How a Collaborative Economy Could Change Capitalism

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

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. In The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism, Rifkin uncovers a paradox at the heart of capitalism that has propelled it to greatness but now may be the cause of its demise.


Jeremy Rifkin

Comments [20]

cess from palisades park NJ

Also, is it tax policy be benefited from this zero marginal cost view of things????????????????????

Apr. 02 2014 09:52 PM
Matt Helme

Ya, this is Marxism.

Apr. 02 2014 05:20 PM
Eric from Albany CA

I hope Mr. Rifkin is correct when he suggests that the Internet will usher in a new era of cheap and abundant clean energy but it should be noted that as of right now utility costs in Germany are among the highest in the industrial world, despite the fact that Germany is a leader in solar power.

Apr. 02 2014 03:54 PM
Peter Talbot from Harrison NJ

Newspeak gibberish. Exactly coincident with the end of work in the "collaborative" utopia is a rise not in terrorism but political violence. As people are marginalized and underemployed they become embittered. As the children of embittered parents mature they become soldiers. As soldiers work they reduce the concept of collaboration to the dilettante coffee table tripe shared with such excitement by Mr. Rifkin. Mr. Rifkin misquotes Adam Smith and tries to set up a special category for collaborative "no capital load" work where the work done is compensated by a mystical barter. Behind the jargon is the false idea that people work to fulfill their needs: it ain't so, as Karlo and the rest of the Marx brothers learned: we are all kulaks as interested in seeing others go without donkeys as in owning one ourselves. No amount of connectivity of the internet of "things" is going to motivate anyone except the most evil and most cupiditous to keep their sheep and veal confused, docile and succulent. The terrifying mindlessness behind the guest's central thesis is wonderful news for the fascists waiting to take advantage of the "collaborators". Think I'll go for a stroll on the Kurfurstendam before spending my Weimar bitcoin at an internet cafe. There is a sucker born every minute, and every one of them has a facebook account.

Apr. 02 2014 02:54 PM

Reminds me of Picard, Star Trek rationale . . . the acquisition of wealth is no longer of concern and people work toward the betterment of humans and civilization

Apr. 02 2014 02:28 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I think Leonard's q. about inequality was partially answered by Mr. Rifkin's statement about terrorism as the 2nd thing that could scotch the developments he predicts. We've seen in several countries over the last few years how inequality can cause conditions that lead to unrest --> extremism --> terrorism. (Not that I believe everyone who protests or even revolts against economic or other oppression is a terrorist.)

Apr. 02 2014 01:00 PM
joe g from LI

one area for sure that will be an expanding need will be supporting the
exploding population of people with autism---they will need a range of
staff ( many of whom will be employed by the individual or the family
as we continue to grow away fron "non profit" agencies )
----the same pertains to the ever increasing alzheimers numbers---
HOWEVER we must value this work and and these workers
and reduce the profits that keep their wages depressed---

Apr. 02 2014 12:52 PM
ismael ramirez from NYC

Makes sense.

Apr. 02 2014 12:42 PM
Tina from Queens

I forgot the most important job, that will NEVER die - the pizza delivery man! (on his enviromentaly friendly legs powered bycicle) :)))

Apr. 02 2014 12:41 PM
Joe from nearby

Can the internet drive down the obscene compensation Wall Street awards itself?

Apr. 02 2014 12:38 PM
Tina from Queens

We will revert back to agrarian societies - we will do farming, animal rearing because we will still have to eat; in the cities, plumbing, house cleaning and baby rear end wiping; and all the other physical things we need in a home - furniture, personal transport (cars) adn gear manufacturing (clothes, shoes. So, most people will have to go to school for these vocational professions.

Apr. 02 2014 12:37 PM
Steve from NJ

kinda looks like the emperor is without a frock here.

we still need to make a living, how can we when everything we create is done without pay?

Apr. 02 2014 12:34 PM
Larry from Nyack

Please ask Jeremy Rifkin to explain what is solar power "Feed In Tarrif" used in Germany and Ontario? Who pays for it? Why don't we have it in New York State to promote more solar and wind power?

Apr. 02 2014 12:33 PM
Birgitta from Highland Park, NJ

FYI: You said that 'I can't skype home from the street to say I'll be late.' This is true. But you can use a free video-texting app called GLIDE. You and the recipient can communicate in real time as well as in delayed time (as in regular texting.) It's a great app!

Apr. 02 2014 12:32 PM

Paying taxes DOE NOT help the folks who are screwed from services like Airbnb! Those apartments that are being held should be lived in by people who are residents in the city. Does Rifkin think NYers should live in hotels? This guy never sees the folks who lose out. He always claims everyone wins except for the faceless big entities. HE never sees individuals as losers.

Apr. 02 2014 12:30 PM

With regard to Rifkin in Europe, I've had several European friends reference The Venus Project, which sounds a lot like what he's advocating. Any connection?

Apr. 02 2014 12:27 PM
Mike from NJ

What about the people who own the infrastructure of the internet. The companies that will ask for increasing amount of money for access.

Apr. 02 2014 12:23 PM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Nothing in life is free.

Google and similar companies, have successfully banked, that most people have no idea what the monetary value of their privacy is, and hence - will gladly trade it in, for so-called: "free services"

The author's greater point, similar to the Marxian dialectic, that man's alienation with labor will come full circle. In the author's case - via DIY collaborative technology, is interesting but will not happen in our life-times.

Apr. 02 2014 12:14 PM
Mike C from Manhattan

ONE PROBLEM Rifkin has not thought of What is being done is the foundation to preserve wealth in the hands of the wealthy is being layer thru a system of sequestering of Intellectual property rights that have even invaded the food supply, with Monsanto's patent of basic commodities. The ability to produce thru technology will be hampered and taxed and monopolized by the patent holders who can then take these fruits of increased productivity and manipulate the price in their favor. This fact pervades every sector he sees hope in

Apr. 02 2014 12:11 PM
John A

How could connecting nearly everything you own to an Internet of hackers (admit that) not be a huge security risk?

Apr. 02 2014 10:34 AM

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