The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era

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America is experiencing its sharpest rise in productivity in fifty years, the stock market is on its way to recovery, and the economy is growing -- but jobs still keep disappearing at an alarming rate, leaving everyone perplexed. The global economy, says Jeremy Rifkin, is undergoing a fundamental transformation in the nature of work that will reshape civilization in the twenty-first century. In this compelling and disturbing, yet ultimately hopeful book, Rifkin argues that we are entering a new phase in history ...
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Overview

America is experiencing its sharpest rise in productivity in fifty years, the stock market is on its way to recovery, and the economy is growing -- but jobs still keep disappearing at an alarming rate, leaving everyone perplexed. The global economy, says Jeremy Rifkin, is undergoing a fundamental transformation in the nature of work that will reshape civilization in the twenty-first century. In this compelling and disturbing, yet ultimately hopeful book, Rifkin argues that we are entering a new phase in history -- one characterized by the steady and inevitable decline of jobs. Sophisticated computers, robotics, telecommunications, and other Information Age technologies are fast replacing human beings in virtually every sector and industry. Near-workerless factories and virtual companies loom on the horizon.

While the emerging "knowledge sector" and new markets abroad will create some new jobs, they will be too few to absorb the vast numbers of workers displaced by the new technologies. Every nation will have to grapple with the question of what to do with the millions of people whose labor is needed increasingly less, or not at all, in an ever more automated global economy. Rethinking the very nature of work is likely to be the single most pressing concern facing society in the decades to come. Rifkin warns that the end of work could mean the demise of civilization as we have come to know it, or signal the beginning of a great social transformation and a rebirth of the human spirit.

Global unemployment is now at the highest level since the Depression. In this provocative book, Rifkin illustrates that the soaring productivity advances made possible by new technologies are bringing the world economy close to cataclysm. He argues, however, that there is still time to avoid economic collapse, and offers challenging solutions for the public and private sectors.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this challenging report, social activist Rifkin (Biosphere Politics) contends that worldwide unemployment will increase as new computer-based and communications technologies eliminate tens of millions of jobs in the manufacturing, agricultural and service sectors. He traces the devastating impact of automation on blue-collar, retail and wholesale employees, with a chapter devoted to African Americans. While a small elite of corporate managers and knowledge workers reap the benefits of the high-tech global economy, the middle class continues to shrink and the workplace becomes ever more stressful, according to Rifkin. As the market economy and public sector decline, he forsees the growth of a ``third sector''-voluntary and community-based service organizations-that will create new jobs with government support to rebuild decaying neighborhoods and provide social services. To finance this enterprise, he advocates scaling down the military budget, enacting a value-added tax on nonessential goods and services and redirecting federal and state funds to provide a ``social wage'' in lieu of welfare payments to third-sector workers. 50,000 first printing; author tour. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Global unemployment is now at its highest levels since the Great Depression. Rifkin (Biosphere Politics, LJ 5/15/91) argues that the Information Age is the third great Industrial Revolution. A consequence of these technological advances is the rapid decline in employment and purchasing power that could lead to a worldwide economic collapse. Rifkin foresees two possible outcomes: a near workerless world in which people are free, for the first time in history, to pursue a utopian life of leisure; or a world in which unemployment leads to an even further polarization of the economic classes and a decline in living conditions for millions of people. Rifkin presents a highly detailed analysis of the technological developments that have led to the current situation, as well as intriguing, yet alarming, theories of what is to come. Highly recommended for both general and business collections.-Gary W. White, Pennsylvania State Univ., Harrisburg
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874778243
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/2/1996
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.03 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeremy Rifkin is the bestselling author of The Biotech Century, The Age of Access, and The Hydrogen Economy. A fellow at the Wharton School's Executive Education Program, he is the president of The Foundation on Economic Trends in Washington, D.C.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
2004 introduction
Foreword
Introduction
Pt. I The two faces of technology
1 The end of work 3
2 Trickle-down technology and market realities 15
3 Visions of techno-paradise 42
Pt. II The third industrial revolution
4 Crossing into the high-tech frontier 59
5 Technology and the African-American experience 69
6 The great automation debate 81
7 Post-Fordism 90
Pt. III The decline of the global labor fore
8 No more farmers 109
9 Hanging up the blue collar 128
10 The last service worker 141
Pt. IV The price of progress
11 High-tech winners and losers 165
12 Requiem for the working class 181
13 The fate of nations 198
14 A more dangerous world 208
Pt. V The dawn of the post-market era
15 Re-engineering the work week 221
16 A new social contract 236
17 Empowering the third sector 249
18 Globalizing the social economy 275
Postscript 294
Notes 296
Bibliography 333
Index 339
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2003

    Something to consider..

    ..although the book proved to be a bit of a downer, it raised many issues that face humanity today. there are problems and proposed solutions that are both logical and practical for the 'anticipated' future. many people are unaware of the turn we are taking, it could be for the better, but it doesnt appear to be.. depressing or not, a great book nonetheless.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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