The Third Industrial Revolution

Jeremy Rifkin, portrait, sharing economy, Foundation on Economic Trends

What happens when cleantech meets peer-to-peer and the sharing economy? Imagine if we’d all have solar panels on the roofs of our homes, companies had green buildings, perhaps their own wind parks, and the electric grid were smart enough to handle traffic in both directions: from the utility to you, but also back into the system, so that it all becomes a big give and take. Suddenly the energy market really does feel like a market, rather than a static oligopoly, and it has all the vibrance of the Internet economy.

That’s exactly why author, economist and one-man think tank Jeremy Rifkin sees the chance for a Third Industrial Revolution – one that could literally bring power to the people, having no less of an impact than steam power and the rise of mass production.

“In the past, everything in the economic system, whether capitalist or socialist, had to scale from top down,” Rifkin told my colleague Thomas Clark and me when we interviewed him for Earlybird Magazine. “In contrast, the economy of the future will scale laterally. That changes everything.” Thanks to networking effects, Rifkin argues, “small and medium-sized companies can compete with multination – it’s an entirely different model. It’s really a revolution.”

The Q&A is available as a free download via this Slideshare link.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

Further Reading

Easy Listening, Made by Bose

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, audio giant Bose just paid its much smaller rival Sonos a huge compliment: with its new SoundTouch…
early Google article, 1999

Google’s First Steps

My article for “Start” magazine, a sister publication of “Stern,” back in the spring of 1999. Photo credit: William Mercer McLeod When I rang the…

My website uses cookies for anonymous visitor statistics. For details please take a look at my Privacy Policy. By continuing you agree to this usage.