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Excerpted from Jeremy Rifkin's The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World
Our industrial civilization is at a crossroads. Oil and the other fossil fuel energies that make up the industrial way of life are sunsetting, and the technologies made from and propelled by these energies are antiquated. The entire industrial infrastructure built off of fossil fuels is aging and in disrepair. The result is that unemployment is rising to dangerous levels all over the world. Governments, businesses and consumers are awash in debt and living standards are plummeting everywhere. A record one billion human beings-nearly one seventh of the human race-face hunger and starvation.
Worse, climate change from fossil fuel-based industrial activity looms on the horizon. Our scientists warn that we face a potentially cataclysmic change in the temperature and chemistry of the planet, which threatens to destabilize ecosystems around the world. Scientists worry that we may be on the brink of a mass extinction of plant and animal life by the end of the century, imperiling our own species' ability to survive. It is becoming increasingly clear that we need a new economic narrative that can take us into a more equitable and sustainable future.
By the 1980's the evidence was mounting that the fossil fuel-driven industrial revolution was peaking and that human-induced climate change was forcing a planetary crisis of untold proportions. For the past 30 years I have been searching for a new paradigm that could usher in a post-carbon era. In my explorations, I came to realize that the great economic revolutions in history occur when new communication technologies converge with new energy systems. New energy regimes make possible the creation of more interdependent economic activity and expanded commercial exchange as well as facilitate more dense and inclusive social relationships. The accompanying communication revolutions become the means to organize and manage the new temporal and spatial dynamics that arise from new energy systems.
In the 19th century, steam-powered print technology became the communication medium to manage the coal-fired rail infrastructure and the incipient national markets of the First Industrial Revolution. In the 20th century, electronic communications-the telephone and later, radio and television-became the communication medium to manage and market the oil-powered auto age and the mass consumer culture of the Second Industrial Revolution.
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What things have been successfully implemented in economics, politics, infrastructure and industry has the USA gotten wrong that other countries have gotten right? - Quora
Politics: proportional voting - if 15% of the population of your country vote for a certain party, do you seriously want them to have 0% representation unless they happen to all live in the same state?
Economics: having a very productive economy (e. g. Germany) while still offering tons of benefits for workers: universal