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"One basic economic rule, as Mr. Rifkin points out, has not changed since Roman times: caveat emptor. In the brave new wired world, it will be ever more difficult for the buyer to beware of technology speeding forward in nanoseconds, controlled by global giants." --The New York Times
"Rifkin's vision of corporate capitalism dematerializing into webs of access of networks of 'virtual' power is startling and compelling." --William Greider, author of One World, Ready or Not
Biographie de l'auteur
One of the most popular social thinkers of our time, Jeremy Rifkin is the bestselling author of The European Dream, The Hydrogen Economy, The Age of Access, The Biotech Century, and The End of Work. A fellow at the Wharton School's Executive Education Program, he is president of The Foundation on Economic Trends in Bethesda, MD.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
31 internautes sur 33 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
A great book, but read it carefully!13 juin 2000
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Make no mistake, I think that the Age of Access is an outstanding analysis of modern economy. If you are a young professional and trying to develop a plan for professional development, or if you are a seasoned professional trying to come to terms with the mindset of the young, you should definitely read this book. The biggest intellectual challenge that exists today for professionals is to understand the "new economy." I am always afraid that tidal waves of disruptive changes are right around the corner (or are already here) that could literally destroy my company or my career. Rifkin elaborates on several modern economic paradigms, and his analysis will help you anticipate and prepare for these fantastic changes. I agree with some of the gloomy predictions like the destruction of our "Cultural Landscape." In a very vivid example, Rifkin mentions that there is a Dunkin' Donuts just a few yards away from the Trevi fountain in Rome. Even as a self described libertarian, I believe this kind of pollution of the "Cultural Landscape" should be stopped. Rifkin's elaboration on the economic value of social trust is right on. Nevertheless his implication that trust is withering away in the US is not convincing. My criticism is that although Rifkin has clearly diagnosed many of societies ills, he falls short of offering an action-based specific resolution. He seems to imply that "a handful of giant transnational life-science companies" represent the evil empire of today, nevertheless he does not say how to undo their influence. Reading between the lines, it seems that Rifkin is implying that government ought to take control of certain things that are now considered private property. As an example, government would force Dunkin Donuts to move their restaurant to a less sacred location. History shows us that expanding the power of government can have disastrous results. I would have respected the author much more if he would provide a naked description of his action plan.
22 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Spectacular analysis of today's hyper culture and commerce.2 septembre 2002
Adam F. Jewell
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Your life is part of a larger drama. As you grow up you are presented with numerous options as to the character you will play. What attributes should your character have, what personality traits, what reputation, what should your character strive to be? Will you take on different personas at work, in social situations, in simulated environments? The choice is up to you, but your choices are presented by advertisers who seek to steer you in a particular direction and supply you with the props to act out your character of choice. Once you acquire the physical props needed to reinforce your character (which have limited revenue potential for the companies supplying them), you need to compliment your props with experiences. Maybe you want to play a distinguished individual; one who lives in an exclusive golf community with others of similar status and means. Your character of choice has the newest cars, the latest gadgets, and adheres to the norms of others playing similar roles. You own little if anything and consume most everything as a service - you lease your car, despite "owning your home" you have to pay for all kinds of memberships and fees to keep up the act. You script your social circles and cultural experiences. The majority of your relationships are based on monetary exchange and are pre planned. You are able to purchase cultural experiences based on what market research has determined you want to experience. You are presented with that which others have determined you want to see and will pay the most to experience. Your experiences don't reflect reality, as it exists in nature, but the "reality" which you want to, and think, should exist. If you have enough financial resources you can rent the exact character you want to play, buy all the necessary props, and engage in all the appropriate cultural experiences. Everyone will treat you just the way you want to be treated. You'll be able to script your whole life. Will your relationships be built on trust, empathy, compassion and other genuine human emotions? Does any of this matter? Is there any difference between a life where everything is a paid for experience and one where it is not? Is this much ado about nothing? That's up to you to decide. Jeremy vividly describes how such scenarios may affect you. Another fundamental issue in "The Age of Access" is the private ownership and