We may be on the brink of a third industrial revolution, but it’s going to happen in Europe rather than America. That’s at least the view of Jeremy Rifkin, whose new book The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power is Transforming Energy, the Economy and the World, argues that the internet will be a thousand times more powerful when merged with the renewable energy revolution.
But as Rifkin told me when we talked on Skype last week, he chose to focus his analysis of this third industrial revolution in Europe rather than America. “We’ve lost our imagination,” Rifkin told me about an America that, he thinks, has lost what he calls “the narrative” on both the analog crisis and the digital opportunity in energy. Most controversially, Rifkin believes that President Obama – for all his good intentions – has failed to connect the dots on energy, thereby making America a footnote in the Euro-centric energy and internet revolution that will transform the 21st century world.