In 1993, management guru Peter Drucker published a short book entitled Post-Capitalist Society. In Drucker’s view, knowledge, not industry or finance, is now the dominant basis of wealth creation, and this transformation requires new social structures. The old industrial-era worldview of “labor versus capital” no longer describes the key social relations or realities of the knowledge economy.
The dominant social structures that we take for granted – labor and capital, and the nation-state – are not immutable; rather, they are the modern-day equivalent of the late-1200s feudal society that seemed permanent to those who had known nothing else but that was already being dismantled and replaced by the Renaissance-era development of modern capitalism.
From this perspective, the nation-state is no longer indispensable to the knowledge economy, and as a result, Drucker foresaw the emergence of new social structures would arise and co-exist with the nation-state.
Drucker summed up the difference between what many term a post-industrial economy and what he calls a knowledge economy this way: “That knowledge has become the resource rather than a resource is what makes our society ‘post-capitalist.’ This fact changes – fundamentally – the structure of society. The means of production is and will be knowledge.”