control of public assets and natural resources. Should a private entity be allowed to claim exclusive ownership of the radio spectra over which all sorts of communications are broadcast? Should a biotech company be able to patent (and therefore have exclusive use) of a particular gene that has always existed in nature but has only recently been discovered and put to a particular use? Should companies be able to have patents on the very building blocks that make up life on Earth? Should they be able to patent things that make up your body? When it comes to property rights, where is the line between private property and the right of humanity to share in and access the natural wealth of the planet? Monsanto, through the development of "Terminator seeds", has already shown how such patents and associated biological tampering may be used for the financial gain of a few to the detriment of the food supply of the world. [Terminator seeds were developed by Monsanto as a way to claim intellectual property rights and revenue from farmers. The seeds are bio-engineered to be sterile so that instead of simply harvesting seeds at the end of one crop season to be used for the next, the farmer would have no choice but to ante up to Monsanto for seeds for next years crop.] The parallel is made between cultural diversity and biodiversity. As the world's natural resources are depleted, can we continue our current lifestyles, our massive energy consumption? Many other works contend the answer is no. Rifkin compares biodiversity to cultural diversity. Can capital markets continue to operate if the very social fabric and trust on which they are built is transformed into continuum of paid for experiences? "The Age of Access" is brilliant. It raises issues that will become more and more important as we move forward into the age of "hyper-capitalism". Will it matter if your life becomes a series of subscriptions and paid for experiences? Should any private entity be able to claim control over things like genes or radio spectra or should they remain in the public domain for all to use? Is it in anyone's interest for corporations like McDonalds's, Dunkin Doughnuts, Starbucks, and others to steamroll local cultures and business outside of the US in the pursuit of profit? Rifkin presents scenarios that address these and many other questions. You may or may not agree with issues and perspectives in the book but its one book you can't afford to pass up.
20 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Concerns About Losing Diversity in the Global Village11 septembre 2000
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This book is really two books. The first (Part I -- The New Capitalist Frontier) describes the changing ways that businesses are improving the value and cost of providing goods and services, by doing just what is needed and in a more pleasant way. This eliminates a lot of waste and inefficiency. Also, business has usually provided poor service, so competition is shifting into making better, more memorable service the key element. That book is clearly a five star book. Read all of it. The second book (Part II -- Enclosing the Cultural Commons) focuses on concentration of services being provided globally by fewer and fewer players. These global giants try to find the lowest common denominator in order to expand consumption. On the other hand, it all costs money, and most people in the world cannot afford these services. Does this create a loss for all? That's one fundamental question raised here. Unfortunately, the book focuses on the pessimistic side and fails to consider inherent counterbalances. The second fundamental question is whether 'virtual' experiences (whether on-line or in other forms) harms perception to such an extent that creativity and connection are lost at a more basic level. I rated this part of the book at 3 stars because it was an incomplete analysis, and had few recommendations. The author would have been better off writing two books and developing both properly, than in combining both. You can get most of what you need from the second part in the last chapter in the book. Then you can decide if you want to read the rest of that part. Let me address some of the author's concerns in the second part. Skip this part of my review if you are not interested in these issues. The book seems to ignore the role that family plays in establishing values, cultural norms, and in creating focus. The family does not appear in this book. With more ways for the family unit to be effective with one another, we actually have the potential for an age of enhanced 'authentic' living in our family units. The author also seems to give any credit to the idea that with technology costs plummeting there is no reason why access to the new forms of service may not become more universal than in the industrial economy. For example, there should be enough money to provide funds for the equivalent of electronic libraries in any community that has any way to tax its citizens. These should be one form of universal access. Charitable grants can provide much of the rest (in the same way that Andrew Carnegie helped establish the broadscale use of community public libraries). Next, he ignores the fact that electronic storage makes it easier to capture and maintain diverse cultural influences than ever before. As one bit of evidence, look at the proliferation of personal Web sites and their individuality. These electronic scrapbooks would not have existed before the Internet, even in paper form. Scholars and marketers will be reaching out ever more broadly to find what is unique and helpful in other cultures. Those