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Book reviews for "Rifkin,_Jeremy" sorted by average review score:

Biosphere Politics: A Cultural Odyssey from the Middle Ages to the New Age
Published in Paperback by HarperCollins (paper) (1992)
Author: Jeremy Rifkin
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Absolutely brilliant!
This book is an important study in history and culture that no one should miss. Rifkin looks at the fundamental roots of our modern dilema. He explores the old world, explains the Cartesian vision, and then brings us to the present to show us the trail of where we have been and where we are headed. In so doing, Rifkin delivers a deconstructive analysis of accepted ideas and a damning examination of the enclosure and commodification of all things, from the land around us to the feelings inside of us, showing how this pervasive and unnatural wordlview has been instrumental in the destruction of our environment and the growing economic problems that plague us. He concludes with a hopeful vision of the new emerging consciousness.

If you want to understand why things are the way they are, this is the book. It will give you a deep, vertical perspective on our horizontal view of the world and how we fit into it. It provides a knowledge base to build a foundation for real change. Best of all, it is written for the layman and is easily understandable. You will not find any obscure scientific jargon nor abstract, confusing "new age" pseudoscience. There is something important for everybody in this book. I am of the opinion that no college student should be allowed to graduate until he/she has read this book.

This was a fascinating read that I couldn't put down and I wore out a new yellow highlighter in the process.

Engrossing, informative, influential, and powerful!!
BIOSPHERE POLITICS by Jeremy Rifkin reads like a mystery thriller. It is one of those rare and powerful books that will have a dramatic impact on your life, and, in turn, on the life of your children and grandchildren. Do yourself a favor! Don't miss this one! What DIET FOR A NEW AMERICA by John Robbins is doing for America, BIOSPHERE POLITICS does for the global community. A gem.

Algeny: A New Word--A New World
Published in Paperback by Viking Press (1984)
Author: Jeremy Rifkin
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Mr. Rifkin blusters but shoots wide of the mark
Genetic engineering seems likely to change the relationship between man and biological nature.

To Mr. Rifkin's credit, he wrote _Algeny_ on this subject some 15 years ago. Unfortunately, he shows little familiarity with the topics he discusses -- the book is deeply marred by Rifkin's apparent fundamental misunderstandings of evolutionary science and Darwinism.

Rifkin also wastes much space on invidious comparisons between himself and "other futurists".

Mistaken in its premises, bombastically written, filled with bad logic that fails to support its sweeping conclusions: avoid this book.

Who Should Play God?
Published in Paperback by Dell Pub Co (1981)
Authors: Jeremy Rifkin and Ted Howard
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Wake Up Before Its 2 Late
Very thought provoking book.

The Human Body Shop: The Engineering and Marketing of Life
Published in Hardcover by HarperCollins (1993)
Authors: Andrew Kimbrell and Jeremy Rifkin
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Can Life have Respect and also Biotech?
Thousands of men and women were originally conceived in petri dishes in laboratories from sperm sold by anonymous men for an average payment of 50 dollars. What is the long-term psychological effect on such persons who must live with the knowledge that their conception occurred outside a womb and their fathers were involved in it only for money? This is one of the many questions that Andrew Kimbrell raises in The Human Body Shop, in which he covers the full range of issues relating to the treatment of the human body and its components as marketable commodities, from the controversy in the 1950's and 60's over the sale of human blood to the looming possibilities of human genetic engineering. These are global issues; for example, while the sale of body parts for transplants is illegal in the U.S., the sale of kidneys is a thriving business in India and other developing countries, where the poor are selling their body parts to the rich. Another controversial practice is surrogate motherhood; thousands of babies have been born of mothers who were contracted for the nine-month gestation service, usually for a fee of 10,000 dollars.

Since a 1980 Supreme Court decision that a living organism (an oil-eating microbe) could be patented, the patenting of life has become an accepted practice. As of 1997 over forty animals had been patented, including mice, turkeys, and rabbits. Human cells and hundreds of human genes have also been patented. Kimbrell poses the question of whether genetic engineering will eventually lead to the patenting of a human being?

