The Code Economy: A Forty-Thousand-Year History

My new is The Code Economy: A Forty-Thousand-Year History. It’s about the coevolution of algorithms and work over the span of millennia.

JACKET COPY

What do Stone Age axes, Toll House cookies, and Burning Man have in common? They are all examples of code in action.

What is “code”? Code is the DNA of human civilization as it has evolved from Neolithic simplicity to modern complexity. It is the “how” of progress. It is how ideas become things, how ingredients become cookies. It is how cities are created and how industries develop.

In a sweeping narrative that takes readers from the invention of the alphabet to the advent of the Blockchain, Philip Auerswald argues that the advance of code is the key driver of human history. Over the span of centuries, each major stage in the advance of code has brought a shift in the structure of society that has challenged human beings to reinvent not only how we work but who we are.

We are in another of those stages now. The Code Economy explains how the advance of code is once again fundamentally altering the nature of work and the human experience. Auerswald provides a timely investigation of value creation in the contemporary economy—and an indispensable guide to our economic future.

ENDORSEMENTS

Code is modern alchemy–transmuting thought into action, labor into capital. As computers saturate our world and code runs everywhere, this book offers a history of how we got here and a glimpse into our highly interesting future.

—Marc Andreessen, cofounder Netscape and Andreessen Horowitz

Philip Auerswald weaves a compelling metaphor for a socio-economic ecosystem whose “code” determines its behavior in sometimes subtle ways. These ideas help us make sense of long- and short-term phenomena that we encounter as we try to understand, and even to predict, some of the vicissitudes of our 21st Century lives.

—Vint Cerf, Internet Pioneer

By showing how human civilization has advanced over centuries through the creation and improvement of what we now call “code,” Philip Auerswald recounts an amazing history that helps us understand how we will live and work in the future.

—Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs and The Innovators; president and CEO of the Aspen Institute

The Code Economy is a strikingly interesting and important book. Much of economic thought focuses on consumption. Auerswald focuses instead on the history of production, recounting the evolution of code as “recipes” from the origin of writing to the development of the Internet; from the culinary creations of Julia Child to the manufacture of airplanes. Read it.

—Stuart Kauffman, author of At Home in the Universe and The Origins of Order

The genius of The Code Economy is putting innovation, automation, and artificial intelligence in historical context — telling the story of technology from the dawn of humanity to present. It should be required reading for anyone in the tech industry.

—Kristin Sharp, Executive Director of the Shift Commission on Work, Workers, and Technology, New America

“Phil Auerswald looks at the economy as an ever-changing, ever-evolving set of arrangements, procedures and recipes — a “code economy.” The result is a delightful account of how human activities have gathered power and complexity over centuries. Original, interesting, and thought-provoking.”

—W. Brian Arthur, author of Complexity and the Economy

What do Stone Age axes, Toll House cookies, and Burning Man have in common? They are all examples of code in action.

What is “code”? Code is the DNA of human civilization as it has evolved from Neolithic simplicity to modern complexity. It is the “how” of progress. It is how ideas become things, how ingredients become cookies. It is how cities are created and how industries develop.

In a sweeping narrative that takes readers from the invention of the alphabet to the advent of the Blockchain, Philip Auerswald argues that the advance of code is the key driver of human history. Over the span of centuries, each major stage in the advance of code has brought a shift in the structure of society that has challenged human beings to reinvent not only how we work but who we are.

We are in another of those stages now. The Code Economy explains how the advance of code is once again fundamentally altering the nature of work and the human experience. Auerswald provides a timely investigation of value creation in the contemporary economy—and an indispensable guide to our economic future.

EXCERPTS

The Promised Sand, Medium

Civilization is Built on Code, Nautilus

The Platform that Launched the Internet, LinkedIn

What the Invention of the Chocolate Chip Cookie Tells Us About the Evolution of Human Society, Medium

Order at

Politics & Prose: http://www.politics-prose.com/video/code-economy-phillip-e-auerswald

Amazon: http://thecodeeconomy.com