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Jeremy Rifkin: Deepening the Conversation on The Third Industrial Revolution  

2012-04-20 10:10:30|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Jeremy Rifkin

Author, 'The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World'


Deepening the Conversation on The Third Industrial Revolution

The Economist has devoted its April 21st issue to The Third Industrial Revolution. The magazine's editors and reporters present a stirring account of the merging interface between IT and manufacturing that is allowing anyone to become his or her own mini-manufacturer. It is now possible to design software that will instruct the creation of a physical product, layer by layer, that pops out of the printer just like we now do with text. 3-D printing is already being used in hundreds of companies to produce commercial products.

What the editors at The Economist missed is that 3-D printing in only a small, but important, part of the larger Third Industrial Revolution that will not only transform manufacturing, but also the very way we conduct the totality of commercial life in the first half of the 21st Century.

As I mentioned in my Huffington Post blog on March 28th, and in the cover article of the March/April issue of The World Financial Review, what makes 3-D printing both viable and revolutionary is the coming together of internet technology and renewable energy in a new Third Industrial Revolution infrastructure.

Recall that in the 19th Century, the invention of steam powered printing presses dramatically reduced the cost of printing, providing a quick and inexpensive communication medium for managing a complex, coal powered, steam driven First Industrial Revolution. And in the 20th Century, the telephone provided an instantaneous and agile communication medium to manage centralized mass production manufacturing processes and coordinate supply chains and logistics operations across national markets.

In the coming era, millions of homes, offices, and workshops will be equipped with the appropriate IT and renewable energy harvesting technologies to generate their own green energy on site, use it to power their own 3-D printing operations, and share any surplus electricity across a continental green electricity Internet.

Third Industrial Revolution entrepreneurs will be able to market their products on internet sites like Etsy, at virtually no cost, and use electric and fuel cell transport powered by green energy generated on site to deliver finished goods to regional markets.

The democratization of information, energy, manufacturing, marketing, and logistics is ushering in a new economic paradigm. The democratization of commerce takes us beyond the centralized, top-down, business practices of the First and Second Industrial Revolutions and into the distributed and collaborative business practices of the Third Industrial Revolution. The great commercial shift from hierarchical to lateral power is a game changer. 3-D printing is an important component of the larger Third Industrial Revolution just now unfolding around the world.

With both presidential campaigns now turning their attention to the question of how to re-industrialize the economy and jump start growth, the time has arrived for a much needed national conversation on how to transition into a Third Industrial Revolution and a new economic era.

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39 minutes ago ( 9:17 PM)
Bringing back manufacturing jobs and paying workers more is starting point.
3 hours ago ( 6:57 PM)
Robots ! Build Robots. Power them by solar, natural gas or even small wind turbines.
Everyone build robots and lease them out to Corporations that way wages are earned, consumerism continues, lord know Corporation would never want to see that arm of economic go away and taxes will be paid !
3 hours ago ( 6:30 PM)
One point the article doesn't address is how this Third Industrial Revolution will also herald the end to the notion we've assumed for the entire span of human civilization that there is always a need for human labor. We already see this as manufacturing jobs grow increasingly sparse in developed countries - capitalist theory posits that when you see no jobs being made in a sector for an area, the ratio of production & employment costs to profit margins on output is no longer viable. And while it can be argued that regulations, cost of living, etc. play a part, I posit that the explosion in productivity per worker is the biggest factor by a significant margin.

The Third Industrial Revolution will begin to remove the final vestiges of the need for mass human capital. With network traffic and creation-on-demand in place to obviate the need for production and transportation, manufacturing and trading jobs from the bottom of the barrel to mid-level management disappear. Machinery has already greatly reduced the size of the agriculture industry, and eventually we'll hit the tipping point where illegal immigrat and impoverished nation laborers are costlier than specialized equipment. Increasingly, the world will need creative thought and engineering prowess to the near-exclusion of most manual jobs, and countries unprepared for this grand cultural flip are due for a major crisis in this century.

