From Basic Books:
Instant New York Times Bestseller
“This book will change your sense of how grand the sweep of human history could be, where you fit into it, and how much you could do to change it for the better. It’s as simple, and as ambitious, as that.”
An Oxford philosopher makes the case for “longtermism” — that positively influencing the long-term future is a key moral priority of our time.
The fate of the world is in our hands. Humanity’s written history spans only five thousand years. Our yet-unwritten future could last for millions more — or it could end tomorrow. Astonishing numbers of people could lead lives of great happiness or unimaginable suffering, or never live at all, depending on what we choose to do today.
In What We Owe The Future, philosopher William MacAskill argues for longtermism, that idea that positively influencing the distant future is a key moral priority of our time. From this perspective, it’s not enough to reverse climate change or avert the next pandemic. We must ensure that civilization would rebound if it collapsed; counter the end of moral progress; and prepare for a planet where the smartest beings are digital, not human.
If we make wise choices today, our grandchildren’s grandchildren will thrive, knowing we did everything we could to give them a world full of justice, hope and beauty.
“This book will change your sense of how grand the sweep of human history could be, where you fit into it, and how much you could do to change it for the better. It’s as simple, and as ambitious, as that.”―Ezra Klein, host of The Ezra Klein Show podcast
“An optimistic look at the future that moved me to tears.”
―Joseph Gordon-Levitt, actor
“What We Owe The Future makes the case for thinking seriously about the very long term. It gives a profoundly new perspective on human civilization and our place in it.”
―Lydia Cacho, journalist and author of The Demons of Eden
“Touchingly optimistic… With something to ponder on every page, a bracing exhortation to do right by the people of centuries to come.”
“MacAskill delivers a sweeping analysis of contemporary dangers that masterfully probes the intersections of technology, science, and politics, while offering fascinating glimpses into humanity’s possible futures. This urgent call to action will inspire and unnerve in equal measure.”―Publishers Weekly
“What We Owe the Future is an instructive, intelligent book. It has a lot to teach us about history and the future, about neglected risks and moral myopia.”―Boston Review