While treating the reader to a highly interesting recounting of the histories of controversial biotech practices, Kimbrell makes a cogent argument that the marketing of life is dehumanizing; he calls for increased government control in the biotech field, especially as we enter the era of human genetic engineering. There is unquestionably a need for more public debate on biotech issues, but Kimbrell could have helped even more to further such debate by devoting a bit more of his book to the views of biotech proponents, even though he passionately disagrees with such views. Kimbrell's failure to favor the reader with a broader range of views dropped the rating for The Human Body Shop from five stars to four.

A Broad Manifesto
In the vein of his mentor Jeremy Rifkin, Andy Kimbrell has written a broadside condemning all aspects of the bio-industries extant at the 1993 publication date of this book. Well written, and thoroughly researched this is a highly readable in-depth review of the major bioethical issues facing us today. I recommend this book highly and not just because I am in the index. The chapter in which I am mentioned deals with the Harvard or oncomouse and patents on living beings. Andy's account is accurate, well researched, and his opinions are thoughtful and well grounded. If you are not repelled by the politics of Jeremy Rifkin, but have an open mind on the questions of the ethics of biotechnology, this book is well worth your attention.

Kimbrell is the Carl Sagan of our "inner" universe.
Highly recommended! Kimbrell's book is both thought provoking and informative and is very hard to put down. He addresses the things that the newspapers do not tell us about surrogate motherhood, organ marketing and genetic engineering. He tells about the odd court cases and rulings dealing with issues society has never had to deal with before. He also gives examples of how genetics is being used to affect our lives without our consent. The book does an excellent job of raising the reader's awareness of how our species future is presently at a crossroads and why we should be concerned. Interesting topic, clearly presented and well referenced for those wanting more.

Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture
Published in Paperback by Plume (1993)
Author: Jeremy Rifkin
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Excellent Buildup Of the History of Beef Culture
The first portion of Beyond Beef is a great description of the history of beef consumption and beef culture. Some of the more interesting parts to me were the sections dealing with the Brahmans in India as well as the near extinction of the American buffalo as a result of clearing the plains for bovine grazing.

After building the historical place of beef and cattle, Rifkin moves the story to present day and how beef is produced, butchered, packaged and shipped. Some of this section was particularly difficult to read during lunch, the descriptions of the slaughtering process are graphic and very detailed. Rifkin also explains the decreasing involvement of the USDA in the inspection of beef and the potential implications of this fact.

Other parts of the book which were informative to me were the chapters dealing with the destruction of the Brazilian rainforests. I, like most young Americans, have heard for years about the clear cutting and burning of the South American rainforests but never knew the details of this activity or exactly why the forests were being leveled. Rifkin explains this practice clearly and I am much more informed because of it.

Overall, Beyond Beef is an excellent read and if nothing else, will give you a great deal to ponder. It is clearly written with a slant against beef production and consumption and can come off a bit preachy at times. That being said, after you read this book, you will definitely want to pass it along to your friends and family, if for no other reason than to let them be informed when they bite into that burger.

Oh Holy Cow!
There are more than 1.28 million cattle all over the planet, taking 24% of the land mass, consuming enough grain to feed 100s of millions of people & their combined weight exceeds that of humans.

This excellent volume was evidently composed to inform, enlighten, and alert us of the danger the cattle industry presents to humans and the environment. The ideas exposed here on this book help open our eyes to better understand what is really going on around this complex subject: the cattle and beef industry, and its destructive, impact on our Earth and its human inhabitants.

Beyond Beef is a well researched, and excellently written treatise written especially for those who are interested in protecting the environment, that have deep respect and appreciation for our fauna and flora, and a natural inclination toward vegetarianism.

