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Post-Capitalist Society Paperback – April 13, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Drucker's vision of a "post-capitalist society"--one in which knowledge is the basic resource and nation-states compete with transnational, regional and tribal structures--is hardly original. What is new in this invigorating essay is his far-reaching analysis of the economic crisis of militarized, wasteful "megastates" like the United States and the former Soviet Union, which have failed to bring about a meaningful redistribution of income. Improving American productivity, he writes, will require investment in human resources and infrastructure (as Japan, Germany, Korea and Taiwan have done) and a drastic restructuring of organizations, including the elimination of most management layers. The federal goverment, Drucker asserts, should contract out tasks in the social sphere, confining itself to the role of policymaker. Among his other provocative proposals: jettison military aid to other countries; create a public audit agency to eliminate pork-barrel deals and special-interest politics; and hold schools accountable for students' performance. He also urges the creation of transnational institutions to cope with the environment, terrorism and arms control.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Drucker, the leading guru of management ( Managing the Nonprofit Organization , HarperCollins, 1990), argues that we are in the middle of a great social transformation, akin to the Renaissance, which is symbolized by the computer. The primary resource is no longer capital, land, or labor but knowledge (hence "post-capitalist"). Knowledge has become the means of production and creates value by "productivity" and "innovation" through its application to work. The new class of post-capitalist society is made up of knowledge workers and service workers. (In a similar vein, Robert B. Reich's The Work of Nations , LJ 3/15/91, terms knowledge workers "symbolic analysts" and service workers "routine producers" and "in-person servers.") The economic and management challenge is to make both knowledge and service workers more productive. The social challenge is to preserve the income and dignity of service workers (who lack the ability to become knowledge workers but constitute the majority of the work force) and prevent class conflict between the two. This is a provocative book that synthesizes much of Drucker's oeuvre. It will be in demand in both academic and public libraries.
- Jeffrey R. Herold, Bucyrus P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness; Reprint edition (April 13, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0887306616
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887306617
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #876,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter F. Drucker (1909-2005) was considered the top management thinker of his time. He authored over 25 books, with his first, The End of Economic Man published in 1939. His ideas have had an enormous impact on shaping the modern corporation. One of his most famous disciples alive today is Jack Welch. He was a teacher, philosopher, reporter and consultant.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Golden Lion VINE VOICE on October 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
In Peter Druckers book, "Post Capitalistic Society", he identifies two types of workers: the service oriented worker and the knowledge worker. The knowledge worker produces magnitudes of scale more value to any organization. A knowledge worker represents the "Brains" of an organization. They know how to setup company infrastructure, keep it going, and improve upon its structure.
Capital is not as important as knowledge. Capital by itself does not create wealth, innovation, or increases to productivity. Knowledge produces ideas, innovations, efficiency, and productivity.
A knowledge worker can create a idea without capital, knowledge is brain power. Once the idea is realized, funders provide capital floods transforming the idea into process or product. Knowlege provides an incredible economic company potential. Remove the knowledge worker and growth stops, systems and processes stagnate. Reduce the number of service workers and operations become more efficient. Historically, as service workers number decrease their tasks and output have increased proportionate to their numbers. Basically, the service worker were expected to "Do More with less".
Knowledge represents the whole expertise in domains of finance, information, policy, management, etc.. The knowledge worker generates the "Ideas". Ideas are transformed into processes and systems. Its principles of creativity and credibility which provides trust in the idea. Drucker concludes that knowledge itself is profitable. In the post capitalistic society knowledge produces wealth. Knowledge increase productivity. The sum of knowledge in a domain increases productivity and growth exponentially. Its this radically breakaway phenomenia which knowledge produces providing wealth and growth to an organization.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Clifford S. Stanford on June 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
Perhaps reading this book from the vantage point of 2006 is a mistake, but I thought I'd enjoy Drucker's big picture thinking about the topic of the knowledge economy. Drucker's discussion of the rise of the knowledge worker in today's society was only a quarter of this book. This book is really a series of essays that lacked coherence as a whole. I would recommend "The Essential Drucker" instead, to the reader looking for a good compilation of Drucker's insights.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Barker on July 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
Drucker is masterful in his integration of business, history and social sciences. This book covers technology, the rise of management and social trends. A great read - my only hesitation is where is the bibliography?
The thesis of the book is that Marx was wrong. The major owner of capital and thus companies are now pension and mutual funds. Thus workers - primarily knowledge workers now are the main owners of companies. There are a couple of flaws in his argument though.
The biggest winners in the current US stock market system aren't the pension funds - its managers and people who start companies or take them public. There is the rise of hidden perks to senior managment - stock options that are essentially free for the managers.
Drucker argues that this is all small peanuts compared with Morgan or Rockefeller.
Other points he makes:
1) Agriculture declined to 2-3% of the workforce. Manufacturing will see a similar declining to 10-15% of the workforce
2) Knowlege workers are more like members of an orchestra. The conductor could never replace the viola players.
3) He forecasts the decline in the Nation state. Governments are driven by pork barrel politics.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Emmet Murphy on January 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
drucker understands the politico-economic realities that drive us all nuts, but he measures it up with magnanimity. the knowledge society--for a knowledge worker his description can actually be somewhat humbling. no more comparing yourself to the laborers as if you've risen above. you depend on others for your living and various forces work against you. i love the way drucker shrugs off government stupidity. he sees through all the hype and hubris, but neither complains nor lectures. ok, sometimes he's a bit dry or bombastic. the originator of the business book style, so cut him some slack.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
The change to the Information Age is creating a new and powerful social class of knowledge workers, whose ability to apply knowledge to work will be the driving force in increasing productivity and innovation in the future.

Like the transformation from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, the transformation from a Capitalist Society to the Information Age is profoundly altering Worldview and values, political, and social structures, as well as key institutions and economic realities. This transformation will probably not be complete until 2010 or 2020, says Peter F. Drucker, a professor of Social Sciences at Claremont Graduate School. While we do not know yet what a post-capitalist society will look like, Drucker has tried in this book to chart out some of the ways that organizations and economics are changing now.

In the capitalist society, there are two social classes that dominate society, those who own and control the means of production, and the "workers" who make and move things. However, not very many people make and move things anymore, and their number gets fewer every year. This does not mean that the total production in developed countries has declined. In fact, total production of products and services has risen dramatically, but the number of people required to create these products has declined steadily. The capitalist factors of production, (capital, resources, and labor) are being superceded by the most basic economic resource; knowledge.

Value is now created by improving productivity and by innovation, tasks that require the application of knowledge to work. The leading social class of the future, says Drucker, will be knowledge workers who can put knowledge to practical use and work in organization with others on common goals.
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