Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Third Industrial Revolution revisited

I've posted on this before but it came up again in the IPS anti-capitalism thread. It helps to reinforce the kind of world we want to see manifest and how to do it. Here is the link to the IPS Rifkin thread. Following are excerpts from this article on The Third Industrial Revolution. Integralists might like Rifkin's blatantly developmental model. And his description of the next wave, already here. I'd add that this isn't just theory, as he's working with EU countries to implement this program and making progress. The article discusses that some. Here are some more general excerpts:

"The great economic revolutions in history occur when new communication technologies converge with new energy systems. New energy revolutions make possible more expansive and integrated trade. Accompanying communication revolutions manage the new complex commercial activities made possible by the new energy flows. In the 19th century, cheap steam powered print technology and the introduction of public schools gave rise to a print-literate work force with the communication skills to manage the increased flow of commercial activity made possible by coal and steam power technology, ushering in the First Industrial Revolution. In the 20th century, centralized electricity communication—the telephone, and later radio and television—became the communication medium to manage a more complex and dispersed oil, auto, and suburban era, and the mass consumer culture of the Second Industrial Revolution.

"Today, Internet technology and renewable energies are beginning to merge to create a new infrastructure for a Third Industrial Revolution (TIR) that will change the way power is distributed in the 21st century. In the coming era, hundreds of millions of people will produce their own renewable energy in their homes, offices, and factories and share green electricity with each other in an 'Energy Internet just like we now generate and share information online.

"The Third Industrial Revolution is the last of the great Industrial Revolutions and will lay the foundational infrastructure for an emerging collaborative age. Its completion will signal the end of a two-hundred-year commercial saga characterized by industrious thinking, entrepreneurial markets, and mass labor workforces and the beginning of a new era marked by collaborative behavior, social networks and 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 economic and political power will give way to lateral power organized nodally across society.

"The emerging Third Industrial Revolution, by contrast, is organized around distributed renewable energies that are found everywhere and are, for the most part, free—sun, wind, hydro, geothermal heat, biomass, and ocean waves and tides. These dispersed energies will be collected at millions of local sites and then bundled and shared with others over a continental green electricity internet to achieve optimum energy levels and maintain a high-performing, sustainable economy. The distributed nature of renewable energies necessitates collaborative rather than hierarchical command and control mechanisms. This new lateral energy regime establishes the organizational model for the countless economic activities that multiply from it. A more distributed and collaborative industrial revolution, in turn, invariably leads to a more distributed sharing of the wealth generated."

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