influences will then be quickly brought into mass culture, where they will provide more benefit than they could as isolated cultures. Finally, there are many benefits of a more common world culture. It provides the basis of better understanding, more ways to share information and knowledge, greater recognition of important problems, and improved effectiveness in resolving those problems. The failure of the Tower of Babel kept diversity going, but at a high price after the ability to communicate with one another was lost. When the Industrial Age began, many argued that important aspects of rural life would soon be lost. An example related to the close relation between humans and their horses. Yet there are more horses in the United States today than there were before the Industrial Age began. Humans seek out 'authentic' experiences that have more meaning for them, regardless of how the whole economy evolves. For example, in this age of mass-produced commodity culture, fine art museum attendance is rapidly growing. Conversely, capitalism seems to be more effective than government in solving most problems that humans have. The book seems to suggest that we need an expanded role for government, just at the time that government is starting to shrivel away because of its ineffectiveness. This is clearly a Luddite argument by the author against the experience economy. Frankly, (and as the author points out) less and less work will be required to provide basic goods and services in the future. People will be healthier and will live longer. If we do not find more interesting things for people to do, life will be poorer. Authentic struggles will be harder to find, so simulated ones will be more valuable. In the same way that a fine novel can stimulate better character, why can't new forms of experience do the same thing? When you are done reading this book, ask yourself what experiences with biological and cultural diversity you would like to have. Then consider how you can most enjoyably experience those. If you act on those impulses and thoughts, you will have solved Mr. Rifkin's problem for him. And he will have done you a service by raising the question. That is a good example of an experience economy working well. Live long, prosper, and enjoy your experiences while being enriched by them!
12 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Two parts of unequal business interest13 août 2000
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This book is in fact two books in one. The first part develops the interesting perspective that we are moving from an economy of buyers and sellers of things to an economy of suppliers (grantors of access) and users . That affects everything as tangible things turn into intangible services. That part has some useful business implications but the author only develops the theme and falls short of providing any useful recommendation. Part II goes into a second transformation: from industrial capitalism to a cultural capitalism in which everything that the human race has created in the cultural realm is becoming a paid for experience. This part is treated more from a sociological perspective and not at all from a business perspective. It is actually a disguised criticism of this evolution that borrows some of its arguments from leftist French philosophers. We are left with the feeling that this evolution is bad and orchestrated by the big companies. The good side of this evolution is not developed at all, and personally I see many. The role that the internet with the fantastic power that it gives to individuals is not even mentioned as a possible counterweight to this evolution if don't like it. After all aren't we the poeple who makes that whole system work. The author does not even suggest any remedies to the issues that are raised. The author also hammers his point over and over again like if he wanted to make sure that the two themes "transformation from industrial capitalism to cultural capitalism" and from "propoerty rights to access rights" will stick to his name. This is becomning really annoying as the pages unfold. In summary, the two themes in this book are interesting and they make you think. That's its value. but the eway the themes are treated makes this book of little practical value both as a business book or as a solution to the issues that the authors bring up.
13 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Eye opening but not helpful for managers4 juillet 2000
- Publié sur Amazon.com
In the Age of Access, Jeremy Rifkin claims that the fundamental way that organizations and individuals conduct business is changing dramatically. The change is a shift from ownership of assets to the payment for the right to access the assets of others. Rifkin calls this state of existence the "hypercapitalistic economy." In this type of economy everything is service-based where "just-in-time" access is standard and achieved through expansive commercial networks residing in cyberspace. All managers could learn about the upcoming Age of Access from Rifkin's book. It is imperative for managers to understand the impact that the Age of Access will have on their businesses and their lives. Unfortunately, Rifkin does not indicate how to use this information to achieve success and take advantage of the dramatic changes that are occurring in our world. For this reason, I do not recommend The Age of Access to managers looking for answers to their questions but I do recommend The Age of Access for those who are ignorant of the "new culture of hypercapitalism" and need the to understand where the world is going so they can create their own game plan.