Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Rifkin on the alternative

In keeping with recent posts, see this post in the Rifkin thread quoting his book The Empathic Civilization, chapter 13 on distributed capitalism:

"The peer-to-peer sharing of energy among millions, and eventually billions, of people marks the beginning of a new era that could see the steady erosion of traditional hierarchical modes of organization and management and the widespread adoption of distributed networks characterized by mass collaboration" (527).

"'Peer production' or 'peering' is becoming standard operating procedure in some the world's largest companies, especially in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries" (530).

"Third Industrial Revolution peer-to-peer technologies give rise to 'distributed capitalism' and, in the process, make many of the central assumptions of market capitalism outmoded and irrelevant" (531).

From the next section entitled "From property rights to access rights":

"Nowhere is the old classical economic paradigm and the new distributed capitalism mode more at odds than when it comes to the notion of holding intellectual property. Patents and copyrights are sacrosanct in the traditional business scheme. In a collaborative economy, however, open-sourcing of critical information becomes essential to collaboration. Possessing and controlling information thwarts collaboration" (533).

"The result is that we are witnessing the birth of a new economic system that is as different from market capitalism as the latter was from the feudal economy of an earlier era. Nor is it just a matter of finding new organizational formats to upgrade the conduct of business in a market economy. It's the market economy mechanism itself that is becoming outmoded" (537-8).

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