January 26, 1945 |
|Main interests||Economy, political science, scientific and technological change|
|Notable ideas||The Empathic Civilization, The Third Industrial Revolution, End of the working society|
Jeremy Rifkin (born January 26, 1945) is an economic and social theorist, writer, public speaker, political advisor and activist. He is the founder and president of the Foundation On Economic Trends. Rifkin's work explores the potential impact of scientific and technological changes on the economy, the workforce, society, and the environment.
Youth and education 
Rifkin was born in Denver, Colorado to Vivette Ravel Rifkin and Milton Rifkin, a plastic-bag manufacturer. He grew up on the southwest side of Chicago. He was president of his graduating class at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (BS, Economics, 1967) and recipient of the school's General Alumni Association's Award of Merit. He had an epiphany when one day in 1966 he walked past a group of students protesting the Vietnam War and picketing the administration building and was amazed to see, as he recalls, that "my frat friends were beating the living daylights out of them. I got very upset." He organized a freedom-of-speech rally the next day. From then on, Rifkin quickly became an active member of the peace movement. He attended the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University (MA, International Affairs, 1968) where he continued anti-war activities. Later he joined Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA).
In 1973, Rifkin organized a mass-protest against oil companies at the commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party at Boston's Harbor. Thousands joined the protest, as activists dumped empty oil barrels into Boston's Harbor. The protest came in the wake of the increase in gasoline prices in the fall of 1973, following the OPEC oil embargo. This was later called "Boston Oil Party" by the press.
In 1977, with Ted Howard, he founded the Foundation on Economic Trends (FOET), which is active in both national and international public policy issues related to the environment, the economy, and climate change. FOET examines new trends and their impacts on the environment, the economy, culture and society, and engages in litigation, public education, coalition building and grassroots organizing activities to advance their goals. Rifkin became one of the first major critics of the nascent biotechnology industry with the 1977 publication of his book, Who Should Play God?
Rifkin's 1980 work "Entropy" discusses how entropy applies to nuclear and solar energy, urban decay, military activity, education, agriculture, health, economics, and politics. It was called "A comprehensive worldview" and "an appropriate successor to ... Silent Spring, The Closing Circle, The Limits to Growth, and Small Is Beautiful" by the Minneapolis Tribune
In 1988, Rifkin brought together climate scientists and environmental activists from 35 nations in Washington, D.C. for the first meeting of the Global Greenhouse Network. In the same year, Rifkin did a series of Hollywood lectures on global warming and related environmental issues for a diverse assortment of film, television and music industry leaders[clarification needed], with the goal of organizing the Hollywood community for a campaign. Shortly thereafter, two Hollywood environmental organizations, Earth Communications Office (ECO), and Environmental Media Association, were formed.
In 1992, Rifkin launched the Beyond Beef Campaign, a coalition of six environmental groups including Green Peace, Rainforest Action Network, and Public Citizen, with the goal of encouraging a 50% reduction in the consumption of beef, arguing that methane emissions from Cattle has a warming effect 23 to 50 times greater than carbon dioxide.
Beginning in 1994, Rifkin was a senior lecturer at The Wharton School's executive education program at the University of Pennsylvania, where he instructs CEOs and senior corporate management from around the world on new trends in science and technology.
His 1995 book, The End of Work, is credited by some with helping shape the current global debate on automation, technology displacement, corporate downsizing and the future of jobs. Reporting on the growing controversy over automation and technology displacement in 2011, The Economist pointed out that Jeremy Rifkin drew attention to the trend back in 1995 with the publication of his book The End of Work. The Economist asked "what happens... when machines are smart enough to become workers? In other words, when capital becomes labor." The Economist noted that "this is what Jeremy Rifkin, a social critic, was driving at in his book, "The End of Work," published in 1995... Mr. Rifkin argued prophetically that society was entering a new phase, one in which fewer and fewer workers would be needed to produce all the goods and services consumed. 'In the years head,' he wrote, 'more sophisticated software technologies are going to bring civilisation ever closer to a near-workerless world. The process has already begun."
His 1998 book, The Biotech Century, addresses issues accompanying the new era of genetic commerce. In its review of the book, the journal Nature observed that "Rifkin does his best work in drawing attention to the growing inventory of real and potential dangers and the ethical conundrums raised by genetic technologies...At a time when scientific institutions are struggling with the public understanding of science, there is much they can learn from Rifkin's success as a public communicator of scientific and technological trends."