This extraordinary publication of Jeremy Rifkin is worth its price

Beef facts you should know
It was in reading Beyond Beef : The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture by Jeremy Rifkin years ago that I had a better idea of what I was seeing around San Joaquin County in Northern California as I drove around the dairies that stood close to the San Joaquin River and reeked of ammonia and manure dust in the air on windy days that left ones car and lungs dusted with a fine film. The cattle and their massive manure piles , are less than 30 yards from the San Joaquin River. Now consider some basic facts. Cattle produce a large amount of urine as it is. Now take one cow and multiply it by 100, 200 even 500. Now visualize all that urine going into the ground, where when it rains it soaks deeper and in dispensed into the small leech veins in the ground that in turn hook up with larger areas that feed into ground water and the river. Then look at the massive manure piles that dots the area and hang a clean white piece of clothe on your car antenna as well as a tree branch or whatever in the back yard. Then after you have driven around check the antenna clothe. After its been breezy check the clothe in the back yard. Then if you have the micro filters on you home air conditioner recheck them as well. What you will discover is pollution that has literally changed the white clothe-filter to either a light brown or a dark brown. Now consider what this manure dust does to your lungs.

If you are reading this review then you have access to a computer. Take the time to do some honest unbiased research online and see how much water and grain it takes to produce one pound of meat. Then see how much better it would be if the land was used to produce better food for humans. Find out what pollution factory farms that raise cattle, chickens, pork, lamb etc produce as well as how inhumane the animals are treated. Also find out what drugs they use on the animals, that are then killed for food on your table. Be honest and ask yourself the hard questions. And if you must for whatever reason eat beef, chickens etc please buy organically grown ones that are not fed drugs and even byproducts of other animals. I am a realist and realize that we live in a meat eating society. So all I can do is ask that you know what you are buying and how it was raised and what the product has done to the earths ecosystem.

Time Wars: The Primary Conflict in Human History
Published in Paperback by Touchstone Books (1989)
Author: Jeremy Rifkin
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Time on Your Hands
I'm not quite sure what I think of Jeremy Rifkin's Time Wars except that I know it makes me think. I just don't know if he's right, but it doesn't really matter.

What Rifkin tells us is that there is a war developing or even already going on, between the advocates of speed and efficiency--almost speed for the sake of speed--and those who prefer, as he puts it, a "more empathetic union with the rhythm of nature." In that latter category he puts many members of the environmental , holistic health, biological agriculture, animal-rights, economic democracy and other movements, who may just think that they're a little bit lefty, not engaged in a struggle for our souls.

Rifkin outlines a history of time, as it were, or more specifically, a history of how people have viewed time. He analyzes different cultures' views of time, which are considerably different, the sense that humans can have power over time, which has not been the belief of all cultures in the past, and the rise to domination of Western views of time (along with pretty much everything else, at least right now).

If you are white and ever been immersed in black or other minority culture, you may hear references to "CP time" or "Indian time". This has often said as a joke but refers to the very different sense of the importance of time and punctuality. It's a smart observation, really, that points out that not everyone is driven by the need to meet a deadline, arrive precisely when expected, operate in a way that those of us in the West feel is the right way. And it's at the heart of what Rifkin is saying about our attempts to capture and define time.

Though the book is written in a very clear style, this is not a book to be read while watching TV or while otherwise distracted. There are Big Thoughts here about who we are as a society and how humans will view their responsibilities, the concept of progress, the Information Age and more, now and in the future.

The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era
Published in Paperback by J. P. Tarcher (1996)
Authors: Jeremy Rifkin and Robert L. Heilbroner
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Does technology create worker freedom or destitution?
Rifkin provided a good historical examination of how technological innovations of automation, corporate reengineering, lean production, and computers have replaced the need for workers at an alarming rate culminating in what he termed "The Third Industrial Revolution". Every sector and industry has experienced significant trends in unemployment and underemployment. Although virtually every worker has been affected, African-Americans were particularly devastated as they got caught between the machanization of southern agriculture and automation in northern cities resulting in the creation of the underclass. In all, technology has undermined the worker and reconceptualized our notion of the workplace.

Solutions to global worker displacement include shorter work week to share the remaining work to all workers. Rifkin also argues for investment in the third sector of volunteerism and social services to combat the rise in crime and violence that is inevitable in a society of large scale employment.

