VIDEO: Jeremy Rifkin Has Seen the Future

Take a closer look at the sharing economy, the nature of productivity and the intersection of communication, energy and transportation in coming decades.

This is a defining moment for the future of the human race. As in other paradigm shifts in history, we must better understand how economic opportunities arise.

If we know how such openings materialize, we’ll have a roadmap for harnessing our connectivity in this increasingly global society.

That’s how bestselling author and thought leader Jeremy Rifkin framed this moment of opportunity.

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Capitalism has given birth to the sharing economy.

In a recent presentation at UPS Global Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, Rifkin said we’re on the verge of a Third Industrial Revolution – a period that will fundamentally change the way we manage power and move economic activity across our value chains.

This convergence of communication technologies and new sources of energy and modes of transportation will redefine daily life as we know it.

If you missed Rifkin’s talk – or even if you just want to revisit his ideas – check out the videos below:


Against the backdrop of this seismic shift, we need to have a broader conversation about productivity, Rifkin argues.

There’s been plenty of discussion as to why productivity is seemingly declining in the face of new products coming out of Silicon Valley. But Rifkin has a secret to share on productivity.

When we trace every single year of the Industrial Revolution, he explains, we think certain factors account for productivity —more capital, better machines and better-performing workers.

The problem? Those factors account only for 14 percent of overall productivity, Rifkin estimates.

So where is the rest of all that productivity? Economists don’t know.

Rifkin says analysts have incorrectly applied Isaac Newton’s laws of motion to productivity.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Unfortunately, Rifkin reminds us, Newton’s laws have nothing to do with economics.


So what does this portend for those conducting business in the global economy?

Rifkin says that capitalism has given birth to the sharing economy.

People are sharing their cars and homes – at near zero marginal cost.

On a macro level, Rifkin says this phenomenon is disrupting communication, transforming the global economy and how we interact with each other.


This means we’re in a circular economy, redistributing what we produce and effectively creating a more sustainable planet.

Or as Rifkin puts it: We’re increasing productivity, reducing our ecological footprint and our marginal cost.

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We’re in a circular economy, creating a more sustainable planet.

We’re moving past a zero-sum world in which one nation wins only at the expense of another.

Global citizens recognize that their personal well-being affects those around them.

This is a great shift in consciousness that prepares the next generation to live in a digitally connected smart world.

However, Rifkin cautions that such ideas could be snuffed out by outdated regulations and urges global leaders to tackle today’s problems with a fresh mindset rather than old worldviews.


And if you want to hear even more from Rifkin, check out our podcasts with the prolific author.

In part one of our chat, he provides the contours of the Third Industrial Revolution. In the second podcast, he explains how sustainability is disrupting the global movement of goods. goldbrown2

Register here to watch the full video.


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Brian Hughes is Managing Editor of Longitudes and co-host of Longitudes Radio.

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Reprinted with permission of Longitudes, the UPS blog devoted to the trends shaping the global economy.