After the publication of The Hydrogen Economy (2002), Rifkin worked both in the U.S. and Europe to advance the political cause of renewably generated hydrogen. In the U.S., Rifkin was instrumental in founding the Green Hydrogen Coalition, consisting of thirteen environmental and political organizations (including Greenpeace and MoveOn.Org) that are committed to building a renewable hydrogen based economy. His 2004 book, The European Dream, was an international bestseller and winner of the 2005 Corine International Book Prize in Germany for the best economics book of the year. 
Rifkin is the principal architect of the Third Industrial Revolution long-term economic sustainability plan to address the triple challenge of the global economic crisis, energy security, and climate change. The Third Industrial Revolution was formally endorsed by the European Parliament in 2007 and is now being implemented by various agencies within the European Commission.Rifkin has lectured before many Fortune 500 companies, and hundreds of governments, civil society organizations, and universities over the past thirty five years.
Rifkin is the founder and chairperson of the Third Industrial Revolution Global CEO Business Roundtable, comprising more than 100 of the world's leading renewable energy companies, construction companies, architectural firms, real estate companies, IT companies, power and utility companies, and transport and logistics companies. Rifkin's global economic development team is working with cities, regions, and national governments to develop master plans to transition their economies into post- carbon Third Industrial Revolution infrastructures. In 2009, Rifkin and his team developed Third Industrial Revolution master plans for the cities of San Antonio, Texas, and Rome, Italy, to transition their economies into the first post carbon urban areas in the world.
2011 and 2012 
In 2011, Rifkin published The Third Industrial Revolution; How Lateral Power is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World. The book was a New York Times best-seller, and has been translated into 15 languages. By 2013, 280,000 copies were in print in China alone.
In 2011, Rifkin's Third Industrial Revolution vision and economic development plan was embraced by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Quoting Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella, Director-General of (UNIDO)and chairman of UN Energy,"[The Third Industrial Revolution is] A provocative strategy for transforming the global energy system. This book may help frame the social and economic solutions for the 1.5 billion poorest people who lack access to clean, reliable, and efficient energy services.” Speaking along side Mr. Rifkin at a joint press briefing at the UNIDO biennual conference in 2011, Director-General Yumkella said "We believe we are at the beginning of a Third Industrial Revolution and I want all member countries of UNIDO to hear the message and ask the key question, how does this apply to our economies, how can we be part of this revolution, and of course how do we share knowledge, share capital, and investments around the world to make this revolution really happen."
Jeremy Rifkin delivered a keynote address at the Global Green Summit 2012 on May 10, 2012. The conference was hosted by the Government of the Republic of Korea and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), in association with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea also have a speech at the conference and embraced the Third Industrial Revolution to advance a green economy.
On May 29, 2012, Rifkin delivered the keynote address at the European Commission Conference: Mission Growth; Europe at the Lead of the New Industrial Revolution. At the conference, hosted by José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, and Antonio Tajani, the Vice President of the European Commission and the Minister of Industry and Entrepreneurship, Mr. Rifkin presented the European Union's long term economic development plan to transition the European economy into the Third Industrial Revolution era.
In December 2012, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that the newly elected premier of China, Li Keqiang is a fan of Jeremy Rifkin and had "told his state scholars to pay close attention" to Rifkin's book, The Third Industrial Revolution.
In 2013, the French northern region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais contracted Rifkin and his team to develop a master plan to help transition the region in a prosperous and sustainable economic paradigm. Kazakhstan also contracted Rifkin to develop a green economy strategy and help with the planning of Expo 2017 currently titled, "Energy Expo 2017."
European Union consultancies 
Rifkin has advised both the European Commission and the European Parliament. Rifkin has also advised Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of Spain during its presidency of the European Union. Rifkin also served as an adviser to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Prime Minister Jose Socrates of Portugal, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, and Prime Minister Janez Janša of Slovenia, during their respective European Council Presidencies, on issues related to the economy, climate change, and energy security. Rifkin is currently working with European officials to help shape a Third Industrial Revolution long-term economic development plan for the European Union.
