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Giant centralised hierarchies are anomalies of economic history … Zero Marginal Cost enables the emerging ‘Collaborative Commons’
Centralised structures centralise power and prosperity. Distributed structures distribute power and prosperity. Giant centralised hierarchies are the anomalies of economic history. For most of economic history, societies have organised using distributed structures consisting of smaller organisations. These are the foundation of prosperity.
We will explore the obsolescence of giant centralised hierarchies in a more comprehensive article in the future. In the interim, we want to introduce the view that giant centralised hierarchies are an anomaly in economic history as a means to organise society, not the norm, and natural processes of evolution are trying to transform our Industrial Economy into a Network Society, or a 'Collaborative Commons' structure. The book “The Zero Margin Cost Society” by Jeremy Rifkin provides a comprehensive overview, profound and insightful overview.
Collaborative Commons is an emerging economic system and uses technology to enable collective governance, ownership and stewardship of the commons or society. We recommend recommend Rifkin's book and viewing the video below . We have provided a few extracts for your convenience.
Extract from video:
Business people are always looking for ways to increase productivity and reduce marginal cost. They simply never expected in their wildest dreams that their would a productivity revolution so powerful that it might reduce marginal costs to near zero ... making goods and services essential free
In The Zero Marginal Cost Society, Jeremy Rifkin describes how the emerging Internet of Things is speeding us to an era of nearly free goods and services, precipitating the meteoric rise of a global Collaborative Commons and the eclipse of capitalism.
Forbes says The Zero Marginal Cost Society is “[an] illuminating new book…Rifkin is very good on the historical origins of the giant, vertically integrated organizations that dominated the 20 Century economy. [He] makes a powerful case that from a longer-term perspective, it is these giant hierarchies that are the anomalies of economic history. The shredding of vertical value chains, the creation of vast new horizontal value chains, and the social change of people preferring access to ownership…bring massive economic and social changes to business and society, the implications of which [are] only beginning to be glimpsed. For Rifkin, the shifts are positive and huge.
In his new book The Zero Marginal Cost Society, Jeremy Rifkin gives us an exciting analysis of our time, the situation of mankind, and of the big trends in technological change.From there he goes on to develop a universal perspective for the society of the 21st century – decidedly against a zeitgeist rather dominated by anxiety about the future and a decidedly pessimistic view of progress. Jeremy Rifkin links up the concrete social and ecological challenges of our era with their economic roots and cancels the underlying contradictions in a grand scenario for the future: a visionary approach unlike any anyone has dared to put forward in the last fifty years that will boost our thinking and help with our orientation.
The Financial Times calls The Zero Marginal Cost Society “a thought-provoking read that pushes some of the most important new technologies to their logical—and sometimes scary—conclusions… the value of this book…doesn't lie in the accuracy of its specific forecasts, but rather in the extrapolations of current trends that enable Rifkin to reach them. If Rifkin’s predictions have value…it is bringing home the extent of the technologically induced upheaval that may lie ahead. How we deal with the consequences is up to us. A grand unifying theory of [Rifkin’s] thinking over four decades.
Fortune calls The Zero Marginal Cost Society “admirable in its scope…what makes The Zero Marginal Cost Society worth reading is its audacity, its willingness to weave a vast string of developments into a heartening narrative of what our economic future may hold for the generations to come. You can call it naïve, but it’s much more than that. It’s hopeful.