Jeremy Rifkin, the president of the Foundation on Economic Trends and the author of seventeen bestselling books has released a new book and brave vision for the post-carbon future. The book is entitled the Third Industrial Revolution and it predicts that the democratization of information, energy, manufacturing, marketing, and logistics is ushering in a new Third Industrial Revolution economic paradigm.
What exactly is the Third Industrial Revolution, and how is it different than the first two?
As you probably learned in high school history class, the first industrial revolution began with the introduction of simple machinery to replace repetitious work done by hand.
The second industrial revolution began in the early 20th century with Henry Ford’s invention of the moving assembly line. That launched the era of mass production.
Mass production is what has made it possible for millions of people to own powerful personal technology, create and distribute information, and prepare the way for the next industrial phase.
The third industrial revolution is in many ways opposite of the first two. It’s powered by digital, run by individuals and not corporations, more customized than ever, and it will be energy sustainable.
Rifkin’s democratized industrial predictions aren’t new, it was predicted by Wired magazine (among others) years ago, but his ideas on how renewable energy are fresh and bold. Rifkin envisions people will generate their own renewable energy at their homes and in their offices, and share this green electricity with others in an “Energy Internet” not unlike how computer users share information online now.
The transition into the third industrial revolution will also create millions of new jobs and along with it millions of new goods and services.
Could this dream become a reality? Rifkin says there are five pillars of the Third Industrial Revolution that must be laid down simultaneously for the foundation to hold.
The task may be daunting, but if an energy sustainable economy with more people working at meaningful jobs is within our grasp, I say “Viva la Revolution!”
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