Who is Jeremy Rifkin and why should we take notice?

Jeremy Rifkin (Deutsche Telekom)

According to Wikipedia:

Jeremy Rifkin (born January 26, 1945) is an American economic and social theorist, writer, public speaker, political advisor, and activist. Rifkin is the author of 21 books about the impact of scientific and technological changes on the economy, the workforce, society, and the environment. His most recent books include, The Green New Deal (2019), The Zero Marginal Cost Society (2014), The Third Industrial Revolution (2011), The Empathic Civilization (2010), and The European Dream (2004).

Rifkin is the principal architect of the “Third Industrial Revolution” long-term economic sustainability plan[clarification needed] to address the triple challenge of the global economic crisis, energy security, and climate change.[2] The Third Industrial Revolution (TIR) was formally endorsed by the European Parliament in 2007.[3]

The Huffington Post reported from Beijing in October 2015 that “Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has not only read Jeremy Rifkin’s book, The Third Industrial Revolution, but taken it to heart”, he and his colleagues having incorporated ideas from this book into the core of the country’s thirteenth Five-Year Plan.[4] According to EurActiv, “Jeremy Rifkin is an American economist and author whose best-selling Third Industrial Revolution arguably provided the blueprint for Germany’s transition to a low-carbon economy, and China’s strategic acceptance of climate policy.”[5]

Rifkin has taught at the Wharton School executive education program at the University of Pennsylvania since 1995, where he instructs CEOs and senior management on making a transition of their business operations into sustainable economies. Rifkin is ranked number 123 in the WorldPost / The Huffington Post 2015 global survey of “The World’s Most Influential Voices”. He also is listed among the top ten most influential economic thinkers in the survey.[6] Rifkin has lectured before many Fortune 500 companies, and hundreds of governments, civil society organizations, and universities over the past thirty five years.[7]

Rifkin is also the president of the TIR Consulting Group, LLC,[8] in connection with a wide range of industries including renewable energy, power transmission, architecture, construction, information technology (IT), electronics, transport, and logistics. TIR’s global economic development team is working with cities, regions, and national governments to develop the Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure for a collaborative commons and a third industrial revolution. Currently, TIR is working with the regions of Hauts-de-France in France,[9] the Metropolitan Region of Rotterdam and The Hague,[10] and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg[11] in the conceptualization, build-out, and scale-up of a smart third industrial revolution infrastructure to transform their economies.

I mention Rifkin should you be interested in the future shape of this planet and why things are changing the way they are. See him talking about his book, The Third Industrial Revolution, that has been so influential with the leaders of countries as diverse as Germany and the Republic of China.

The overall message I got from watching this video has been the need to critically and radically question the assumptions we make about living on this planet; perhaps that we are nowhere near bold enough to assume differently and imagine a different, more sustainable and equitable world.

2 thoughts on “Who is Jeremy Rifkin and why should we take notice?

  1. Back in the 1980’s,you couldn’t pick up a newspaper or magazine without reading about Rifkin attacking Biotechnology.
    He filed a ton of lawsuits against it.His main complaint was that scientists were rushing to use this technology without
    having a formal discussion,debate and a full scale evaluation on it’s safety and impact on society and the enviroment.He
    raised concerns and issues and warned about unforeseen consequences.But now,with his Third Industrial Revolution,
    Rifkin’s doing the exact opposite.He’s getting people all excited and anxious to make the switch to renewable energy.The
    problem is that Rifkin’s not raising concerns and issues with renewable energy like he did with Biotechnology.He’s not
    Questioning the cost,safety and reliability of hydrogen and battery storage and the toxic chemicals and materials used to
    make solar panels.Not to mention the reliability of solar panels and wind generators and their impact on society and the
    enviroment.Rifkin also neglects to mention all the excess mining that will have to be done and all the pollution that will be
    created in order to obtain the minerals for these renewable energy products.He also fails to mention how we’re going to
    dispose of the toxic chemicals used to make the solar panels.

    1. Sorry for late reply. All good points, John. It seems to me that Rifkin is making some good points, too.
      We’re now four years on from that video. I think the science is in about climate change. And the proof of it in our world is becoming more and more evident.
      His initial point about the need for change in the way we organise and govern ourselves is self-evident. How to change is going to be the most critical debate, one that needs goodwill on all sides.

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