Review: Ride the Wave, Don't Own It
Corporations are shedding property holdings, factories, warehouses full of stored products/raw materials, and employees in favor of leases, service contracts, just-in-time production, outsourcing, and temporary workers.
Millions of Americans have already given up ownership of their cars, to lease autos with service contracts and two-year upgrade options. We're now renting or leasing everything from furniture, to software, to dishware and furnaces.
With obsolescence now measured in months not decades, why buy stuff that will be "old" as soon as it's delivered. Rifkin argues that the desire to "own things" is disappearing from our lives.
In this new world shaping up, relationships as we have known them, with their reciprocal obligations and mutual expectations are being replaced by written contracts, paid memberships, subscriptions, admissions charges, retainers, and fees. As Rifkin sees it, every activity outside the family will soon become a paid-for experience.
Global travel and tourism, theme cities and theme parks, destination entertainment centers, health and wellness, fashion and cuisine, sports and games, gambling, music, film, television, the virtual worlds of cyberspace, learning, education, political activism, and even social causes are rapidly becoming the core of a new economic culture.
"If the industrial era nourished our physical being, the Age of Access feeds our mental, emotional, and spiritual being. While controlling the exchange of goods characterized the age just passing, controlling the exchange of concepts characterizes the new age coming. In the twenty-first century, institutions increasingly trade in ideas, and people in turn, increasingly buy access to those ideas and the physical embodiments in which they are contained. The ability to control and sell thoughts is the ultimate expression of the new commercial prowess."
Rifkin warns us that when the culture itself becomes the core of the economy, only commercial bonds will be left to hold society together. And society in pursuit of culture and meaning will be at the mercy of the megacorps that determine the content of paid-for experience.
"In truth, the Age of Access is likely to be far more exploitative. Controlling ideas, in today's world, is more powerful than controlling space and physical capital."
Why is The Age of Access a Sohodojo RIB?
If you've been following social/market trends with Faith Popcorn's Clicking, the Age of Access makes it clearer then ever that you need to do a Sohodojo Click-spread Analysis of your portfolio businesses.
If you've not gotten hot about the merge of AOL and Time-Warner, you need to read this book and see where the real scare is. As nanocorps and small-is-good business web entrepreneurs, we need to hunker down now and work on the other side of capitalism.
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Pages Updated On: 1-Oct-2004 - 11:23:00
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