Although his historical examination is admirable, his future prophecy of a massive unemployment did not convince me that we are headed to a society run by machines. Alternatively I believe there will always be demand for human labor as machines present their own limitations. Several years ago many proclaimed that's will put bricks and mortar stores out of business. Despite these claims bricks and mortar stores did not disappear partly because many customers enjoyed the personalibility of social interaction with salespeople and other customers. Doing Christmas shopping over the internet is not a comparable replacement to going to a shopping mall for everyone. In addition, Rifkin never addressed the all important realm of unpaid work that will never diminish as long as there are humans on earth.

Overall, this book is a good read although I had trouble with his future predictions.

A worthwhile read...
Rifkin's work, with a foreword from perhaps one of the most socialist mainstream economists of our day, Robert Heilbroner, of the New School for Social Research, addresses squarely the problems caused by technology replacing labor in today's rapidly changing globalized economy. Since only educated Americans read these days, fully 75%-85% of the U.S. population will never be exposed to the author's insights. Therefore, the solutions presented by Rifkin will fall on deaf ears; and perhaps, they should. Technology as the driving force for social change, as in every other epoch of modern human history, is carving out a niche for the technologically informed individuals. For the sociologists out there, is a new "class" (heaven forbid) being constituted? I think so. What will be the political, economic, and sociological result? Most likely not much different than the impacts of the past epochs: capital/wealth concentration to those individual and institutions who own and control the "means of production" (my apologies to those made nauseous by Marxist arguments) or, in this case, those who control the creation and production of information- or knowledge-based technologies (read Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, Time Warner, Disney, GE, Westinghouse). Capitalism has survived in various forms (despite Mr. Marx's assertions) for thousands of years whether in the form of feudalism, mercantilsm, imperialism, corporatism, or today's state-sponsored global corporatism. Therefore, a suggestion to all of those of the laboring classes: Why not give in? Accept benevolent corporate benefactors in the best case, or non-wage-based, total private corporate slavery in exchange for room and board, minimal disease care, and survival. Why struggle and compete against your neighbors, friends, and family members, when wage slaves can never "win" the battle against technological advancements and corporate-statist, social organization? Technologically-disenfranchised wage slaves of the world unite! Instead of the public welfare state of the last half of the twentieth century, financed primarily by regressive payroll taxes levied against the working class, accept defeat; demand benevolent, corporate socialist slavery!

A Great Compilation Of Labor History inAmerica
I must admit that when I read this book, I was a bit dissappointed at the lack of new information. As a student of labor history, I had read previously many of the ideas and concepts that Rifkin expands upon in several other books. I only wished I had picked up this one book, prior to reading all the others. It would have saved me much time and money.

In short, Rifkin decribes the transition of the worker from pre-industrial revolution, through the era of machines and mass-production, and the advent of the information age in which he predicts there will be fewer and fewer workers. His analysis describes how this effects the worker, organizational make-up, employment relationships, and even how government has been forced to change to accomodate the modern economy.

I believe that anyone interested in the dynamics of technology and globalism on the workforce will find Rifkin's work very interesting, well-written, and easy to read.

The Age of Access: The New Culture of Hypercapitalism, Where All of Life Is a Paid-For Experience
Published in Hardcover by J. P. Tarcher (27 March, 2000)
Author: Jeremy Rifkin
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How are we going to cope with the Internet era and the new cultural capitalism? At the beginning of the third millennium, the impact of new technologies is radically changing the structure of society and our very way of life. This highly debatable new book by Rifkin delineates the scenarios of the near future, where ideas and knowledge are the main generators of wealth, where for the first time in modern history owning chattels is considered a limitation to the capacity of adapting to change and any goods, services or actual knowledge must be purchased or hired. Here Rifkin explains why property will be replaced by "access on payment", why we will pay more and own less, why the gap between those connected to the "network" and those who aren't will always be wider, and why the economic giants possessing the keys to the "access" (it's just like the Force!) are destined to control the life of everyone. This work surely will become one of the most polemical issues of this year, with all its exploration of hyper-capitalism, the bottom question being: will it be possible to have a positive approach and achieve a positive dissemination of knowledge, comfort, and democracy via the "access to life"? And will there be any Jedis?

A great book, but read it carefully!
Make no mistake, I think that the Age of Access is an outstanding analysis of modern economy.

