97 of 107 people found the following review helpful
A Thought-Provoking Look at the Future,
This review is from: The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World (Hardcover)
"The Third Industrial Revolution" offers a fascinating look at Jeremy Rifkin's views on the future of energy and the economy. Rifkin believes we are on the verge of a new industrial revolution that will transform the economy and society in a similar way to the major changes that occurred in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Rifkin's "third" industrial revolution is based on "five pillars:" (1) A general shift to renewable energy. (2) Micro-generation of clean energy in homes, offices and other buildings. (3) Hydrogen and other forms of energy storage in homes and throughout the economy (4) an "Internet-like" smart energy grid that would allow individuals to generate power and then distribute it, and (5) Conversion of transportation away from fossil fuels to electric plug-in or hydrogen fuel cells.
While the book contains a lot of insightful analysis, I think it gives short shrift to the problem of jobs. Technology and globalization are increasingly destroying well-paid opportunities for workers in developed countries. The book does discuss this, but only in the very last few pages. This is surprising because, of course, Rifkin wrote a book about this issue in the 1990s ("The End of Work"). Now, however, he seems to buy into the more conventional view that green jobs will solve the problem of unemployment.
I'm doubtful of that. Technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics are accelerating and will soon have a dramatic impact. Advancing technology will also make offshoring of high wage jobs a bigger and bigger problem in the West.
"The Third Industrial Revolution" offers many good ideas, but I think it ultimately falls short of answering the question on many peoples' minds: How will average people in developed countries like the United States make an adequate living (and keep pace with the cost of living) while competing with both technology and globalization? That is a critical question because if households are focused on individual survival, it will be very difficult to amass political support for the energy and climate change policies Rifkin advocates. For a strong analysis of the jobs/income issue and some solutions, also read "The Lights in the Tunnel."
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Initial post: Sep 29, 2011 12:39:23 PM PDT
I haven't read the book, but Rifkin addresses the issue of jobs in his interview with Diane Rehm on NPR. His view is that the micro-generation of clean energy (pillar two) will be a vast and almost instant source of job creation. Outfitting buildings and creating the products used to create clean energy on every house and office building will be a boon for the construction and manufacturing industry. Whether the US will succeed in manufacturing the goods used is a matter of competitiveness, of course.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 8, 2011 9:22:19 AM PDT
Jeaninne Scott-Lamb says:
By combining reading "The Third Industrial Revolution" with Michael Maldelbaum and Thomas Freidman's " That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind and How We Can Come Back". The later book is a very balanced look at America's situation,focuses lots on education but also on getting off fosil fuels, going green (which they agree WILL put millions back to work). In fact Rifkin is working with the EEU to put into place his plan outlined in his book. HE'S NOT COMING OUT OF LEFT FIELD. Freidman and Mandelbaum pint out that China and other countries are coming on board with changing from unclean energy to clean. All of their points are that America has to educate, restructure energy and coopperate politically to bring us back to where we used to be.I highly recommend both books as eye openers.
Posted on Feb 27, 2012 7:50:41 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 28, 2012 7:03:35 AM PST]
Posted on Jan 3, 2013 7:22:52 AM PST
Amazon Customer says:
"Lights in the Tunnel" was definitely thought provoking and I'd have to say pretty accurate in terms of what I'm seeing all over.... just yesterday I saw a photo finishing operation at the grocery store being run by one lady because of the technology was really impressive. I'm hopeful for the future but at the same time, I highly doubt the reality of the green jobs revolution.
Posted on May 13, 2013 11:42:03 AM PDT
We have to become, as a society, as Rifkin mentions in an Allan Gregg interview, an "empathic civilization." The faster we change how we view ourselves and each other...the easier it will be to make the changes necessary on a larger social/infrastructural scale...this makes perfect sense to me...viewing human life and human quality of life on earth, above and beyond power and greed...the old patriarchal systems of civilization. Some call this currently the "rat race" or "dog eat dog." It's completely unnatural. Just my two cents. :)
Posted on May 13, 2013 7:49:13 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 13, 2013 7:49:47 PM PDT
Theodore M. Horesh says:
Rifkin clearly emphasized the question of jobs. Renewable energy employs far more people and the lateral economy creates new collaborative opportunities.
But I don't really think this is the question on the minds of thoughtful people. What worries me is whether we will destroy human civilization through catastrophic global warming. Hats off to Rifkin for dealing with both the petty present and the far more frightening future.
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