The Third Industrial Revolution:
How lateral power is transforming energy, the economy, and the world.

Jeremy Rifkin.

The Third Industrial Revolution is the last of the great Industrial Revolutions and will lay the
foundational infrastructure for an emerging collaborative age. the forty-year build-out of the TIR infrastructure will create hundreds of thousands of new businesses and hundreds of millions of new jobs. Its completion will signal the end of a two-hundred-year commercial saga characterized by industrious thinking, entrepreneurial markets, and mass labor workforce and the beginning of a new era marked by collaborative behavior, social networks, and boutique professional and technical workforces. In the coming half-century, the conventional, centralized business operations of the First and Second Industrial Revolutions will increasingly be subsumed by the distributed business practices of the Third Industrial Revolution; and the traditional hierarchical organization of economics and political power will give way to lateral power organized nodally across society. p. 5

[T]he province of Utrecht[, the Netherlands]…has begun a conversation with its citizenry, the local business community, university researchers, and even high schools – essentially inviting the entire region into the game. The master plan has gone lateral. It is now a platform for a province-wide discussion on how to achieve a transition into a Third Industrial Revolution economy.
People are critiquing parts of the master plan platform, offering their own ideas, and even voting on their favorite projects. In the process, the new players are connecting up to share their expertise, pooling their mutual interests, and creating networks within and across the five-pillar [1. shifting to renewable energy; 2. transforming the building stock of every continent into micro-power plants to collect renewable energies on site; 3. deploying hydrogen and other storage technologies in every building and throughout the infrastructure to store intermittent energies; 4. using Internet technology to transform the power grid of every continent into an energy-sharing intergrid that acts just like the Internet (when millions of buildings are generating a small amount of energy locally, on site, they can sell surplus back to the gird and share electricity with their continental neighbors); and 5. transitioning the transport fleet to electric plug-in and fuel cell vehicles that can buy and sell electricity on a smart, continental interactive power grid] skeleton vision. The TIR has become a community exercise, the Dutch version of the old American barn raising, where the whole community comes together to build the structure. This is democratization of energy, and what distributed capitalism is really all about.
And it’s working. The population of the province is becoming intimately engaged in its own economic future. “Not in my backyard” is being replaced by a collaborative effort to steward the neighborhood biosphere.
If there is a single lesson to take away from the experience we’ve garnered in engaging master plans, it is that the process itself is a community exercise. That is, it requires participation of all three sectors – government, the business community, and neighborhood civil society organization. p. 103

The principles of scientific management quickly crossed over from the factory floor and commercial offices into the home and community, making efficiency the cardinal temporal value of the new industrial age. Henceforth, maximizing output with the minimum input of time, labor, and capital became the sine qua non for directing virtually every aspect of life in contemporary society. p. 112

For those who doubt the critical role that government has played in America’s commercial success, I have included a separate essay on our website that chronicles this unacknowledged relationship, with the hope that it will put to rest, once and for all, the libertarian myth about how the United States became the greatest economy on Earth. p. 135

A new scientific worldview is emerging whose premises and assumptions are more compatible with the network ways of thinking that underlie a Third Industrial Revolution economic model. The old science views nature as objects; the science views nature as relationships. the old science is characterized by detachment, expropriation, dissection, and reduction. The new science is characterized by engagement, replenishment, integration, and holism. The old science is committed to making nature productive; the new science to making nature sustainable. The old science seeks power over nature; the new science seeks partnership with nature. The old science puts a premium on autonomy from nature; the new science, on participation with nature. p. 224

The new science takes us from a colonial vision of nature as an enemy to pillage and enslave, to a new vision of nature as a community to nurture. The right to exploit, harness, and own nature in the form of property is tempered by the obligation to steward nature and treat it with dignity and respect. The utility value of nature is slowly giving way to the intrinsic value of nature. p. 225

The shift from productivity to generativity and from efficiency to sustainability places our species back in step with the ebbs and flows, rhythms, and periodicities of the larger biosphere community of which we are an intricate and indivisible part. This is what the Third Industrial Revolution is really all about and why existing economic theory, as taught in the business schools of the world, is inadequate as a frame of reference for navigating the new economic era and creating biosphere consciousness. p. 225

The teacher’s role is to act as facilitator of the conversation. While she is expected to share the knowledge of the academic discipline of which she is a part, including an appraisal of the differences of opinion that exist with the discipline as well as the agreements or differences that exist between the discipline and other knowledge communities, these are meant to contributions to the conversation. [Kenneth] Bruffee [professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York] cautions that “professors must resist reverting to the hierarchical authority of traditional classrooms, in which students believe that when teachers begin talking they are going to tell them what the answer really is.” p. 247

[A] study by Terry A. Hartig, a psychology professor at the Institute for Housing and Urban Research at Uppsala University in Sweden, tested a random group of individuals, asking them to carry out a forty-minute sequence of tasks designed to exhaust their “directed attention capacity.” He then instructed participants to spend forty minutes either “walking in a local nature preserve, walking in an urban area, or sitting quietly while reading magazines and listening to music.” He found that “after this period, those who had walked in the nature preserve performed better than the other participants on a standard proofreading task. They also reported more positive emotions and less anger.” Other studies of children suffering from ADHD show that the greater the exposure to outdoor activity in green spaces or even exposure to greenery through windows, the better able they were to focus their attention. p. 253

Fortunately, in many European cities, the forestlands of former royal estates were kept off limits from developers and were either preserved for wildlife or transformed into public parks where local populations can commingle with wildlife. Timothy Beatley, author of Green Urbanism: Learning from European Cities, observes that many European communities eschew “the historic opposition of things urban and natural” and prefer to live in urban areas that “are fundamentally embedded in natural environments.” p. 256

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