How will we blame the jobless for not finding work when the jobs just won't be there any more?
4 hours ago ( 6:08 PM)
All of this is great if it is president by a mentality of love and sharing. We dont need just another way of exploiting people.
I hope these new technologies are a tool towards a better life for all. The main thing is that we move out of the Era of Greed and Speculation.
4 hours ago ( 5:54 PM)
Totally disagree. Rifkin is an elitist fool who needs to stop his fairy tales. Global competition is here to stay, for a really long time. That is the thing that MUST be dealt with for any industrial revival. The USA no longer has the near monopoly on major product lines like it did after WWII. The HP has had many articles pining for the 90% tax days of the 50s, but with all major competitors either still sifting through ruble of the war, or dealing with internal issues (Stalin in Russia, Mao in China), the US would have prospered with 99% tax rate. That was then, this is now. Today, there is NO line of goods that someone else cannot make. If they can do so with cheaper labor, then they get the business. Put up protectionist barriers, and we lose anyway, because the US must export to thrive. Productivity gains over the last 30 years means we can't absorb enough in domestic consumption to keep enough people employed. Faced with all this, and what does the left want? Resources. Enforce EPA restrictions and insure we have to import resources (bunch of miners out of work? Tough. Damn polluters right?). Buildings. EPA and lets toss in OSHA. (Five variations of safety rules. One strange cricket can shut down building multi-million dollar plants.) Labor. Bring in the unions, that's the left's plan. (Make labor 2-4x as expensive as a foreign competitor? That's that "fatcat" manager's problem.)
5 hours ago ( 5:22 PM)
Why does Rifkin think that large firms won't continue to dominate commerce in the future? How can small firms compete on the same footing? I don't see how any of the technologies he describes negates the advantages of the factory system in commodity production or the superior ability of large firms in accumulation. Not to mention marketing. How can power become dispersed throughout millions of small firms and stay that way with none dominating markets and consolidating the majority? Cheap energy doesn't negate basic features of capitalism. Oil was vastly more efficient than steam, the combustion engine gave rise to spectacularly large growth and equally spectacular large business oligarchies.

This piece sounds like the author predicts a return to cottage/artisinal production as the dominate mode of production. Yet, he provides so little proof or sound theory as to why this would happen. if production costs drop dramatically for most commodities, so would profits, under competition, because prices, in the aggregate i.e.. most 'things', would drop as well . This necessarily implies massive consolidation in industry in order for the system to function and profit, growth, to continue! If the innovation Rifkin described comes to pass, the outcome will be the exact opposite from what he predicted! Even larger firms, created through the acquisition of unprofitable firms, will tend to dominate!
4 hours ago ( 6:00 PM)
You're right to be wary.
The internet created the potential for cottage/artisinal production, but the minute evryone jumped on the advertising revenue model for profit, the power went back to the same big players with the most advertising dollars...and wage declines persist.
3 hours ago ( 6:53 PM)
As now either small suppliers become big suppliers or they are bought up by big suppliers,. with economy of scale... network of sale sites/product support. the entry in is less, but there are economies of scale..that win...

He has a pipe dream... the same pipe dream of sorts that said in late1980s,we dont need to make things,we can just process the worlds information, now done in India (that even Reagan bought into).... an idea that has cost Amercia deeply and was wrong!

5 hours ago ( 4:31 PM)
"The democratization of information, energy, manufacturing, marketing, and logistics is ushering in a new economic paradigm."

You mean like this?
5 hours ago ( 4:26 PM)
They are having that conversation.
That's why the people of the world will be returning the slimiest of conditions of the 19th Century.
Robber Barons returning and all.

How could you not mention the slavery of the 19th Century?
From chattel slavery to debtor slavery.

Yeah, we need to have conversation alright.
6 hours ago ( 4:13 PM)
The top-down model has to fall or we will. Empires need war to continue. It doesn't matter whether they are political empires or business empires.

Humanity is too big to do anything but fail unless we localize much more than we are currently doing.
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引文来源  Jeremy Rifkin: Deepening the Conversation on The Third Industrial Revolution
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