Post-Capitalist Society

Author: Peter Drucker
Published: 1993
Website: Amazon Page

Post-Capitalist Society is a strange sort of book, reminiscent of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and those sorts of productivity-increasing, framework-changing books that are published every so often in an attempt to be visionary. Despite my initial skepticism at this type of piece, I found it contained some really interesting ideas about a capitalism of knowledge and the rise of regionalism and transnationalism into the future. However, it was clearly at its best when discussing the history of political and economic systems, and how changes in the past were caused by changes in the economic and political environments. The other parts of the book (a suspicious amount of overly vitriolic criticism of Marxism, which the author gives more credit for being a world force [an Age of Socialism], seemingly profound descriptions of the core of organizational structures, etc.) were much weaker.

The book is very much like a transcript of a talk Drucker might give in the sense that it is impassioned, full of seemingly common-sensical assertions and troublingly lacking in evidence. Despite all of the history and political science Drucker claims to be giving the reader, the only footnotes available are book recommendations (not page numbers of data citations), many his own. His predictions about a knowledge-based economy, a social sector in addition to the private and public ones, the failures of some aspects of post WWII nation-state policies and how they might be improved upon are all of vital importance if true. Unfortunately, the book relies on framework formation, narrative construction and trajectory guessing rather than rigorous analysis of evidence.

Clearly, the world is changing. Information is becoming more and more important, capitalism is shifting to accommodate new types of goods and terrorism and the environment are global threats. For a store of ideas for the future put forth by a clearly intelligent person, Post-Capitalist Society is a good read. For a more definite set of plans about what the world might look like and why, it might be best to look elsewhere.

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