Customer Review

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic dream of the future, without enough to back it up., 22 July 2014
This review is from: The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism (Hardcover)
The core idea in this book is that each economic age is defined by its communication, energy production and manufacturing systems. From horse and cart, through canals and trains to trucks. From man power through watermills, windmills, coal and oil. Rifkin then paints a fairly convincing picture of the next age defining technologies. Peer to peer communication on the internet, smart grid controlled locally produced renewable energy, 3d printers, laser cutters etc.

The problem is that is pretty much the whole substance of the book, making a prediction that existing growing technologies will see increasing uptake in the future isn't particularly exciting. The entire book is a brimming with fantastical claims about the future that have no research to back them up and mundane facts carefully referenced. There is also far too much self promotion, name dropping and references to Rifkin's consultancy work for my liking.

The book would be 5 star if he had done any actual research to backup his claims, for example what combination of cost/resolution/durability is needed for 3d printing manufacture to equal a cheap run of 5000 units knocked together in some outsourced factory? How much do people value the increased customization of this sort style of manufacturing vs traditional factory runs?

Without answering any interesting new questions this book was to me largely fluff, although it merits a 2nd star for at least being fluff on an interesting topic.
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