According to the The "European Energy Review" "Perhaps no other author or thinker has had more influence on the EU's ambitious climate and energy policy than the famous American 'visionary' Jeremy Rifkin. In the United States, he has testified before numerous congressional committees and has had success in litigation to ensure responsible government policies on a variety of environmental, scientific and technology related issues. The Union of Concerned Scientists has cited some of Rifkin's publications as useful references for consumers and The New York Times once stated that "many in the scholarly, religious, and political fields praise Jeremy Rifkin for a willingness to think big, raise controversial questions, and serve as a social and ethical prophet".
Rifkin's work has also been controversial. Opponents have attacked the lack of scientific rigor in his claims as well as some of the tactics he has used to promote his views. The Harvard scientist Stephen Jay Gould characterized Rifkin's 1983 book Algeny as "a cleverly constructed tract of anti-intellectual propaganda masquerading as scholarship".
- 1973, How to Commit Revolution American Style: Bicentennial Declaration, with John Rossen, Lyle Stuart Inc., ISBN 0-8184-0041-2
- 1975, Common Sense II: The Case Against Corporate Tyranny, Bantam Books, OCLC 123151709
- 1977, Own Your Own Job: Economic Democracy for Working Americans, ISBN 978-0-553-10487-5
- 1977, Who Should Play God? The Artificial Creation of Life and What it Means for the Future of the Human Race, with Ted Howard, Dell Publishing Co., ISBN 0-440-19504-7
- 1978, The North Will Rise Again: Pensions, Politics and Power in the 1980s, with Randy Barber, Beacon Press, ISBN 0-8070-4787-2
- 1979, The Emerging Order: God in the Age of Scarcity, with Ted Howard, Putnam, ISBN 978-0-399-12319-1
- 1980, Entropy: A New World View, with Ted Howard (afterword by Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen), Viking Press, ISBN 0-670-29717-8
- 1983, Algeny: A New Word—A New World, in collaboration with Nicanor Perlas, Viking Press, ISBN 0-670-10885-5
- 1985, Declaration of a Heretic, Routledge and Kegan Paul, ISBN 978-0710207104
- 1985, The Love Bond: A Tale of Juju and Ernie, Routledge & Kegan Paul Books, Ltd, ISBN 0-7102-0709-3
- 1987, Time Wars: The Primary Conflict In Human History, Henry Holt & Co, ISBN 0-8050-0377-0
- 1990, The Green Lifestyle Handbook: 1001 Ways to Heal the Earth (edited by Rifkin), Henry Holt & Co, ISBN 0-8050-1369-5
- 1991, Biosphere Politics: A New Consciousness for a New Century, Crown, ISBN 0-517-57746-1
- 1992, Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture, E. P. Dutton, ISBN 0-525-93420-0
- 1992, Voting Green: Your Complete Environmental Guide to Making Political Choices In The 90s, with Carol Grunewald Rifkin, Main Street Books, ISBN 0-385-41917-1
- 1995, The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era, Putnam Publishing Group, ISBN 0-87477-779-8
- 1998, The Biotech Century: Harnessing the Gene and Remaking the World, J P Tarcher, ISBN 0-87477-909-X
- 2000, The Age Of Access: The New Culture of Hypercapitalism, Where All of Life is a Paid-For Experience, Putnam Publishing Group, ISBN 1-58542-018-2
- 2002, The Hydrogen Economy: The Creation of the Worldwide Energy Web and the Redistribution of Power on Earth, Jeremy P. Tarcher, ISBN 1-58542-193-6
- 2004, The European Dream: How Europe's Vision of the Future is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream, Jeremy P. Tarcher, ISBN 1-58542-345-9
- 2010, The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness In a World In Crisis, Jeremy P. Tarcher, ISBN 1-58542-765-9
- 2011, The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World, Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 978-0-230-11521-7
See also 
- Frankenstein argument
- Genetic pollution
- Jobless growth
- National Veterans Inquiry
- The Third Industrial Revolution
- Winter Soldier Investigation
- The Empathic Civilization
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- "La Troisieme Revolution Industrielle Commence...". CCI. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
- Moorhead, Shawn (January 2, 2013). "Third Industrial Revolution News". 3iR Newsletter.
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- Guardian.co.uk – 'Sorry, Mr President, homilies won't stop the hurricanes: We Americans need to get out of our SUVs and learn the harsh lesson of Katrina and Rita: we are all to blame', Jeremy Rifkin, The Guardian, (September 23, 2005)
- European Parliament Leaders announce Green Hydrogen initiative