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The Zero Marginal Cost Society Audiobook

The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism

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Publisher's Summary

In The Zero Marginal Cost Society, New York Times bestselling author Jeremy Rifkin argues that the capitalist era is passing—not quickly, but inevitably. The emerging Internet of Things is giving rise to a new economic system that will transform our way of life.

In this provocative new book, Rifkin argues that the coming together of the Communication Internet with the fledgling Energy Internet and Logistics Internet in a seamless twenty-first-century intelligent infrastructure—the Internet of Things—is boosting productivity to the point where the marginal cost of producing many goods and services is nearly zero, making them essentially free. The result is that corporate profits are beginning to dry up, property rights are weakening, and the conventional mind-set of scarcity is slowly giving way to the possibility of abundance. The zero marginal cost phenomenon is spawning a hybrid economy—part capitalist market and part “collaborative commons”—with far-reaching implications for society.

Rifkin describes how hundreds of millions of people are already transferring parts of their economic lives from capitalist markets to what he calls the global Collaborative Commons. “Prosumers” are making and sharing their own information, entertainment, green energy, and 3-D printed products at near zero marginal cost. They are also sharing cars, homes, clothes, and other items via social media sites, redistribution clubs, and cooperatives at low or near zero marginal cost. Students are even enrolling in free MOOCs, massive open online courses that operate at near zero marginal cost. And young social entrepreneurs are establishing ecologically sensitive businesses using crowd funding as well as creating alternative currencies in the new sharing economy. In this new world, social capital is as important as financial capital, access trumps ownership, cooperation supersedes competition, and “exchange value” in the capitalist marketplace is increasingly replaced by “sharable value” on the Collaborative Commons.

Rifkin concludes that while capitalism will be with us for the foreseeable future, albeit in an increasingly diminished role, it will not be the dominant economic paradigm by the second half of the twenty-first century. We are, Rifkin says, entering a world beyond markets, where we are learning how to live together in an increasingly interdependent global Collaborative Commons.

©2014 Jeremy Rifkin (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

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  •  
    02-25-15
    02-25-15

    ge-ko

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    "pleasant and inspiring.."

    .. but is it realistic? I kept wondering. It somehow appears too neat to be true and leaves aside so ongoing threat that the technological shift is just taken over and used by financial interests.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J.Nichols 08-27-16
    J.Nichols 08-27-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Love the book but weak narration"

    The book was an eye opener; a thoroughly researched summary of the state of the world and where things are going. But the narration was average at best.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MLW 07-02-16
    MLW 07-02-16 Member Since 2015
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    "provocative ideas about the TIR"

    TIR (third industrial revolution) is how Rifkin refers to the emerging collaborative economy. In this economy, thanks to 3D printing, solar and wind power, and the internet , he anticipates and unbundling of capitalist structures towards more collaborative regimes .

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 12-05-15 Listener Since 2008
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    "Breathtakingly far-reaching and illuminating!"

    Rifkin weaves together myriad strands of history into an integral vision and pathway toward a wonderful future!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 05-02-14
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 05-02-14 Member Since 2010
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    "reasonable survey of an important trend"

    I enjoyed listening to this book. Rifkin lays out a key trend that is evolving. He does however, push this "zero marginal" cost a little too much. By this I mean he infrequently reminds the reader of the high fixed costs required to operate at close to zero marginal cost.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hunter heber, UT, United States 05-16-17
    Hunter heber, UT, United States 05-16-17 Member Since 2009
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    "Very interesting viewpoint"

    I was a bit skeptical about this book based on some of the criticisms about the authors political leanings. I was pleased to find that these were exaggerated. On the contrary, what I heard was the author putting forth a prediction about where our economy is headed, and backing it up with plenty of examples from daily life.

    Regardless of whether you agree with him or not, there are many indisputably valid points. This book is well worth the read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracy Honolulu, HI, United States 04-22-17
    Tracy Honolulu, HI, United States 04-22-17 Member Since 2014
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    "The most important book I've read..."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is the most important book I’ve read predicting the future of our economy, new tech and energy businesses, and social enterprises that will drive the 3rd economic revolution. Sure there are holes as some readers mentioned – you can’t cover every eventuality in a single book – but at it’s core this is the future. One reviewer called it sci-fi, but we see it happening everywhere we look and are already participating ourselves in many of these new sharing economy technologies and approaches to recycle, reuse, and share.

    In the US our capitalist way of life is very ingrained, but in other parts of the world, the zero marginal cost economy, technologies, and ways of living may very well leapfrog many of the economic standards we take for granted today. I saw this happen with technology leapfrogging in China. I lived there during college when relatively few people were connected even by phones. Because of the timing of new technology and China’s ability and willingness to embrace it, much of the country went straight to wireless and as an added benefit China isn’t crisscrossed by thousands of miles of eyesore above ground phone lines. Countries that need to take advantage of the sharing economy Rifkin describes will very likely do so a lot faster than those of us who cling to our ingrained capitalist methods and they will benefit greatly from doing so. In time, we too will follow.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Amazon Customer 02-07-17
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    "interesting perspective"

    the material is mind expanding while there is much with which the reader can find fault.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael 12-30-16
    Michael 12-30-16
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    "Good insights but goes off into rabbit holes"

    Interesting insights into the changes that are taking place because of communicatons and manufacturing breakthroughs. He forgets that social forces will delay and or derail many of the new initiatives, but I cannot be sure which. Of concern is his nearly total disregard for the problems of massive failure of the system due to errors and/or attack. He does give about a paragraph's lip service to this issue in the last chapter. A kind of, "by the way if this happens 80% of the population could die." Systems need to be more robust if we are to live in the future world. Unfortunately, they are not now and w are all at risk.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Ignacio.osio 12-12-16 Member Since 2016
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    "eye opening"

    you can see this evolution happening. energy is the first shift. transportation , mobility and sharing. the new populism signals a crisis in capitalism

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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