I read the book a few years ago the first time for my diploma thesis. Now I saw the new third edition (2007) of The Age of Access from Jeremy Rifkin.
A great book I can highly recommend to read.
For my thesis the book helps me to describe changes in the consumer behavior cause of a changing economy system. I don`t know if every thought in Jeremy Rifkin’s book is completely right, but I agree and believe that we are going to an age of access. Property especially in the media, information based industry will loose it’s relevance, networks will become very important.
Here some ot Rifkins thoughts:
“The Age of Access, then, is governed by a whole new set of business assumptions that are very different from those used to manage a market era. In the new world, markets give way to networks, sellers and buyers are replaced by suppliers and users, and virtually everything is accessed. The shift from a propertied regime based on the idea of broadly distributed ownership to an access regime based on securing short-term limited use of assets controlled by networks of suppliers changes fundamentally our notions of how economic power is to be exercised in the years ahead.”
“In markets, sellers and buyers come together to “exchange” goods and services. In networks, by contrast, there are no sellers and buyers, but only suppliers and users and servers and clients. Property—both physical and intellectual—still exists but is closely held by the producers and “accessed” by clients on a “just-in-time” basis.
There are a number of reasons for this basic restructuring of commercial life. First, the near warp speed of economic activity makes discrete market-based transactions far too slow in the coming century. In the new era, because every product is “information intensive” and being continuously upgraded, virtually everything is treated more as a service one accesses than a good one acquires. The notion of exchanging and holding on to fixed property becomes an anachronism in a society where everything is continually evolving. Second, e-commerce reduces market-based transaction costs toward zero, narrowing the traditional profit margins on sales related activity. Third, information and telecommunications technologies allow for a continuous flow of economic activity, transforming commerce from a linear sequence to a cyclical process. In short, in markets economic activity is discrete and bounded in nature while in networks economic activity is uninterrupted and perpetual. In the future, individual market transactions give way to 24/7 commodified relationships in networks in the form of memberships, subscriptions, leases, rentals, and retainer agreements.”