Jeremy Rifkin

“The revolution here is from hierarchical to lateral power. That’s the power shift. This shift is going to change the way we live, the way we educate our children, and the way we govern the world.”


Jeremy Rifkin is an American economist, author, public speaker, social critic, political adviser and activist. Described as a social and ethical prophet, he has been influential in shaping public policies in the United States and abroad, and is the main architect of the European Union’s Third Industrial Revolution long-term economic sustainability plan. He works with cities and governments planning transitions into post-carbon infrastructures and advises heads of states around the world on issues related to the economy, climate change and security. According to the The European Energy Review, “perhaps no other thinker has had more influence on the EU’s ambitious climate and energy policy than the famous American ‘visionary’ Jeremy Rifkin.”

The son of a plastic-bag manufacturer, Rifkin had an epiphany in 1966 as he walked past a group of students protesting the Vietnam War and witnessed his frat friends beating them up. He organized a freedom-of-speech rally the next day, thus becoming a lifelong member of the peace movement. In 1973 he organized a mass-protest against oil companies which was joined by thousands; in 1988 he brought climate scientists and environmental activists from 35 nations together for the first Global Greenhouse Network meeting in Washington; he launched the Beyond Beef Campaign in 1992 to reduce methane emissions generated by beef consumption; and he participated in founding the Green Hydrogen Coalition, committed to building a renewable hydrogen based economy.

Mr. Rifkin is the president of the Foundation on Economic Trends, which he co-founded with Ted Howard in 1977. Examining the impacts of new economic trends on the environment, the economy, culture and society, FOET engages in litigation, public education, coalition building and grassroots organizing activities. Rifkin is also the founder and Chairperson of the Third Industrial Revolution Global CEO Business Roundtable, composed of 100 corporations committed to addressing global economic and environmental challenges.

Over the last four decades Jeremy Rifkin has authored 19 books on scientific and technological evolution, global economic trends, and sustainable development, many of which have been bestsellers, translated into multiple languages, and used in universities, corporations and government agencies around the world. Titles include The Third Industrial Revolution;  The Empathic Civilization;  The Hydrogen Economy;  The European Dream;  The End of Work; and The Age of Access.  His monthly column on global issues appears in some of the world’s leading publications, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Utne Reader, The Guardian, Financial Times, Le Monde, Le Nouvel Observateur, L’Espresso, La Repubblica, El Mundo, Kathimerini, and Clarín. He has appeared on 20/20, Larry King Live, Face The Nation, Today, and Good Morning America.

Mr. Rifkin has testified before congressional committees and has consistently contributed to the creation of responsible policies on a variety of environmental, scientific and technology related issues. In the past 30 years he has lectured at hundreds of the world’s leading corporations and in over 200 universities in some 30 countries. Holding a degree in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and another in international affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, he has been a senior lecturer at the Wharton School’s Executive Education Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

According to Rifkin, the industrial era powered by oil and fossil fuel is spiraling to its end and humanity is on the cusp of its greatest experiment to date. Envisioning a powerful ‘Third Industrial Revolution’ brought on by the merging of Internet technology, renewable energy and collective empathy, he predicts we may soon not only be producing green energy in our homes, workplaces and factories, but be able to store and share it with each other too. Says Rifkin, “a younger generation is fast extending its empathic embrace beyond religious affiliations and national identification to include the whole of humanity and the vast project of life that envelops the Earth.”


Visit the Foundation on Economic Trends website:

Visit the Third Industrial Revolution website:


Jeremy Rifkin on Occupy (14 min)

The Empathic Civilisation (RSA Animate, 10 min)

Leading the way to the third industrial revolution (TEDxBrainport 2012, 11 min)

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