Jeremy Rifkin is an internationally famous economist and thinker, who has been advising the European Union and other countries, especially China, about the need to implement the Third Industrial Revolution.
Rifkin has identified the chief driving components of the past two Industrial Revolutions as being a dramatic change in three things: energy, communications, and transport.
In Great Britain in the early 19th century, this meant the discovery of coal, the industrial printing press and telegraph system, and railroads; in the USA in the 20th century, it was oil, radio and then TV, and Henry Ford’s cars and trucks.
Right now we are seeing similar changes with renewable energies (wind, sun, thermal), the internet, especially the internet of things (IOT), and driverless cars and car-sharing. These components are urging in a new industrial revolution, whether Governments and people like it or not.
It will happen sooner, of course, if Governments get behind it, as in Europe and China, and it will lag if Governments try to prop up the old industries, as in the States. People anyway, are already making their own choices, and it is this that is pushing forward the change.
The talk is divided into several chapters, first we get an overview of what the problem is, with climate change, the 6th mass extinction, and other global catastrophes; then Rifkin looks at how we got to this position; and finally he unfolds the way forward, which includes decentralisation, a greater empathy with other people and other creatures, and a new industrial paradigm.
This is one of the most hopeful talks I have seen in a long time, not because of its ideals, but because the necessary changes are happening all round us, and are being driven by people themselves making better choices for the lives and their environment.