New technological innovations are having a huge impact on the capitalist system, a subject explored in a new book, The Zero Marginal Cost Society.
The Zero Marginal Cost Society: the internet of things, the collaborative commons and the eclipse of capitalism
By Jeremy Rifkin
“The capitalist era is passing… [It] has peaked and begun its slow decline… At the heart of capitalism there lies a contradiction in the driving mechanism that has propelled it ever upwards to commanding heights, but now is speeding it to its death…. Intense competition forces the introduction of ever-leaner technology, boosting productivity to the optimum point in which each additional unit introduced for sale approaches ‘near zero’ marginal cost. In other words the cost of actually producing each additional unit – if fixed costs are not counted – becomes essentially zero, making the product nearly free. If that were to happen, profit, the lifeblood of capitalism, would dry up”. (Chapter 1, The Zero Marginal Cost Society)