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by Peter F. Drucker

Pub Date: April 14th, 1993
ISBN: 0750620250

Perceptive takes on the "postcapitalist" era, which, according to Drucker (Managing for the Future, 1992, etc.), got under way shortly after WW II. Every few centuries, the author notes, the West undergoes a convulsive transformation that, within 50 or so years, ushers in a whole new world. Identifying the Renaissance and Industrial Revolution as prior turning points, he asserts that the Global Village is in the midst of another watershed makeover that has already caused substantive changes in its economic, moral, political, and social landscapes. Drucker argues, for instance, that the same forces that put paid to Marxism as an ideology and Communism as a social system are making capitalism obsolete as well. In other words, knowledge (not labor, land, or other forms of capital) has become the planet's primary resource. The emergence of so-called "knowledge workers" able to put their specialized learning and/or competencies to use, he says, suggests that employees now own "the means of production." Although the author concludes that markets will remain the effective integrators of economic activity, he believes that the implications of the ongoing shift will prove increasingly significant for the management of commercial enterprises and other key institutions. The same holds true for what Drucker designates "the post-capitalist polity," in which transnational, regional, nation-state, even tribal structures compete and coexist. As concerned with prescription as description, the author doesn't shy away from calls to action that could make the unstable new world he envisions more productive and peaceable. He advocates, for example, the encouraging of environments that permit corporations to focus on their core responsibilities via partnerships or alliances, and the nurturing of autonomous nonprofit organizations that will restore the bonds of community as well as deliver grass-roots services. A thinking person's guide to the challenging world ahead.