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The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-market Era [Paperback]

Jeremy Rifkin
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

29 Oct 2004
Global unemployment has now reached its highest level since the great depression of the 1930s. Technologies which have brought miraculous improvements in efficiency and productivity have also slashed the numbers employed in manufacturing and agriculture, while the service sector is quite unable to take up the slack. While a tiny elite of "knowledge workers" -scientists, entrepreneurs an consultants - will still be in demand, most jobs are disappearing fast, resulting in the creation of a morose "underclass", caught between apathy and criminal violence. Such, argues the author in this powerful polemic, is our true situation today. We can either bury our heads the sand or urgently rewrite the social contract by expanding the independent (non-profit) third sector, cutting the working week and sharing out the fruits of progress. The choice will determine the future of us all.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Jeremy P Tarcher; 2nd Revised edition edition (29 Oct 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585423130
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585423132
  • Product Dimensions: 2.6 x 14.8 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 335,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
FROM THE BEGINNING, civilization has been structured, in large part, around the concept of work. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Judge This Book by it's Cover 3 Oct 1998
By A Customer
Jeremy Rifkin has distilled much of what is brewing below the surface in our economy and weaved it into a compelling thesis that deserves serious attention from academia and the public at large. A gifted social scientist and economist, Rifkin transcends the "Megatrends" genre, and provides us with a compelling analysis and dissection of a post-market economy that sits clearly on the horizon. Many who have read and critiqued this book have siezed upon it's liberal view for the future, however, no one has disputed the issues he has raised which clearly depict an economy where labor is in declining demand, and sophisticated computer automation will replace large sectors of our current economy. Perhaps the one flaw in Rifkin's book is that he presents a vision for the future that is polemical in its political orientation. I was deeply disturbed by Mr. Rifkin's findings, because I fear that I could easily become among the ranks of the technologically displaced. But I read this book twice, because I realized that if I am to keep ahead of the game, I need to know which way the wind is blowing, and ensure that I don't fall victim to what millions of workers are destined for in the years to come. With out a doubt, the most prescient and trenchant non-fiction book I've read in ten years.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
"We are entering a new age of global markets and automated production. The road to a near-workerless economy is within sight. Whether that road leads to a safe haven or a terrible abyss will depend on how well civilization prepares for the post-market era that will follow on the heels of the Third Industrial Revolution. The end of work could spell a death sentence for civilization as we have come to know it. The end of work could also signal the beginning of a great social transformation, a rebirth of the human spirit. The future lies in our hands."
Thus ends the book, leaving no neat little answers - negative OR positive, but urging us to open our eyes and look around us. I'd seen him on C-span and promptly ordered his book through Amazon. This was when it first came out in hardcover and my oldest son (now a resident of London, having moved from Ohio, USA), assured of a future work using skills from his newly obtained Masters in Computer Science, was concerned I was reading such a book.
"Isn't he one of those Luddites?" I think of myself as a wanna be Luddite, but I saw no signs of this in the book. Instead, Rifkin seems to be concerned with the coming affects of the Informational Revolution.
The book begins with a history of the Industrial Revolution. He gives us a nice tour of the birth of materialism as a concept created and promoted by economists and businessmen. "The term 'consumption," he tells us, "has both English and French roots. In its original form, to consume meant to destroy, to pillage, to subdue, to exhaust. It is a word steeped in violence and until the present century had only negative connotations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
If you are on the dole, this book is for you. You will discover you are part of an epochal turning point,and you'll feel more or less like a T-Rex seconds before the meteor collided with Earth causing his extinction. If you are not on the dole, the future will look slightly less bright.If you are more or less illiterate in economics, you will enjoy the historical part that's entertaining like no other book about this kind of subject can be. The solutions proposed at the end of the book can be appealing and are worth all our simpathy. Probably, if you are jobless or somewhat at risk, they are also a bit discouraging. But, as the book teaches us, the whole world is at risk. Happy new century to us all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "All are punished." 8 Jun 1997
By A Customer
In this riviting, well documented dissertation, Rifkin underscores the imbalances of society created by the assult of the super-technocrats against humanity's workers. He weaves his magic through the annals of history even to the present, combining opinions and scenarios that support his view. His arguments are compelling and terrifying.
Most interesting are Rifkin's solutions to the problems of this technological invasion. One solution is that everyone work less hours for more pay. This would free everyone to pursue more noble causes without pay. (Yea, Right!)

As societies becomes more hedonistic, it is also unreasonable to believe, as Rifkin asserts, that volunteerism will increase to become the great social contract that will give meaning to the dislocted and disfranchised and ultimately save us all. The real solution? Buy a small acerage somewhere and learn to grow vegetables!

For a good contrasting view, read Bill Gate's book, THE ROAD AHEAD.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Sorry Jeremy if you read this. Rifkin's thesis is supported by tons of figures but lacks to answer many questions, besides the fact that he just focuses on jobs in the US and the transnational companies.
Questions i felt un-answered, what about Korea, Chile or other rising countries, what about the influence of the black economy, drugs, weapons, etc, what about the answers? He gives no hope.
Besides the thesis was long ago predicted and does not reveal anything new. I had expected to see a more global view of the problem and also traits of possible solutions.
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