI) is a cornerstone policy for getting out of the industrial age into the knowledge age. UBI is no panacea but it breaks the job loop which currently has people trapped.

Read: Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman; Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? by Martin Luther King Jr. 

Do: Volunteer for Andrew Yang’s campaign. Andrew is the only presidential candidate supporting UBI.

Fund: In the US, you can support the Economic Security Project and in Germany Sanktionsfrei and Grundeinkommensbüro.


Read: Antifragile by Nassim Taleb; Bitcoin Paper by Satoshi Nakamoto

Do: Buy some bitcoin. Use or build decentralized apps (on systems such as Blockstack, Algorand, ARweave, Filecoin, etc.) Move away from Google, Facebook, Amazon wherever you can and use alternatives such as Duck Duck Go. Note to self: I should have used IndieBound links for all the books throughout this post.

Fund: Open source projects via Open Collective. The blockchain foundation layers are coming along nicely, now there is lots of need to invest in decentralized application development (for example, list of Blockstack apps).


Read: The Conscious Parent by Shefali Tsabary (even if you don’t have children — just substitute parents or friends or employees); A Guide to the Good Life by William B. Irvine

Do: Develop your own mindfulness practice (if you don’t already have one). Doesn’t matter what it is – for some people it is yoga, for others running. Breathing exercises is what works for me.

Fund: Research into psychedelic drugs. This may seem like a non-sequitur, but it seems that these do offer a crucial shortcut to experiencing egoless states.


Read: Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto; Free Learning by Dani Grant

Do: If you have children, homeschool them. Commit to learning something new yourself.  If you are an entrepreneur, start a freelearning company – here is a list of ideas.

Fund: Support free content via Patreon, e.g. the amazing Numberphile videos on Youtube. Donate to University of the People, a tuition free US-accredited school run by volunteers.

On each of these I am excited for feedback from readers, including suggestions for what else to read, do, or fund. 

Of course there are many other things you could do to advance the knowledge age so please contribute those also – getting out of the industrial age is a massive multi generational project. 

Let’s get going!

Disclosure: many of the projects, non-profits and companies linked to throughout this post are ones that either Susan and I have backed or that are funded by USV.

Read Complete Article Wednesday, January 1, 2020