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The Big Answer


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Post-Capitalist Society

a book by Peter F. Drucker

(our site's book review)

Post-Capitalist Society is a book that understands well what has been going on in society and what is going on now. Even better he understands what we do not need more of. But see for yourself:

“Still, redemption, self-renewal, spiritual growth, goodness, and virtue—the 'New Man,' to use the traditional term—are likely to be seen again as existential rather than social goals or political prescriptions. The end of the belief in salvation by society surely marks an inward turning. It makes possible renewed emphasis on the individual, the person. It may even lead—at least we can so hope—to a return to individual responsibility.

True spirituality can never be the product of conformity and respect for/fear of authority—if it isn’t a product of finding oneself, it isn’t real—the end of the belief in salvation by society surely marks an inward turning
True spirituality can never be the product of conformity and respect for/fear of authority—if it isn’t a product of finding oneself, it isn’t real—the end of the belief in salvation by society surely marks an inward turning

One will look long and hard—and perhaps forever—to see a more profound statement of what is good and wise about the conservative ethic; it is perhaps the best ever written. And also the most true: We concur with Drucker’s heartfelt call for individual responsibility to replace the endless social engineering experiments of the politicians of nation-states. Don E. Eberly has echoed these sentiments in his writings as well—see Building a Community of Citizens: Civil Society in the 21st Century. See the Communitarian Network's The Responsive Communitarian Platform. And, above all, see our novel The Forest Through The Trees. What could be sillier than hoping politicians and social programs will engineer good, virtuous lives for us and lead us toward community revival? And yet what could be more natural than individual responsibility and self-actualization leading us to empower families to form effective local communities full of conscious, moral, responsible, aware, wise citizens that once again empower true democracy (courtesy of the MC movement)?

In Drucker-think, it is time for nations—but more especially individuals being responsible—to respond appropriately to the transition from capitalist to post-capitalist civilization, i.e., the Third Wave. It is up to us to make sure that the change is about what a society can do with individually applied knowledge of the knowledge age, rather than misused power of the nation-state and others. In our own lives, says the author, “This is a time for action.” He says many Toffleresque things that amount to demassification, decentralization, and the rise of the knowledge-based civilization with knowledge-based economies. (And what are MCs if not the result of individually applied knowledge of the knowledge age that empowers vibrantly effective lifestyles? They epitomize the action Drucker calls for. Now—like he says—IS the time for action. And he doesn't mean go vote for some ass-clown politician who'll pretend to represent you as he sells out to the Corporatocracy. He means local action in our own lives, as he puts it.)

He points out that rather than hierarchical organizations based on power or command and control, post-capitalist organizations must be based on responsibility from within, since the knowledge society demands responsibility-based organizations. Knowledge-base responsibility will furnish the needed power, and coercion and wealth will no longer be the key power sources. The distortion of political power, in which “elected representatives fleece their constituents to enrich special-interest groups and thereby to buy their votes,” has denied the very concept of citizenship, and Americans are beginning to see this. And the way they respond is to vote more with their pocketbooks and less with their social consciences. This zero-sum game is not what democracy is about, nor is it what the Founders had in mind.

Drucker exposes political corruption: 'elected representatives fleece their constituents to enrich special-interest groups and thereby to buy their votes'
Drucker exposes political corruption: 'elected representatives fleece their constituents to enrich special-interest groups and thereby to buy their votes'

Admitting that Head Start works, he also points out the unproductive and sometimes counterproductive nature of government bureaucracies, noting that Head Start works because it contracts out its tasks, rather than having bureaucrats do them. Contracting out is also his prescription for big businesses to go post-capitalistic (Third Wave) and become more productive and efficient, as well as smaller and more publicly acceptable.

Drucker cites the Cold War State as a reason the U.S. is falling behind economically, as a whole. Not just the scanty GNP, but the diversion of our scarcest resources—trained engineers and scientists—to economically unproductive defense work.

The nation-state has begun to come apart: borders have little meaning, transnational organizations abound, sovereignty has lost meaning, and regionalism and tribalism are on the rise. And we need better international agencies if we’re going to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction, but Drucker supposes that it will take a major catastrophe before national governments are willing to accept subordination to such organizations and their decisions (especially in light of the anti-Western bias we’ve encountered in the current U.N. structure).

Drucker supposes that it will take a major catastrophe before nations are willing to accept subordination to nuke-restraining organizations
Drucker supposes that it will take a major catastrophe before nations are willing to accept subordination to nuke-restraining organizations

Interestingly, he says the more transnational the world becomes, the more tribal it will also become. Tribalism is part of the search for roots and connectedness.

We need citizenship, in which individuals not only feel they can make a difference, but they actually can. “Without citizenship, there cannot be that responsible commitment which creates the citizen and which in the last analysis holds together the body politic.” Citizenship is way more than voting for some prevaricating ass clown and even more than doing volunteer work or engaging in local politics. By far the most effective way to empower effective citizenship is with microcommunities, as described and illustrated all over our website.

Drucker champions the new, ecological-holistic paradigm over the old, mechanistic-reductionistic paradigm. He says that to raise the yield of existing knowledge we must learn to connect this knowledge with other knowledge and apply systems analysis/research. He also says something that cannot be overstressed: If knowledge is be productive rather than just mere information, it has to be applied. The Third Wave (see The Third Wave) must do this if the knowledge age is going to go from a situation of high potential to a situation of high improvement. (This is the essence of MC methodology. See Why Register for an MC?.)

Registering for MC search and match
Registering for MC search and match

“To make knowledge productive, we will have to learn to see both forest and tree. We will have to learn to connect.” This is the other part of the “connection” concept: Once we connect knowledge with other knowledge and learn to holistically and ecologically perform the needed synthesis, we need to connect it with the appropriate action. Making knowledge productive will be the key to economics. And this also means that schools will have to become both responsible and accountable. And it’s about time!