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Jeremy Rifkin Blog

Creating a Brighter Future with the Third Industrial Revolution

Gross domestic product is something that has been on the decrease on a global scale for some time. In fact, productivity has been declining for the last 20 years all over the world, which has led to an increase in unemployment. This is most evident among the Millennial generation who may struggle to find where they fit in with the world of today.

Economists are projecting that there will be another 20 years of low productivity and slow growth, which in turn contributes towards a more profound crisis. Following two industrial revolutions, we are now in real-time climate change. There have been huge amounts of co2 and methane released into the atmosphere which has led to a failed ecosystem.

Scientists report that we are now within the sixth eviction event of life on this plant, which means up to half the species of life on Earth could be eradicated within the next eight decades. The last time this happened was 65 million years ago.

This is about more than realising a change is needed, it’s about waking up the nation and creating a new economic vision that going to allow life to continue in the future as well as presenting more options for greener living.

A decision needs to be made that can be instilled into many countries, inducing those that are industrialised and developing. To be clear, civilisation must stop using carbon in less than 40 years if we have any chance of surviving the abyss.

There have been several economic paradigm shifts in history that all share a common denominator that sees three different technologies emerge and converge to create what’s called in engineering a general-purpose technology platform. What this means is that there is a change in the way that power and economy are managed. In turn, this changes the way that civilisation manages its resources.

The First Industrial Revolution of Britain discovered cheap coal and created the steam engine as a way of moving this coal. The same pattern was discovered again in the 20th century which sat communication, energy and transport centralised, and offered new iterations of communication including television and radio. These technologies converged with a new energy source, Texas oil. Following, this everyone took to the road in various forms of transport.

The Second Industrial Revolution peaked in July 2008 when Brent crude oil was retailing at $147.00 a barrel which was the same time when the entire global economy shut down and the crash of the financial market 60 days later can be considered the aftershock because of civilizations reliance on carbon fertilizers.

Regardless of whether its fuel, fibre power or construction there is too much reliance on fossil fuel which has the potential to cause bigger aftershocks as we move forward. This highlights the need for change, especially as we are now in the sunset of the Second Industrial Revolution

Currently, there are stranded assets in the fossil fuels worth trillions of dollars which further highlights the bubble civilisation is in. We are now on the cusp of a Third Industrial Revolution which his seeing the Information Internet converge with a nascent revolutionary digitalised renewable energy. The two converged will lead to the Third Industrial Revolution that makes the sharing of energy as easy as the sharing of information online.

In total, the Third Industrial Revolution will see three separate Internets working together in the guise of communication, power and logistics. The difference between the Third Industrial Revolution and what has gone before is that rather than relying on a dated method of managing resources which people have no access to, civilisation will be able to create their own power at work and at home, and stored this for future use. Should there be times when the energy isn’t needed it can be resold above market price to other parts of the world?

This allows for a greener and more viable future as the distribution of this information cannot be monopolised. Although the concept of a fully-connected world can seem far-fetched to some, we only need to look at the rise of technology so far to recognise that we’re more connected than we’ve ever been, and being able to move in the same direction ensure that we can preserve species, offer more opportunities and offer a smarter way of managing resources in the future.