This article is part of the THNK EVERGREENS series. In the series, we bridge seminal works on innovation management and works by influential thinkers, by extracting key implications and offering new insights to innovation practitioners. This article builds on the book Post-Capitalist Society by Peter R. Drucker, linking his work on the future role of the social sector with recent work on the potential of global governance through collaborative commons.
In the 1990s Peter R. Drucker began to focus his attention on public sector management. Looking at the emerging knowledge society, he examined the incredible social transformations in the twentieth century, where we witnessed industrial nation-states turn into liberal democracies and welfare states. Society is now transitioning into a global knowledge society, posing new challenges. According to Drucker, “the old communities – family, village, parish, and so on – have all but disappeared in the knowledge society. Their place has largely been taken by the new unit of social integration: the organization.”
At the same time, Drucker was disappointed in the way that state and corporate enterprise failed or refused to deal with solving social tasks. The welfare state had failed to address social problems because it turned modern government into a huge bureaucracy. The large business enterprise once served as a workplace community of lifetime employment, while company housing and health care plans often proved to be incapable of tackling larger societal problems. By opting to focus on profits, these institutions outsourced social problems to non-profit organizations, all of whom are dependent on subsidies, grants and charity for survival.