Review of The Zero Marginal Cost Society

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The Zero Marginal Cost Society book summary
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Rating

9

Qualities

  • Innovative
  • Visionary
  • Insider's Take

Review

Author, futurist and economist Jeremy Rifkin describes society’s march toward a “collective commons,” featuring an economy based on sharing, cooperation, social experience and broad empathy. He weaves history, economics, psychology and science into a cohesive, compelling vision of a radically different but desirable future. Most of his predictions span the next 30 to 50 years, but many of today’s broad social movements are accelerating so rapidly that things could happen more quickly. Rifkin’s central theme is that the world is changing for the better because, even though capitalism created today’s abundance, peoples’ attitudes are shifting to collaboration, sharing and conservation. A more hardened realist might expect humanity’s inexorable decline into oblivion within the century, but those seeking an alternative future will appreciate Rifkin’s hopefulness.

About the Author

Renowned thinker, futurist and author of more than 20 books, Jeremy Rifkin lectures at the Executive Education Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and advises governments worldwide.

 

An Optimistic Futurist

Author, futurist and economist Jeremy Rifkin describes society’s march toward a “collective commons” featuring an economy based on sharing, cooperation, social experience and broad empathy. He weaves history, economics, psychology and science into a cohesive, compelling vision of a radically different but desirable future. Most of his predictions span the next 30 to 50 years, but many of today’s broad social movements are accelerating so rapidly that things could happen more quickly. Rifkin’s central theme is that the world is changing for the better because, even though capitalism created today’s abundance, peoples’ attitudes are shifting to collaboration, sharing and conservation. A more hardened realist might expect humanity’s inexorable decline into oblivion within the century, but those seeking an alternative future will appreciate Rifkin’s hopefulness.

Rifkin, who has written more than 20 books, betrays an optimism that might seem almost naive in less knowledgeable hands. He describes a world in which capitalism has so completely succeeded that it has rendered itself redundant, now that technology is bringing the cost of nearly everything down to almost nothing. This, he maintains, will create an abundance that leaves no one in want. He envisions a new age in which machines and artificial intelligence do almost everything, so humans can pursue transcendence, mainly through connections and heightened empathy. However, Rifkin does acknowledge the severe challenges humanity faces, most notably in climate change and cyberterrorism. 


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    M. L. 4 years ago
    Interesting concept. Presumably new products and services will emerge as consumer habits evolve and the old structures become eclipsed by resource-sharing.and collaboration.