_visd_00BBJPG0121AJeremy Rifkin publishes a new book, The Third Industrial Revolution: How lateral power is transforming energy, the economy, and the world. Things being as they are, an industrial revolution seems to arrive sooner or later or is already arriving without us realizing it. As in other books, the author manages to draw trends that will soon settle. In this specific case, the book is a very good exercise in synthesizing and structuring -in the form, no less, of an industrial revolution- of many of the things that are happening.

The basic thesis of the book is that the development of all the possibilities of the internet and the advancement of renewable energies are the two pillars on which to establish the new industrial phase in the that we will enter by building an internet of energy. The old centralized and hierarchical model of informationhas definitively broken with the irruption of new forms of access and creation of knowledge, a distributed, shared and network-structured form. It is something easy to see in our daily life, although it still clashes with old-model positions that seek to maintain their privileges and logic. More imperceptible is the transformation and the change of logic that renewable energies entail and how they are going to take advantage of the use of the Internet to build a new energy structure. But it is a change that is also taking place and, according to the author, this union will be the key to the definitive extension of renewable energies through, also, a distributed energy model taking advantage of the smart grids and the ability to decentralize production and create local power generation points.

The Third Industrial Revolution will be based on five main pillars:

  • Renewable energies, mainly solar and wind in their different versions and technological solutions.
  • The buildings such as mini power stations capable of being conceived as producers of energy for your metabolism and also generating surpluses for other uses.
  • Hydrogen as a storage technology to resolve the instability of renewable energy flows.
  • Internet as a technology to facilitate a shared and distributed energy model.
  • The electric vehicle as a new means of transportation alternative to vehicles powered by fossil fuels.

The end from, according to the author, “a civilization built on fossil fuels” and hierarchical energy and information infrastructures (he explains some of these things in this interview). The two previous great industrial revolutions were also born from fundamental technological advances in new communication technologies and new energy sources, and both factors coincide again in history. We have lived since the Second Industrial Revolution in a model based on four major structuring factors: centralized electricity (large sources of power generation and a one-way grid infrastructure), the private automobile powered by oil as fuel, and suburban culture (thus < a href="https://naider.com/blog/manu-fernandez/salir-de-la-crisis-el-gran-reset" target="_blank" rel="noopener">spatial resolution already we spoke a few weeks ago). The author also takes part in this change in model, and deals with it, thus giving a comprehensive view of the changes that are taking place in today’s society, a new social and economic structure around >lateral relations (thus linking with all the development of his previous book, “The empathetic civilization“) also based on changes in industrial organization(the end of the great Taylorist capitalist company vertically centralized), the rise of the collaborative economy (with examples such as Wikipedia, couchsurfing, Zipcar as an example of a new mobility model, Mozilla or Kiva) or the crisis of the educational system< /strong> and the emergence of new ways of learning peer to peer.

The book also contains juicy accounts of the author’s experience as a high-level adviser to many governments over the past few years. In particular, Jeremy Rifkin insists on his closeness to the European institutions in the face of little response from the US administration (both Bush and Obama) for building a new industrial paradigm. In this sense, things being as they are today, the book is worth reading just for reading his meetings with leaders like Angela Merkel, Durao Barroso or Romano Prodi. The chapter dedicated to Zapatero (remember that Jeremy Rifkin was part of that council of economic advisers) uncovers some ins and outs of energy policy in Spain and points to Miguel Sebastián as the main stumbling block to accelerate the transformation of the Spanish energy model and, in general, the search for a new model of economic development in which, apparently, Zapatero had high hopes. Not to mention how just a few months ago Rifkin had direct contact with Papandreou and it seemed possible to create the conditions for a new industrial revolution with Greece as the carriage. Almost nothing if we read the newspapers these days. Cities such as Utrecht, Monaco, San Francisco or Rome pass through the pages of the book, as well as other personal accounts of the author’s privileged observer relations with governments and those responsible for energy policy in the United Kingdom, Italy, Senegal or Germany.

I have read most of the author’s books and this is, in my opinion, one of the most complete. With The age of access he was fully successful in anticipating something that came with time; by contrast, in The hydrogen economy< /em>he knew how to be a visionary but time has shown that things have slowed down, while The empathetic civilization is more of a well-intentioned drawing in the face of the much harsher reality we live in. This new book provides, finally, an overview of many trends that are here, and others that may arrive sooner rather than later.

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