Skip to comments.The Rise of Anti-Capitalism ____ The internet of things
Posted on 03/22/2014 2:46:32 PM PDT by dennisw
WE are beginning to witness a paradox at the heart of capitalism, one that has propelled it to greatness but is now threatening its future: The inherent dynamism of competitive markets is bringing costs so far down that many goods and services are becoming nearly free, abundant, and no longer subject to market forces. While economists have always welcomed a reduction in marginal cost, they never anticipated the possibility of a technological revolution that might bring those costs to near zero.
The first inkling of the paradox came in 1999 when Napster, the music service, developed a network enabling millions of people to share music without paying the producers and artists, wreaking havoc on the music industry. Similar phenomena went on to severely disrupt the newspaper and book publishing industries. Consumers began sharing their own information and entertainment, via videos, audio and text, nearly free, bypassing the traditional markets altogether.
The huge reduction in marginal cost shook those industries and is now beginning to reshape energy, manufacturing and education. Although the fixed costs of solar and wind technology are somewhat pricey, the cost of capturing each unit of energy beyond that is low. This phenomenon has even penetrated the manufacturing sector. More than six million students are enrolled in free massive open online courses, the content of which is distributed at near zero marginal cost.
Industry watchers acknowledge the creeping reality of a zero-marginal-cost economy, but argue that free products and services will entice a sufficient number of consumers to purchase higher-end goods and specialized services, ensuring large enough profit margins to allow the capitalist market to continue to grow. But the number of people willing to pay for additional premium goods and services is limited.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Incidentally, Napster is vicious parasitism off musician's creative work. There used to be fines against some of the napster users. I'm not sure what the system is now, but the napster system as it started should have been dealt with by the courts via fines against some of its users.
It’s coming. Technological Socialism will change the world. Not necessarily for the better, but it will happen.
Older people work hard for big houses, big cars, jet skis, etc. The younger generations are happy with a small apartment, a smartphone, gaming console, and laptop. That’s why the free market message not only doesn’t appeal to them; it actually turns them off.
Yup. Look at open source software. People will work on it for free or for a fraction of the salary from a real company. I don’t understand it, but there it is.
Being rich is the new racism.
omg the abundance of cheap/free goods, which free people up to do other things, the horror. We must put a stop to this!!
The inherent dynamism of competitive markets is bringing costs so far down that many goods and services are becoming nearly free, abundant, and no longer subject to market forces.When I can get my new Mercedes for free and drive to my free beach house with free fuel. Then I will be convinced.
Do you think these hot new Stanford/MIT grads are socialists, wanting to donate their work for free.
These kids want to make billions. And that takes capitalism.
If anything, socialism will be run over by young billion $ seeking capitalists.
There is a revolution on the horizon, but it isn't socialism.
Rifkin doesn’t see the future as usual.
Mass customization will be the outcome. Instead of cheap mass produced identical goods, the near zero cost of basic production married to high bandwidth interactive communication will lead to value added services thru the process of customization.
And it will be capitalist. That’s how new services will be built on low to zero cost infrastructure, like Linux platforms, like self replicating 3 D printer bots.
Everything up to now has followed this pattern. Rifkin is a Bolshevik nostalgic still confused by capitalist development, which he misunderstands since it appears formless to him.
The old joke about Communism still applies.
Technocrat: "Mr. Smith, you have been approved for a brand new automobile."
Mr. Smith: "Great, when can I expect delivery?"
Technocrat: "In about 15 years...would you prefer morning or afternoon delivery?"
Mr. Smith: "Better make it in the afternoon...the plumber is coming in the morning."
I remember that old joke!
...except at the NYT where they still charge for online subscriptions....
Great for the 1% that want to make billions.
What are the other 99% gonna do?
In the future it will be harder to get decent pay for a decent day's labor.
Wait until we make everything at home with 3D printing ... :-) ...
“The younger generations are happy with a small apartment, a smartphone, gaming console, and laptop. “
Since they’ve been largely “educated” that children are to be avoided, what need do they have for more?
The other side of that coin is that children by necessity induce responsibility and maturity.
Where is our culture going? It’s not looking pretty...
A lot of fun can be poked at open source, but much of it is better than the commercial stuff.
This is hilarious. Rifkin mistakes cheap things for free, and the destructive creation of capitalism for the destruction of capitalism
When you start with false assumptions, it is hard to come up with correct conclusions.
Rifkin has never had a clue. He is desperate to come up with a reason for the long overdue failure of capitalism.
There is no such thing as "Technological Socialism".
Calm down and get a grip.
More software, education and designs are free. Entertainment can and should be cheap for the wise and frugal. Less expensive, older manufacturing methods can be used to produce any one of many items for a profit (see prices and costs). Many regulations will fall for lack of business revenues and subsequent lack of government revenues (for lack of manufacturing that generated more real revenues).
Some government-connected special interests dislike these natural, free market changes and are looking for ways to enforce more consumerism and legislate more fee hikes and regulations against healthy, productive activities (small building, manufacturing, etc.) while projecting their socialist tendencies on their enemy (American consumers unable to spare more money for non-essential purchases).
Too bad. We’re steeped in government and consumer debt, unwilling to legalize real production enough everywhere to allow new, small operations for new ingenuity (building, manufacturing, etc.). That’s the way of current paradigm, and it’s not being directed from the bottom. It’s being directed from the middle and the top (the more influential constituents and constituent groups) with concerns for extinct property values and concerns against new competition.
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