If you are a young professional and trying to develop a plan for professional development, or if you are a seasoned professional trying to come to terms with the mindset of the young, you should definitely read this book.

The biggest intellectual challenge that exists today for professionals is to understand the "new economy." I am always afraid that tidal waves of disruptive changes are right around the corner (or are already here) that could literally destroy my company or my career. Rifkin elaborates on several modern economic paradigms, and his analysis will help you anticipate and prepare for these fantastic changes.

I agree with some of the gloomy predictions like the destruction of our "Cultural Landscape." In a very vivid example, Rifkin mentions that there is a Dunkin' Donuts just a few yards away from the Trevi fountain in Rome. Even as a self described libertarian, I believe this kind of pollution of the "Cultural Landscape" should be stopped.

Rifkin's elaboration on the economic value of social trust is right on. Nevertheless his implication that trust is withering away in the US is not convincing.

My criticism is that although Rifkin has clearly diagnosed many of societies ills, he falls short of offering an action-based specific resolution. He seems to imply that "a handful of giant transnational life-science companies" represent the evil empire of today, nevertheless he does not say how to undo their influence.

Reading between the lines, it seems that Rifkin is implying that government ought to take control of certain things that are now considered private property. As an example, government would force Dunkin Donuts to move their restaurant to a less sacred location. History shows us that expanding the power of government can have disastrous results. I would have respected the author much more if he would provide a naked description of his action plan.

Good and Valuable Book
I liked the book very interesting description of the times we are living in. Helps understand the economic tendencies that are actually occurring around us. I enjoy reading it!

The Biotech Century: Harnessing the Gene and Remaking the World
Published in Paperback by J. P. Tarcher (1999)
Author: Jeremy Rifkin
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Critical for informed dialogue --but only one side of it
Rifkin raises issues that should become part of everyone's consciousness in the future, as genetic engineering gains acceptance and power. Unfortunately, the title of the book led me to believe that it would be a balanced work, with arguments for and against the advancement of Biotechnology. In reality, most of the discussion is spent cautioning against Biotechnology and condemning some of the most recent discoveries in genetic engineering. This book's title promises the full picture of Biotechnology, but delivers a one-sided argument. Read something else after you are done with it, put out the fire with ice.

Excellent book, readable and timely
Dr. Rifkin and I were simultaneously interviewed on WICR FM in Indianapolis on November 19, 1998. (My book, Mobius, discusses the evolution of life and of humanity, and the host of the show thought there was much common ground with The Biotech Century.) Thus, I have had the benefit of reading The Biotech Century, as well as the opportunity of speaking with the author at length about it.

I do not agree with all of Dr. Rifkin's points. If I happened to have an untreatable genetic disease, I personally would not wish to see laws enacted which would restrict my access to a cure that involved permanently changing my genetic structure. If my children could be born without the disease, so much the better, in my humble view. But I still give Rifkin five stars for The Biotech Century.

Rifkin has been labeled as an alarmist, and I disagree. The corporate spin doctors have conditioned all of us to believe that there is little or no risk to splitting the gene and tampering with the code of life. Rifkin lets us know of some of the hazards, and he does so with brilliance. Richard R. Hofstetter, lawyer, author of Mobius (1998).

A thought-provoking look at our future.
Jeremy Rifkin has written a well-informed and provocative book. As a practising molecular biologist I consider that frequently his criticisms if not his predictions err on the side of caution. Perhaps he felt the need to restrain himself in the light of previous criticism of his hyperbole. Nevertheless, he was proven right in the past and I am sure for the most part he will be again. In his struggle for balance he frequently lets the biotech industry and its regulators off the hook, especially in the field of agricultural biotechnology, a subject that scares me to death. The writing style is a little irritating but the book is a must-read. Everyone should know what is in store for their children.

Published in Hardcover by Viking Press (1983)
Author: Jeremy Rifkin
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Concise anti-genetic engineering argument
In arguing against social darwinism and gentic human tampering, he does a great job of decontructing darwinism itself. Some simple, but classic arguments against darwinian evolution (he examines the Miller experiment involving creation of amino acids in "primordial soup"), and some very good arguments against generic engineering.

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